Portfolio > Utopia Remains

Ultrachrome print, text panel
20.75 x 28.5 inches

Location: Montgomery County, near Beaver Creek, Ohio

Duration: 1806-1910

Affiliation: Shaker Movement/ United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Appearing

Size: 100 residents over 800 acres

%Whoever wants to be the highest
Must first come down to be the lowest;
And then ascend to be the highest
By keeping down to be the lowest.% –Shaker Song

The success of the Shaker community at Union Village encouraged the establishment of other communities across Ohio. A former Presbyterian minister turned Shaker, Richard McNemar spread his message to former parishioners converting many and helping to form the Watervliet community. When people entered the communal society, they had to agree to live separately from the opposite sex and commit to a life of chastity, simplicity, and religious doctrine. They placed importance on key ideas such as the duality of God as masculine and feminine and of their founder Mother Ann Lee’s role as the female counterpart to Jesus Christ.

Reason for Demise: Declining membership due to aging, celibacy, and a lack of new admissions.