Heartland Utopias Part 2: Icaria

The French Icarian Village near Corning, featuring the communal dining hall to the right, the Icarian schoolhouse, center, and the Icarian graveyard in the trees to the left.

Adams, in southwest Iowa, is the state’s least populous county. It’s also home to an exceptional piece of history: Iowa’s Icarian Colony, the longest-lived non-religious communal experiment in American history. The community, near Corning, was perhaps the most successful piece of a complex effort to build a society of “one for all and all for one.”

Icaria’s 50-year journey began in France and made stops in five states before its slow dissolution in the 1890s. Although there are few physical reminders of the movement, its impact is still felt in Adams County and every other place it touched.

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