The Universalist church in Harriman, Tennessee

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I've known for years that there was a Universalist Church in Harriman, Tennessee, and that it was proposed in 1890, Young People's Christian Union (the Universalist young adult organization) as a domestic mission.

But why Harriman, Tennessee? Why not its larger neighbor, Knoxville? Indeed, why the then-stony soils for evangelism called Tennessee?

I found a clue in a guide for the YPCU 1896 Jersey City, New Jersey meeting. One of the sponsored events was a visit to a new development on Staten Island: Prohibition Park, a wholesome place for non-drinkers to live. Harriman, too, was established in 1898 as prohibition town with a national scope and an eye to honest industry. Universalist grain magnate Ferdinand Schumacher was an investor. So I'd think settlement utopianism was the attraction.

The church is long-gone, but understand that one of its windows survives in the United Methodist church in Winterville, Georgia, near Athens.

3 Replies to “The Universalist church in Harriman, Tennessee”

  1. Dear friend, I hope you will reply. Perhaps it is on your site, but could Harriman, TN have been a place for a Universalist group because the namesake of the town, Walt? Harriman was an advocate of that doctrine? Thank you, John Zuccarello

  2. Possibly, but I don’t have an answer. It was a model town with a reformist foundation in any case, and I’m sure that was part of the appeal of founding a church there.

  3. Tucked within the Cornstalk District, which is Harriman’s historical neighborhood, there is a house that has a stone that marks it as a Universalist Church… or, it did when it was for sale several tears ago and I saw the stone marker that also has a date inscribed in it.

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