, May 11, 2009
- 128 pages
The remarkable architecture in the Harmony National Historic Landmark District reflects the town's German roots. In the early 1800s, German Lutheran separatists, led by Johann Georg Rapp, purchased depreciation lands from a German nobleman and founded Harmony. They organized as the communal Harmony Society in 1805, pledging to live as a family until Christ's return. The industrious Harmonists prospered, traveled to Washington to confer with Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, and gained international fame for their lifestyle and economic success. By 1811, they owned 9,000 acres and had constructed 130 buildings. Their main street was on the direct route from Pittsburgh to Erie during the War of 1812. Harmony's colorful past includes the Mennonite, oil boom, and electric interurban train eras. Maj. George Washington slept near here in 1753 and narrowly escaped being shot by a native guide. Among notable residents were songwriter Stephen Foster, professional baseball pitcher George "Rube" Waddell, and gunsmith Charles Flowers.