Old Economy Village preserves, presents, and proclaims the exemplary history of the Harmony Society and inspires people to strive for a better future. Old Economy Village is administered by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission and is actively supported by the Friends of Old Economy Village which is a non-profit community-based organization.
The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission works in partnership with others to preserve the Commonwealth’s natural and cultural heritage as a steward, teacher and advocate for the people of Pennsylvania and the nation.
Old Economy Village tells the story of the Harmony Society, one of the oldest and most successful religious communal groups of the nineteenth century. The Society sought to create a utopia inhabited by German Lutheran separatists who subscribed to the mystical religious teachings of their leader George Rapp (1757-1847). In Economy, their third and final home, they waited for the second coming of the Messiah until the Society dissolved in 1905. It was here that the Society gained worldwide recognition for its religious devotion and economic prosperity.
Six acres of the Society’s original holdings, along with seventeen buildings, were acquired by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in 1916. Today, these six acres, surrounded by Ambridge’s National Register Historic District, are administered by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission as a National Historic Landmark site. The historic site, which contains the restored historic structures and garden built between 1824 and 1830, originally was the religious and economic hub of the Harmony Society. The buildings, grounds, library, archives, and original artifacts are a memorial to the Society’s commitment to the religious discipline and economic industry that built their American Utopia.