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New Harmony became known as a center for advances in education and scientific research.Town residents established the first free library, a civic drama club, and a public school system open to men and women.
While Owen was away recruiting new residents for New Harmony, a number of factors that led to an early breakup of the socialist community had already begun.
These structures, along with others related to the Owenite community, are included in the New Harmony Historic District.
Contemporary additions to the town include the Roofless Church and Atheneum.
Other visitors were not as impressed: "hard labor & coarse fare appears to be the lot of all except the family of Rapp, he lives in a large & handsome brick house while the rest inhabit small log cabins.
How so numerous a population are kept quietly & tamely in absolute servitude it is hard to conceive—the women I believe do more labor in the field than the men, as large numbers of the latter are engaged in different branches of manufactures." Although they were not paid for their work, the 1820 manufacturer's census reported that 75 men, 12 women, and 30 children were employed, in the Society's tanneries, saw and grain mills, and woolen and cotton mills.