Indiana April 28, 2016
Guest Contributor 12 Must-See Sights in New Harmony, Indiana
Harmonie State Park combines history, outdoor recreation and stunning river vistas to provide a wonderful family friendly vacation spot. Its location on the banks of the lovely Wabash River provides a wonderful place for fishing and boating on its waters. Trails and picnic tables line its bank and an access ramp allows boaters to lower their watercraft into the river. The picnic area is a wonderful place to watch stunning sunsets over the river.
History buffs will enjoy nearby Historic New Harmony. This fascinating village provides a unique look into two experiments in communal living. Both occurred early in Indiana history here in New Harmony. The Rappites and Harmonites both tried to establish communal living at New Harmony. Neither community succeeded in doing this. However, they left behind a fascinating story, architecture, and community that survives for people to study and enjoy.
1) Indiana's River - The Wabash
The name Wabash derives from the Shawnee word "waapaahšiiki." The word means, "It shines white," in that language. The name is in reference to the river's limestone bottom. The bottom shone white in the sunlight in the time that the Shawnee roamed the lands surrounding the river. Visitors to Harmony State Park can hike, picnic or boat on "Indiana's River."
2) Harmonie State Park
Harmonie State Park offers camping, family cabins, hiking, fishing and mountain biking. Within a ten-minute drive from New Harmony, the park can serve as a base camp from which to explore the historic town.
3) The Athenaeum Visitor Center
Located on North Street, the Athenaeum sits on the north edge of the village overlooking the Wabash River. This is an excellent place to begin a New Harmony adventure. Visitors will find tourist, historical, tour and other information about the town at the Athenaeum Visitor Center.
4) Roofless Church
The Roofless Church consists of a garden surrounded by a brick wall. An opening on the north side of the wall allows visitors a panoramic view of the farmland to the north of the church.
5) West Street Cabins
The West Street Cabins include the Eigner Cabin, the Weber Cabin and the Potter's Shop. Not indigenous to New Harmony, the cabins were moved from the Spencer farm in Illinois. The Harmonists tore all the cabins down to use the lumber for other purposes. The original construction period of these cabins is in the 1816 - 1819 years, so they would have been like the ones at New Harmony.
6) David Lenz House and Garden
The David Lenz House is closed to the public, unless you take a guided tour, but the gardens are open to browse. Construction of the house occurred around 1819 by David Lenz, a lawyer from Germany.
7) Rapp-Owen Granary
© Paul Wonning
Constructed in 1818 by the Rappites this five-story building stands in stately splendor over New Harmony. It served in its capacity as a granary until Robert Owen purchased New Harmony in 1827. William Maclure acquired the building. Known as the "Father of American Geology," Mr. Maclure used it as a geology lab, storage and display area. David Dale Owen gained permission from the Indiana General Assembly to use the building. Mr. Owen was the first state geologist. Not open to the general public, guided tours do include the building.
8) Quaint Downtown New Harmony
The peaceful village of New Harmony resides on the banks of the Wabash River. With a population of around 850, it has the typical small town charm found in small, historic river towns of Indiana. Visitors will find quaint shops, artisan galleries and restaurants along its streets.
9) The Cathedral Labyrinth
New Harmony has two labyrinths, the Harmonists Labyrinth and this one on North Street. The designers modeled it after one at the Chartres Cathedral in France, thus they class this one as a Chartres labyrinth. The original, constructed in the Twelfth Century, is near Paris, France.
10) Harmonist's Labyrinth
The Harmonist Society settled in three successive towns during the one hundred years it existed. The members of the Society built labyrinths in each of these towns. The purpose of the labyrinth was to provide a place of meditation and reflection as they made their way to the center of the labyrinth.
11) Working Men’s Institute Museum and Library
Philanthropist William Maclure established the Institute in 1838. The Working Men’s Institute inhabited a wing in the Harmonist Church until 1894. In that year, it moved to this impressive building three-story structure on Tavern Street. The Institute at one time comprised 144 Institutes in Indiana and additional sixteen in Illinois at its height. The Institute now houses an extensive museum.
12) Wabash River Trails
Visitors can hike along the beautiful Wabash River on trails that begin at the edge of the town.
Hoosiers wishing to learn about Indiana’s rich history must visit this beautiful and historic New Harmony. Visit
indianaplaces.blogspot.com for more information about Indiana.