Neff Haus, 550 Main Street, Harmony, PA, built in 1807-1808 by the Harmonist Society in its original 1804-1814 settlement. Specifically constructed to be ready for Jacob Neff and his wife, Maria, when they arrived from Lancaster County, PA. Jacob Neff had assisted founder Father George Rapp with financing and recruiting in the difficult early years of the communal society’s settlement in Western Pennsylvania. The entire village adjacent to Interstate 79 and within commuting distance, but across the county line from, Pittsburgh, and its 17 surviving original Harmonist buildings, is now a National Register Historic District. Adjacent to one of the fastest growing areas in the U.S., Cranberry Township, PA, with excellent public schools and a low tax burden. Many of the Harmonist buildings are owned by the Historic Harmony organization, and others are being restored by private residents and entrepreneurs. Excellent potential for an antique business, Kentucky rifle gunmakers shop, or bed and breakfast (a former use). Price $199,000 sale by owner, as is.
Two story handmade brick, 2 bedrooms, 2 baths, rear frame addition is Civil War period, approximately 1600 square feet. Carriage house in rear, ready for renovation. Property can be used as residential and/or commercial. Some original floors. Forced air gas heat, new roof, new water heater. Renovated in the 1990s, but not modernized.
The celibate society owned up to 9,000 acres and flourished, but was poorly situated for its extensive trade in fine silk, rye whiskey, and agricultural products, and its desire to produce wines. They sold out lock, stock, and barrel in 1814 and floated down the Ohio River to 20,000 acres in southwestern Indiana, near the mouth of the Wabash River, where they built a similar town, New Harmony, and again flourished. In 1824 they sold out lock, stock, and barrel to Robert Owen and his intellectual community, and returned upriver to Pittsburgh and built their third similar town, Old Economy on the Ohio River at Ambridge, only 20 miles from their first town, which survives largely intact as a Pennsylvania State Historic Park. Civil War widows and orphans temporarily increased their population, but the Society disbanded early in the 20th century.