NPS Arrowhead and link to
[graphic] Shaker Historic Trail  A National Register of Historic Places Travel Itinerary [graphic] Link to Shaker Home
[graphic] Link to List of Sites
[graphic] Link to Map
[graphic] Link to Essays
 [image] Introduction
[graphic] Link to Learn More
[graphic] Link to Itineraries
[graphic] Link to NR Home

[photo] Enfield Shaker Museum, Enfield, New Hampshire
Courtesy of the Enfield Shaker Museum

The National Park Service's National Register of Historic Places and Northeast Regional Office, in conjunction with the Shaker communities and museums of the east coast and the National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers (NCSHPO), proudly invite you to discover the Shaker Historic Trail. The Shakers, more properly known as the United Society of Believers, are one of the most compelling religious and social movements in American life. Beginning in the 1780s, the Shakers established 19 official communities from Maine to Kentucky. This latest National Register of Historic Places travel itinerary highlights 15 Shaker communities listed in the National Register, including nine which are open to the public. This online itinerary was based on the previously published National Park Service brochure, The Shaker Historic Trail.

Originating in the religious ferment of Manchester, England, in the mid-18th century, the "Shaking Quakers" reached fruition after settlement in America in 1774. "Mother" Ann Lee, the English-born leader of the Shakers, began her public ministry in America in 1780. By 1784 she had died, but her charismatic preaching had sparked a revolutionary new movement that had enduring impact on American religion and culture. The Shakers were ardent believers in the millennialist principle of establishing "heaven on earth" through the practice of communitarian social organizations, pacifism,
[photo] Meeting House at Canterbury Shaker Village, New Hampshire
Photograph by Bill Finney, courtesy of Canterbury Shaker Village

celibacy, gender equality and the confession of sin. The Shakers offered an intriguing alternative to mainstream culture in post-Revolutionary War America. They challenged prevailing ideas about worship, marriage, the family, and social and economic order. Over time, they made major contributions to the history of American music, arts, architecture, business and religion. Their legacy is preserved in many of their original communities, such as Canterbury Shaker Village, Hancock Shaker Village, Mount Lebanon Shaker Village, Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill or the Enfield Shaker Museum. Today, only one active community remains at Sabbathday Lake, Maine. Several museums are devoted exclusively to Shaker heritage, as you will find at the Shaker Museum at South Union, Shaker Heritage Society, or the Shaker Historical Museum. Each of the Shaker sites included in this itinerary contribute to the overall story of Shaker determination to express their distinctive voice in the heady atmosphere of American democracy, pluralism and religious liberty.

The Shaker Historic Trail offers several ways to discover these historic places reflecting the Shaker legacy. Each highlighted site features a brief description of the place's significance, color and, where available, historic photographs, and public accessibility information. At the bottom of each page the visitor will find a navigation bar containing links to three essays that explain more about The Shakers, Utopias in America, and Shaker Style. These essays provide historic background, or "contexts," for many of the places included in the itinerary. The itinerary can be viewed online, or printed out if you plan to visit the Shaker sites in person.

[photo] Stairway at Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill, Harrodsburg, Kentucky
Courtesy of Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill
Created through a partnership between the National Park Service's National Register of Historic Places and Northeast Regional Office, the Shaker communities and museums of the east coat and NCSHPO, Shaker Historic Trail is the latest example of a new and exciting cooperative project. As part of the Department of the Interior's strategy to promote public awareness of history and encourage tourists to visit historic places throughout the nation, the National Register of Historic Places is cooperating with communities, regions, and Heritage Areas throughout the United States to create online travel itineraries. Using places nominated by State, Federal and Tribal Historic Preservation Offices and listed in the National Register of Historic Places, the itineraries help potential visitors plan their next trip by highlighting the amazing diversity of this country's historic places and supplying accessibility information for each featured site. In the Learn More section, the itineraries link to regional and local web sites that provide visitors with further information regarding cultural events, special activities, and lodging and dining possibilities. Visitors may be interested in Historic Hotels of America, a program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, located near the places featured in this itinerary.

The Northeast Regional Office and the Shaker communities and museums are the 15th set of more than 30 organizations working directly with the National Register of Historic Places to create travel itineraries. Additional itineraries will debut online in the future. The National Register of Historic Places, Northeast Regional Office and the Shaker communities and museums hope you enjoy this virtual travel itinerary of Shaker heritage. If you have any comments or questions, please just click on the provided e-mail address, "comments or questions" located at the bottom of each page.


 [graphic] revolving photos
 [graphic] Link to The Shakers Essay
 [graphic] Link to Utopias in America Essay  [graphic] Link to Shaker Style  Essay

Shaker Home | Maps | List of Sites | Learn More | Itineraries | NR Home
Essays: The Shakers | Utopias in America | Shaker Style

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