Harmony was founded in 1804 by the Harmony Society of German Lutheran Separatists who were seeking religious freedom. They quickly became 19th century America’s most successful communal group.
The Harmonists, who believed Christ’s return was imminent, adopted celibacy to remain spiritually pure, but also assuring the group’s eventual demise. When the Harmonists sold the town and 6,000 acres to “second founder” Mennonite blacksmith Abraham Ziegler in 1815, Mennonite families led the area’s resettlement.
A half-century before Harmony’s founding there was a Delaware Indian village at the site, Murdering Town, visited by George Washington during his 1753 mission that sparked the French & Indian War. Nearby, the war’s first shot was fired at Washington by a “French Indian.”
Harmony’s Landmark District retains the old world architectural character of an old German village and includes more than 50 buildings. Nine area properties are owned by the nonprofit historical society and preservation group, Historic Harmony, which offers tours of the Harmony Museum, a log house and a Harmony Society duplex. You can self-tour the Harmonist and Mennonite cemeteries; other sites may be visited by appointment.
Visitors can see even more preserved buildings as several specialty shops occupy former Harmonist and other structures. An enjoyable afternoon can be spent admiring antiques, gifts, florals and decorative accessories that add even more charm to the already charming village. While enjoying the merchandise, sip a cup of coffee or savor the sweetness of an ice cream cone. And if all of that activity makes you hungry, enjoy lunch or dinner in a former railroad president’s Victorian mansion. You’ll quickly discover that spending an afternoon in Harmony is simply harmonious.