Fountain Grove

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Fountain Grove was a utopian colony founded near Santa Rosa, California by Thomas Lake Harris in 1875.[1] Most of its settlers were followers of Harris's Brotherhood of the New Life and moved with Harris from their previous colony at Brocton, New York.

Nagasawa Kanaye (1852-1934) was Harris's California lieutenant who acted as developer and manager of the community's 2,000 acres (8 km2) of vineyards near Santa Rosa. He also succeeded Harris and acted as leader of the brotherhood until 1934.

The main structure was a two-story mansion originally occupied by Harris, his wife, and a handful of utopians; it was also used for important guest lodging and common meals. It was called "Aestivossa" by Harris but commonly referred to as the manor house. Luxuriously furnished, it was in the center of a ring of eucalyptus trees and little gardens and a lily pond. The manor house was demolished in 1970.[2][3]

Harris's community left a significant stamp on the history of Santa Rosa, and today that part of town is still called Fountaingrove. The round barn that was part of the winery still dominates the area, and a street, Thomas Lake Harris Drive, is named for Harris.

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  1. ^ Hine, Robert V. (1953). California's Utopian Colonies. San Marino, Calif.: Huntington Library. pp. 12–32. 
  2. ^ Kagan, Paul (1975). New World utopias: a photographic history of the search for community. Penguin Books. pp. 21, 32–33. 
  3. ^ Sutton, Robert P. (2003). Communal utopias and the American experience: religious communities, 1732–2000. Greenwood. p. 125. ISBN 0-275-97554-1.