1844 – Utopian Community Founded Near Ripon

On this date the first settler moved to the Fourierite utopian community in what is now Ripon. This communal society was based upon the teachings of Charles Fourier, a French Socialist, who urged the rebuilding of society from its foundation as the only cure for economic hardship. This especially appealed to those suffering from the 1837 Depression. The communal village was named after the goddess of agriculture, Ceres. Also known as the Wisconsin Phalanx, the community thrived for six years, with membership reaching 180 in 1845. The community officially disbanded in 1850 after many members decided to farm for their own profit. Families gradually left the commune to work and live on their own property. The center of the commune, the "Long House," remained vacant until the 1930s when people suffering from the Great Depression found shelter and comfort there. Community founder said of the failed community "It was prematurely born, and tried to live before its proper time, and of course, must die and be born again. So it did and here it lies." [Source: by Fred L. Holmes, pg. 94-104]