Celebrating Zoar's Bicentennial

In 1817, a group of 200 German Separatists, rejecting some of the teachings of the official church in Germany, left behind intense persecution and set sail for the United States. After arriving in Philadelphia, they headed west to Ohio; and with the help of the Society of Friends, they settled on a spot of land they would name Zoar, after the place where Lot sought refuge as recorded in Genesis 13.

Zoarites created a utopia of sorts, building homes, running businesses that attracted regular visitors and creating a garden that would become renowned. People came from miles around to buy seeds and cuttings from the Separatists, and even Johnny Appleseed visited and planted in their gardens. The group thrived for more than 80 years as one of the most successful communal settlements in American history.

While the community eventually disbanded—with one member chopping down the centerpiece of the community garden in protest—today, the village thrives again. Approximately 75 families now live in the original homes. Other original buildings are home to bed and breakfasts, restaurants, antique and craft shops and educational exhibits.

The Village will open for the season on April 1, and their bicentennial celebration will include:

  • Updates to exhibits in the Number One House
  • Re-opening of the Bimeler House as the Bimeler Art Gallery
  • Special events
  • A Zoar-focused speaker series
  • A Traveling exhibit and more

We're excited to collaborate with the Historic Zoar Village on March 26 and over following months to celebrate this major milestone. See the Performing Arts Center website for details.

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