Recently, the wife and I had an opportunity to take our Landwhale out to camp near Fort Myers, FL. We camped at Koreshan State Park, named as such due to the fact that it was the former homestead of the Koreshan Unity, founded by Cyrus Teed in 1903.
The community itself was carved from the wildness of the Florida landscape at that time. They built their own homes, stores, bakery, laundry, machine shop, and more, and had their own power generator well before the rest of the area was being served by electricity, and their own print shop that produced work of much better quality than the local newspaper in Fort Myers. They were very progressive and productive.
It’s a great story of adventure, and there are likely many stories each of those people could tell about being recruited by the charismatic founder in Chicago or New York and brought down to the prehistoric wetlands of Florida.
They had their own particular religion as well. They believed in a sort of hollow earth theory. More specifically, the earth and the visible universe were on the inside of a giant sphere, and the sky above you was the inside of that sphere.
At any rate, when Teed died in 1908, his followers left him in a bathtub for almost a week, presuming he would resurrect. That ended badly, and they buried him.
The last original follower of the cult died in 1974, and presumably she believed in their hollow earth theory until the moon landing in 1969. Imagine how devastating that would be to have your entire life’s belief system torn down at the very end, just before you die.
The overall story of the Koreshan community is wild and interesting, and worth a read if only to imagine what it must have been like back then. Here’s a more detailed chronology and background for any interested (I know I was).
One of two fancy bridges the Koreshans built leading from the Estero River into their community.
Although the grounds are mowed and clean today, back in the day things probably looked a bit more organic.
The original owner of the land, Gustave Damkohler, a homesteader from Germany, built his house here in 1882 before selling the land to the Cyrus Teed.
Gustave’s house as seen through the window.
The original hand made nails and wood are still holding the structure together.
The slightly more fancy home of Cyrus Teed, which was built once he bought the land and moved his followers here.
Ah, and the Planetary Court, where the more powerful ladies of the community resided in a very beautiful house. Of course, the third floor housed a man, Henry Silverfriend, also named the “Watcher of the House” or “Protector of the Sisters.”
Probably unreadable at steemit sizes, but a list of the Planetary Court members and original photos of the home itself.
Some of the homes in the community were smaller, but they were all built by each resident themselves.
The machine shop, laundry, and power station.
Power! You can see where the diesel engine in the back would generate power (normally there would be belts on the various spindles) leading to the generator and the wires in the forefront that would distribute power to the community underground.
The diesel generator, which was finally turned off for the last time in the 1930s when Florida Power and Light brought power service to the community.
History is pretty cool. It seems like in today’s modern age there’s not as much chance for pioneering adventure like this. Or maybe there is, but we’re all too comfortable to ever want to do something so different and drastic.
[//]:# (!steemitworldmap 26.433976 lat -81.813010 long d3scr)