Movers and Shakers: Restoring a Historic Village

Volunteers with the Friends of White Water Shaker Village work to restore historic Shaker buildings in the Great Parks of Hamilton County.

Photograph by Wes Battoclette

In 1823 Shakers established White Water, a communal society in western Hamilton County. It flourished into the early 20th century and by the 1850s, 150 members of the United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Appearing lived simply and peacefully in three “families,” farming the land, making brooms, and packaging garden seeds for sale. Named for a style of worship that involved ecstatic movements and shaking, Shakers believed in gender equality, celibacy, and communal ownership of property. The last two members left in 1916, and the property was sold to local farmers. More than 20 original Shaker structures remain near Harrison in Crosby Township, including a brick meeting house (built in 1827) and dwelling (built in 1832), unique among Shaker communities, which typically featured wood-frame structures. Today, the Friends of the White Water Shaker Village lease the property from Great Parks of Hamilton County and volunteers are restoring the historic buildings with a goal of opening them to the public for tours, craft workshops, demonstrations, fairs, and more. Open houses will be on September 24 and October 7. Check out to schedule group tours and volunteer opportunities.

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