After the Harmonists
Church ParkThis open space is where the two Harmonist churches once stood. Facing Main Street (east) stood a three-story white frame church with a steeple almost six stories high, topped by a bell-tower with a large clock and holding a large bell. In 1988, after the last wing of the original church was torn down, the University of Southern Indiana began developing the Church Park. It includes a basketball court, grassy expanses for picnicking and relaxing, and a landscape interpretation of the original brick church.
The large brick church, west of the frame church, was built in the shape of a Greek coptic cross. The main door faced Church Street and was called the "Door of Promise." Flanked by the date 1822, there was the "Golden Rose" in the doorway pediment. It was carved by Rapp's adopted son, Frederick Reichert Rapp, and is a Harmonist symbol from a German version of the Book of Micah. "And thou Tower of Eden, the stronghold of the daughter Zion, the golden rose shall come, the former dominion, the kingdom of th e daughter of Jerusalem" (Micah 4:8). A reproduction of the brick church doorway stands on the original site, while buckthorn shrubs outline the east-to-west footprint of the original church.
Neef, Pestalozzian scholar and teacher, immigrated in 1806 from Soultz in the Alsace. He established the first Pestalozzian school in the U.S. near Philadelphia. His Sketch of a Plan and Method of Education (1808) helped spread Pestalozzian principles of education. He and his equally gifted wife held positions of leadership at the infant and higher schools of New Harmony.
In 1837, from this house two of the Neef's daughters, Caroline and Anne Elizabeth, became the brides of two of Robert Owen's sons, David Dale and Richard, respectively. At the same ceremony a third Owen son, William, took Mary Bolton as his bride.
The house is now the office of University of Southern Indiana President Emeritus, David L. Rice. Dr. Rice studied at Purdue University where, in the mid-nineteenth century, Richard Owen held the position of president.
Other Resources: Francis Joseph
Nicholas Neef (1770-1854), educator
Jane Owen Fauntleroy was the only daughter of Robert Owen (1771-1858), the Welsh-born social reformer from New Lanark, Scotland, who purchased New Harmony from the Harmonists in 1824. Her brother, Robert Dale Owen (1801-1877), participated in the early st ruggle for women's rights in Indiana and counseled young women of the Minerva Society about writing their constitution.
Mary Emily Fauntleroy, a distant relative, sold the house and its contents to the Indiana Federation of Clubs, which in 1939 gave the property to the State of Indiana to be operated as a historic site under the newly-formed New Harmony State Memorial.
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