Today we visited the Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill.
Nestled in 2900 acres of rolling bluegrass near Lexington Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill is a National Historic Landmark of a restored 19th century community chronicling the peaceful, practical and innovative Shaker life. The site gives insight into one of America’s most successful communal religious societies. Racial and sexual equality and conservation of resources were a part of established Shaker principles. As celibacy was a guiding principle couples joining the community lived separately, with their young children and foundlings raised in a nursery. Children could decide whether to remain in the community when they reached the age of majority. The Pleasant Hill site was active from 1805 to 1910.
A Shaker village was divided into groups or "families." The leading group in each village was the Church Family, and it was surrounded by satellite families that were often named for points on the compass The Pleasant Hill site had four family communities. Each village was governed by a leadership team consisting of two men (Elders) and two women (Eldresses). Shakers lived together as brothers and sisters. Each house was divided so that men and women did most things separately. They used different staircases and doors. They sat on opposite sides of the room in worship, at meals, and in "union meetings". However, work at the Shaker village required the brethren and sisters to interact, such as harvesting apples, food production, laundry, and gathering firewood.
They were an innovative community. They practiced selective breeding and scientific agriculture well before the average farmer did. They had a municipal water system and water pumps in the kitchens long before the neighbouring farms.
An interesting place to visit.