3d pan white

Heaven's Door

The solid stone door to the Harmonists' cemetery. Yes, solid! But it moves quite easily (particularly for being 200 years old). Note the resemblance of the door to the traditionally accepted form of the Ten Commandments and how the Harmonists carried the theme throughout the entrance. Try viewing large for a nice look at the texture. :)


(By the way, it was quite an overcast and rainy day, so the pictures didn't turn out quite as well as I would like. Oh well.)


There is only one grave marker within, although around 100 people are buried inside; the Harmonists did not believe in using headstones.


While my parents were in town, we went to Harmony, PA, a town settled by the Harmonists in 1854. They were an interesting group of people; a group of Lutherans who'd broken away from the church and left Germany for America, all while believing that Christ was due to return at any moment.


They lived simply in a somewhat socialist commune (however, there is a wonderful wine cellar beneath the founder's house, and they reportedly made excellent wines). They were completely celibate, because it would keep them pure, as well as the fact that children were unable to provide for themselves and therefore a drain upon the colony. To stay around, they would take in orphans (gee, lucky kids). Married members lived together as brother and sister.


Eventually, the Harmonists died out, which isn't surprising. It's an intersting story, and Harmony is a neat little place to visit; they were very skilled people, and there is Mennonite history there as well.


More about the Harmonists here and here.

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Taken on September 16, 2006