PA Trails of History

PA Trails of History - Rural Farm and Village History Trail

The Pennsylvania Trails of History directs you to every corner of the state. From Washington Crossing Historic Park on the Delaware River to Lancaster County’s Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania, and from Erie’s U.S. Brig Niagara to Old Economy Village along the Ohio River Trail in Ambridge, Pennsylvania.

Old Economy Village is an historic site in the Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission‘s Bureau of Historic Sites and Museums. Old Economy Village is part of the Rural Farm and Village History Trail in the Pennsylvania Trails of History System.


Old Economy Village, a National Historic Landmark, tells the story of the Harmony Society, one of the oldest and most successful religious communal groups of the nineteenth century. The Society sought to create a utopia inhabited by German Lutheran separatists who subscribed to the mystical religious teachings of their leader George Rapp (1757-1847). In Economy, they waited for the second coming of the Messiah.

The fields and gardens at Old Economy Village supported members of the Harmony Society as they pursued interests in industry and commerce. Flowers and vineyards are among the plantings you will find there today. A new visitors' center interprets the story of this successful early enterprise.


Economy was the third and final home of the Harmony Society. In 1824, leaders purchased 3,000 acres in Beaver County on the Ohio River, eighteen miles downriver from Pittsburgh. The soil was rich for farming and the location was ideal for shipping Society products to markets on the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers and to the West in the newly settled areas on the frontier.

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