09. The End of Utopia

A group of Methodists follow a man into a swampy region in Michigan to start a utopian society from scratch.

Courtesy of the Bentley Historical Library at U-M

Meet Emil Baur

Emil Baur was born in Germany, but came to the states as a young man ready to do the Lord’s work.

After becoming fascinated with utopian societies and transcendentalism, Baur decided to create his own swampy Michigan utopia with a group of German Methodists from Pittsburgh. He would call this place Ora Labora. But despite his grand hopes for the place, it quickly became apparent that cityfolk weren’t the best at roughing it and that this spelled more than a few problems for the future of Ora Labora.



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