: Taken by photographer Louis Baus in 1930, this photograph shows a southwest view of the idle woolen mill and machine shop Zoar, Ohio. The mill was operated by the Society of Separatists of Zoar before the dissolution of their communal economic system in 1898. Led by Joseph Bimeler (sometimes spelled Bäumeler) in 1817, a group of Lutheran separatists left the area of Germany known as Wurttemberg and eventually established the small community of Zoar in Tuscarawas County, Ohio. The community of Zoar was not originally organized as a commune, but its residents had a difficult time surviving in 1818 and early 1819. As a result, on April 19, 1819, the group formed the Society of Separatists of Zoar. Each person donated his or her property to the community as a whole, and in exchange for their work, the society would provide for them. Additional modifications to the society's organization were made in 1824 and a constitution established in 1833. In the decades following the establishment of the Zoar commune, the Separatists experienced economic prosperity. The community was almost entirely self-sufficient and sold any surpluses to the outside world. In addition to agriculture, Zoar residents also worked in a number of industries, including flour mills, textiles, a tin shop, copper, wagon maker, two iron foundries, and several stores. The society also made money by contracting to build a seven-mile stretch of the Ohio and Erie Canal. The canal crossed over Zoar's property, and the society owned several canal boats. The canal traffic also brought other people into the community, who bought Zoar residents' goods. By the second half of the nineteenth century, the community was quite prosperous. After Bimeler's death in 1853, the unity of the village declined, and by 1898 the Zoarites disbanded the society. The remaining residents divided the property, and the community continued to prosper in Zoar. View on Ohio Memory.
: AL00913 Subjects
: Zoar (Tuscarawas County, Ohio); Society of Separatists of Zoar; Mills; Machinery industry -- Ohio; Small towns Places
: Zoar (Ohio); Tuscarawas County (Ohio)