Eatonville – First African-American Town

Eatonville, Florida is the oldest incorporated African-American town in the U.S.  Established in 1887, it was named after Union Army Capt. Josiah Eaton, a white man who sold his land to the founders.  (About 100 black communities were started after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed in 1863. Only a dozen still survive.) … [Read more...]

Arcosanti’s Beehives for People

Civilization moves forward on the feet of dreamers and builders.  Dreamers imagine the future while builders create passageways taking us there. Italian architect Paolo Soleri, 92, is one of those rare individuals possessing both a dreamer’s vision and a builder’s blueprint.  … [Read more...]

One for the Road

Have you ever wondered why some Minnesota cities operate liquor stores and bars?  When national Prohibition was repealed in 1933, states quickly designed their own systems for controlling liquor sales.  Minnesota’s law at the time allowed cities with less than 10,000 people to operate their own on-sale (bars) and off-sale (stores) businesses.  … [Read more...]

Rugby – Utopia for Second Sons

Ever since Eden was lost, people have tried to discover or create the next utopia.  In 1880, famed British author and social reformer Thomas Hughes started an experimental utopian colony in Rugby, Tennessee.  Hughes rebelled against the materialism of the Victorian era and England’s primogeniture law. … [Read more...]

The Saga of Salton City

Who wouldn’t want an affordable sea-side home in glamorous California?  Those who rushed to buy a lot in Salton City during the late 1950’s certainly thought it was a solid investment.  Sadly, they were wrong. (My Christmas Valley story said that Penn Phillips moved his operation to Oregon after his California business license was suspended  … [Read more...]

The Story of Christmas Valley

Christmas Valley is an unincorporated area in Lake County, Oregon.  It has a population of 749 and was named after nearby Christmas Lake.  The town didn't exist until 1961 when the M. Penn Phillips Development Company bought 90,000 acres there.  Penn Phillips was a veteran developer who specialized in creating new communities on desert terrain.  In a 1959 Time magazine article, Phillips claimed … [Read more...]

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