How Did the Koreshan Unity Settlement Become Koreshan State Park?

Following the death of the founder of the Koreshans, Dr. Cyrus (Koresh) Teed, the Koreshan Unity went into decline. Several groups split from the Unity. One, “The Order of Theocracy,” formed in 1910 and moved to nearby Fort Myers where they lasted until 1931. One of the tracts they published (above) shows how they differed from the beliefs of the Koreshan Unity.

They also had some disillusioned members, as evidenced in the following news clipping from a June 1927 edition of the Tampa Tribune.

That the Koreshan Unity was celibate did not help, although celibacy was not the real problem since there was a married status within the Unity. However, celibates comprised the highest order. With some members leaving and no new members joining, the group slowly dwindled.

Finally, in 1961, Hedwig Michel, the only surviving member and then president of the Koreshans’ religious community, deeded the property to the State of Florida. The Unity Settlement then became Koreshan State Park. In 1967, after restoration of the eleven surviving buildings, the park was renamed “The Koreshan State Historic Site.” Then in late 2017, the name was changed back to Koreshan State Park to make it easier for the public to recognize the location as a state park.

To learn more about the Koreshan Unity and its history, the park offers guided tours of the Historic Settlement.

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