The Koreshan State Historic Site is one of my very favorite destinations in Southwest Florida. The place becomes much more meaningful if you know a little about its history. Cyrus Teed, born in 1839, had a mystical experience in which he saw a vision of a beautiful woman who revealed the secrets of the universe to him. He changed his name to “Koresh,” the Hebrew version of his name, “Cyrus,” meaning “shepherd or Messiah.” Teed brought his followers to Estero, Florida, near Naples, in 1894 to build New Jerusalem for his new faith. The Koreshans believed in the Hollow Earth theory; that is, the world in which we live is contained within a sphere, and we live on the INSIDE of the sphere, with centrifugal force holding us down, rather than gravity.
Around 250 believers followed him to Estero, and constructed various buildings, including a print shop, where they published a newsletter; a power plant, where they generated their own electricity and even sold it to homes in the surrounding area; a bakery, where the “risin’ bread” was sold in the general store; a steam laundry; an Arts Hall, where they put on plays and band concerts; a three-story community dining hall; the “Master’s House,” a home for Teed; and the Planetary Court, where the seven women who ruled the community lived. On December 22, 1908, Teed died. His followers, who believed in reincarnation, awaited his second coming, which of course never occurred. That marked the beginning of the end of the Koreshan Unity.
Today, many of the original buildings have been restored, and visitors to the site can go inside some of them or view the inside of others through Plexiglas partitions. I return to visit the site from time to time because its history keeps drawing me back. You can find out park information at www.floridastateparks.org/koreshan .
Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.