The community of Zoar has been a tourist attraction since it was founded in 1817, due in part to its uncommon experiment in Christian communal living, its German heritage, and its location on the Ohio & Erie Canal. Unlike many 19th-century communal societies, Zoar did not discourage tourism and "gawkers." As a result, there is an unusually rich photographic record of the community and its people as well as many descriptions and comments by writers who wished to share their impressions of this Old World town. Tourists snapped photos of themselves riding on haywagons, boating on Zoar Lake, and walking in the Zoar Separatists' symbolic garden. The Zoarites themselves got into the act as well, taking commercial photos of themselves and their town to be sold as postcards. Fernandez uses many previously unpublished photographs from the Ohio Historical Society's collections and captions them with the words of journalists, diarists, and other visitors. Today a restored village with a ten-museum complex operated by the Ohio Historical Society, Zoar has consciously maintained its German roots.
Zoar continues to attract the curious individual, the traveler, the day-tripper, and the magazine and newspaper writers of the day.
Kathleen Fernandez is the Ohio Historical Society's site manager at Zoar Village State Memorial, is the newsletter editor and a board member of the Communal Studies Association, board member of the Ohio and Erie Canal Corridor Coalition, and chair of the Historic Attractions of Tuscarawas County committee.
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