Sunday, July 11, 2010

Modern Times, A Utopian Society, Brentwood, NY

Hello again.  In back of me stands the Modern Times original schoolhouse which was to be restored by the Brentwood Historical Society in 2005. As you can see, the school house hasn't been restored as of yet, but I'm not here to tell you about that.

I'm here to tell you about the colony of Modern Times, founded on March 21, 1851 by Josiah Warren and Stephen Pearl Andrews.  It was based on the principles of individual sovereignty and individual responsibility which meant that you were responsible for yourself  and your actions.  There were no rules or regulations, no jails, no laws and according to records, there was little or no crime.  All land was considered private property except in the alleyways where that was considered common ground.  They had their own private currency based upon the current labor exchange so they could trade for goods and services.

Modern Times did not last however.  Eventually, people found their way into the colony who did not share their ideals and beliefs.  This and the Civil War contributed to the beginning of the end of Modern Times.  As you can see by the above the sign, it was renamed Brentwood in 1864 after the village, Brentwood, Essex in England.  Many of the buildings were completely destroyed.

This octagon house was known as the Dame House built in 1859 by William Upham Dame.  The sign says that it was a Modern Times home and was designed for the economy of space.  The first floor was used as a residence and the second floor used as the Modern Times Assembly Hall.  

The schoolhouse was originally located at 3rd Avenue and 4th Street.  The schoolteacher's name was Mary Swain.  It was a one room schoolhouse and used between 1857 to 1907 and moved in 1989.

I am including two links regarding Modern Times:

Wikipedia article:,_New_York

and from the Brentwood Library

1 comment:

  1. Very interesting! Thanks for sharing!