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About Koreshan State Historic Site
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History of Koreshan State Historic Site
The founding of the Koreshan Unity Settlement in Estero, Florida, was the continuation of a movement started in Moravia, New York, in 1880 by Dr. Cyrus R. Teed. His utopian community
of 200 followers often had to contend with an unfriendly and hostile society because of their religious, scientific and cultural beliefs. To find an accommodating environment, the movement relocated to the Florida frontier in 1894. Dr. Teed took the name “Koresh,” the Hebrew translation for Cyrus, meaning shepherd.
The colonists believed that the entire universe existed within a giant, hollow sphere. They conducted experiments that seemed to confirm their beliefs.
Encouraged by their visionary leader, the industrious Koreshans built and operated a printing facility, boat works, cement works, sawmill, bakery, store and hostelry. Education, science and art also helped shape their community. Education served an important role, not only for the children at the settlement, but also for the adult members. Artistic endeavors included producing plays and musicals, and creating elaborate Victorian gardens.
After the death of Dr. Teed in 1908 at the age of 69, membership of his religious group began to decline. In 1961, the four remaining members deeded 305 acres of their land to the State of Florida as a park and memorial. The Koreshan Unity Settlement Historic District is on the National Register of Historic Places.