The Koreshan State Historic Site - Estero Florida

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Florida Guide > Florida History

The Koreshan State Historic Site - Estero Florida

When we visited Florida last August we decided to 2 centre our holiday by spending a few days close to the West coast in a place called Bonita Springs and then following this with 2 weeks in Orlando. As part of our plan we researched the Bonita Springs area using the internet and found a nearby State Park listed.

As we drove down Highway 41 towards Corkscrew Road we found the entrance to the park and drove in. We paid the Park Ranger $5 which covered the cost of the car and all its occupants, very good value. Having quizzed the Ranger about the things we should not miss he suggested that we certainly make sure that we visit the Historic site. Not really expecting much (how many historic sites are simply a pile of rubble? ) we were really impressed by what we were about to see and learn about a culture we were unaware of.

The settlement comprises of a number of restored buildings and gardens set within 153 acres which served as the Koreshan community from the late 19th century through to 1961 when the last 4 remaining members signed the land over to the State.

The Koreshan community comprised of a group inspired by Dr. Cyrus Teed who recruited his members by offering accommodation, food, drink and education in exchange for work and commitment to the core beliefs. The Koreshan' s were not a group that refused to interact with society but more of a defined community holding distinct values. A very strong belief of the community, and radical at the time, was the acceptance that women shared equal rights with their male counterparts. Much of the community was managed and run by its women, who already had equal voting rights way ahead of the national changes that did not arrive in the US until 1920.

Property, including possessions, was subjected to shared ownership and those that joined gave up everything they owned at the time of joining. Items were either sold off to raise money to buy goods, or assimilated into the settlement for internal use.

Dr. Cyrus Teed had a firm belief that the world was a concave sphere and that life existed inside of it. Koreshanity, the religion practised, was very much Christian based but also encapsulated the theories that Teed had written into a book called ' The Cellular Cosmogony - The Earth, a Concave Sphere' .

The visit was fascinating and we simply self guided ourselves around from area to area going into some of the open houses and reading. In one of the buildings there was an interesting video playing that explained a lot.

In addition to the Historic site the park accommodates campers, has fishing facilities, canoeing, hiking and picnicking areas. If you' re ever in the area it is well worth a visit.

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