When we bought the land in 1988, only the barn was here. We lived in it for nearly two years while we moved an early pioneer settler’s cabin to the property and rebuilt it as the First House.
That first winter was miserably cold and we only had a kerosene heater which absolutely failed to keep us warm. We ended up moving our 11-foot camper trailer into the barn and living in it during the coldest months. Needless to say there was no electricity, no running water, no plumbing and little of anything else. That was by necessity. But we kept it that way for years as we built the community by moving other buildings onto the property, either in pieces or intact, and redesigning them.
Our goal was to recreate an eighteenth-century community of single brothers that was located north of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. We had moved to Bethlehem from Salt Lake City where we met in college. We came to Pennsylvania to buy a farm. But Bethlehem had originally been a religious community and we wanted to have our own spiritual family of brothers.
Our model was a community called Christiansbrunn, the Spring of Christian, named for the leader of the brotherhood. Ironically he never came to Pennsylvania, being born in Germany and dying in London at the age of 24. However his brothers believe Christian’s spirit lived again in the waters of what became a sacred spring. By drinking the water, they believed, one was entered by the spirit of Christian. That spring still exists.