Thursday, April 11, 2013

South Union Shaker Village, part 1

Founded in 1807 and lasting until 1922, South Union Shaker Village in Auburn, Kentucky was one of the communal utopian societies that adhered to the teachings of Ann Lee.  At one time they had constructed over 200 buildings at this location (we'll learn what happened to a good many of these structures in the next entry).  We had toured the site many years ago, but Dudeboy was young and had forgotten much of that visit.  So, couple that with his love of architecture and it was high-time we paid another visit.

 The 1824 Centre House . . . from the brochure:
This 23,000 square foot dormitory was once home to 100 Shakers.  While the upper floors were used for sleeping, the ground floor contained food storage, kitchen and dining space.  There is also a large meeting room in the house.  Men used the east side of the building and the women used the west.  During the early 20th century the Shakers installed electric lights, plumbing and radiator heat. 
In the background is the Centre House, and in the foreground are the foundation remains of the 1818 Meeting House.

Only six of the ten remaining buildings are open to the public.  Dudeboy and Dr. J ascending the stairs according to the Shakers' segregation of the sexes.

One of the famous Shaker chairs . . . apparently South Union has one of the best collections of Shaker artifacts.  

View of the 1854 Wash House . . . adjacent to the South Union Shaker Village, but now owned by the Fathers of Mercy Church.  I looked on their website, and I couldn't find one mention of the Shakers or the Shaker-built Wash House.  Things never change . . . co-opt someone else's crap and don't give credit (I'm thinking of all of those Catholic churches built on ancient Aztec sites in Mexico).

Another view of the Wash House.

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