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Koreshan Unity Settlement Historic State Park

Estero, Florida

Koreshan Unity Foundation, State of Florida Parks

Working as a consultant to the Koreshan Unity Foundation, David Driapsa conducted archival and site reconaissance. He created an existing conditions report, significant period site plan, and treatment recommendations for preservation and rehabilitation actions for the historic community.

In a “small clearing in the jungle” Cyrus Teed set about to establish a city on the banks of the Estero River, with the Gustave Damkohler homesite at its center. “While Teed was our guest, he showed us his plans for his New Jerusalem.  He had a big, beautiful map showing the streets of his dream place.  Father’s place was to be the center with streets running in all directions about like the streets from the Capitol in Washington, D.C.” (Damkohler: 23).

Two long avenues parallel the Estero River in a east-west orientation. Twice a year on the solar equinox the sun rises directly on the eastern end of these avenues and sets on the western end, making a marvelous connection with the cosmos.

Visitors frequently expressed surprise as they approached the community from the Estaero River. They found that it did not consist of wild woods with footpaths, but of broad lawns adorned with an immense variety of cultivated trees, shrubs, and flowers, all well kept and artistically arranged along the wide shell walks, the canal, river bank, knolls and mounds.

A wide walkway ran along the shore and a beautiful stairway rose up the riverbank to a wide landing, where an attractive, small fountain is located strategically to come into view upon reaching the top.  This “Petronian Fountain,” commands the intersection of two principal avenues.  This delightful and significant architectural setting contributies to the classical landscape created at the Koreshan Unity Settlement.