GREAT MIAMI VALLEY
WHITE WATER SHAKER VILLAGE
Three miles west of Fernald, along Oxford Road above New Haven, are several surviving buildings from the Central and North Families of the White Water Shaker Village, one of thirteen settlements across New England and the Midwest planned by this industrious nineteenth-century sect.
The site is preserved within Miami Whitewater Forest, a county park. A lovely approach is along the park’s Shaker Trace Hike-and-Bike trail. The “Shaker” movement, or “The Believers in the Second Appearance of Christ,” was founded in 1824. The celibate group, known for its shaking religious dances, lived communally here at White Water in three groups called “families.”
Some North Family buildings remain along New Haven Road, notably the only Shaker Meeting House built of brick, and next door, the large North Family dwelling. These Shakers, like their brethren in the east and in Kentucky, thrived through careful farming methods and successful sales of brooms, seeds, and other products, including silk from their own silkworms. The Hamilton County Park District has stabilized 23 Shaker buildings, on view but not yet open to the public.
A mound survives in the New Haven Cemetery, on Oxford Road just south of the South Family buildings.