The permanent and official blog of the University of Leicester's School of Museum Studies PhD student conferences and special events.

21 October 2011

Historical Utopias: Utopia, Ohio

We've already introduced you to Utopia (Texas), and this week, we present you with another Utopia, this one in Ohio. Sadly, this place does not have a Utopian museum - it has a population of just over 9,000 people. However, it has a very interesting history which makes it far from an ideal place. According to the state historical marker (2003) which stands in the town:
Utopia was founded in 1844 by followers of French philosopher Chaqrles Fourier (1772-1837). Fourierism, based on utopian socialism and the idea of equal sharing of investments in money and labour, reached peak popularity in the United States about 1824 to 1848. The experimental community of Utopia dissolved in 1846 due to lack of financial success and disenchantment with Fourierism. John O. Wattles, leader of a society of spiritualists, purchased the land and brought his followers to Utopia in 1847. The spiritualists, who sought secluded areas to practice their religion, built a two-story brick house on the shore of the Ohio River. A flash flood on December 13, 1847, killed most of Wattles' people. The majority of the few survivors left the area. Thus, the idea of the perfect society, or utopia, died. Henry Jermegan of Amelia, laid out the present village in 1847.
You can find out more about Utopia (OH) here.

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