Day: November 17, 2012

A Refuge

Since I was young, I have been drawn to the 19th century utopian communities that seemed to spring up like wildfire across America.  Rugby, Tennessee, was a place that sparked the preservation interest which would lead to my career. The Shaker Village at Pleasant Hill, Kentucky, has been a community I’ve visited numerous times and have always found fascinating. So when the National Trust for Historic Preservation listed the Village of Zoar, Ohio, on its 2012 listing of America’s Most Endangered Historic Places and named it one of our National Treasures, I couldn’t wait to make a site visit. Yesterday I joined colleagues and partners in this small Ohio village founded in 1817 by a group of German religious dissenters.  The Zoar Separatists were persecuted in their native country for refusing to join the state-sanctioned Lutheran Church, and they immigrated to America with the help of English Quakers. Using funds borrowed from the Quakers, they purchased 5,500 acres on the Tuscarawas River (the mayor says you have to visit the town at least 3 times …