In 1894, something extraordinary was happening along the banks of Mosquito Creek in what is now known as Koreshan State Park. Dr. Cyrus Teed had sent down the first group of his followers from Chicago to clear land and begin building what would be the foundations of his vision of a religious-utopian community called the Koreshan Unity Settlement.
By 1900, over 200 of Dr. Teed’s followers, over 70% of which were women, had established roots in Estero, Florida along the re-named Estero River, where they remained until 1982 with the death of the last Koreshan.
During Women’s History Month, the park will share some of the real-life stories of these women, who led unusual and amazing lives in the closing years of the 19th century. Women at the Unity Settlement enjoyed a level of equality, leadership and self-empowerment long before women had even earned the right to vote. The Koreshans supported the Women’s Suffrage movement and so 2020 is a very special time to honor these women pioneers of the Settlement.