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211 P aul Tillich would not be the first intellectual of great stature to be laid to rest in New Harmony. Thomas Say’s tomb stands under a grove of dogwood trees behind the Rapp-Maclure-Owen House (40 on town map). He was not only this country’s first published entomologist and conchologist but also an intrepid explorer and surveyor, having helped define our northwest boundary with Canada. Recent proof of his immortality was demonstrated in the March 2006 issue of Smithsonian magazine. The writer’s essay on coyotes gives credit to Say for conferring the Latin name Canis latrans (barking dog), upon that otherwise colorless animal. Thomas Say’s pink conch shell—still in the Laboratory when the­ artist-­ architect Frederick Kiesler discovered it during his New Harmony visit in October 1962—was an impetus for the original design of the unrealized Cave of the New Being for Tillich Park, which Kiesler preferred to call the Grotto for Meditation. Philip Johnson had declared it­“unbuildable” in the ­mid-­1960s as architecture, even as he acknowledged ChaptER 23 The Undying Dead the talent of the visionary Kiesler. Time and technology, however, would make the impossible possible through the efforts of students and faculty associated with the Grotto Project—Ben Nicholson, Joe Meppelink, and Andrew Vrana—at the Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture, University of Houston. On January 26, 2010, a digitally fabricated interpretation, New Harmony Grotto, was unveiled. I was both astounded and thrilled, my spine tingling, as I walked through what had once been considered only fantasy. It took nearly fifty years before we caught up with Kiesler’s genius. I am pleased that the peace of New Harmony will extend into Houston, offering weary students on campus a place of spiritual renewal not far from the Blaffer Gallery, which honors my mother. Thomas Say tomb and monument across Main Street from the Kilbinger House (left) and Harmonist Community House No. 2 (right), in 1906. Photograph by Homer Fauntleroy. Don Blair Collection. Courtesy of Special Collections, University of Southern Indiana. The Undying Dead 213 I can’t resist adding yet another instance of Thomas Say’s enduring presence in New Harmony, which was brought to my attention by an attractive young entomologist on a hot summer’s day in 1987. While I watered the waxen white August lilies that enliven the Rawlings House picket fence, she hailed me from the sidewalk. “Are you Mrs. Owen?” “So I am told. What can I do for you?” “I am Dr. Catherine Thompson from Florida. I’ve come to search for a red ant that Thomas Say discovered when he lived in the Maclure ­ house, across the street. He rec­ ords it as invading meat and his seed collection. That’s why he named it Myrmica molesta; it molests. I understand that this­house now belongs to your husband and that I would need his permission to set my traps on his property. Would he mind?” Kenneth was at his Pennsylvania ­ horse-­ breeding farm. As he was a man of science and scientific curiosity, I was certain he would applaud Dr. Thompson’s mission, so I readily gave her permission to plant her specially designed vials on the grounds of the Rapp-Maclure-Owen House and around the grass mound of Say’s tomb. The next morning rapid knocking on my front door came from an excited , ­victory-­flushed entomologist. “Of the ­ twenty-­ four traps I placed near the ­ house, two are filled with specimens of molesta! They liked my tuna fish oil bait, and I am thrilled. Please thank your husband.” I am indebted to Lois Mittino Gray’s fine article in the Posey County News for aiding my memory with details of Dr. Catherine R. Thompson’s rediscovery. Ms. Gray teaches biology in New Harmony’s high school. In 2008, she was presented with the National Rural Teacher of the Year award at the one hundredth National Rural Educators Association convention in San Antonio. In New Harmony, we may no longer have Pestalozzi educatorsMarieDuclosFretageot,WilliamS.Phiquepal(whobotharrived on “The Boatload of Knowledge”), or Joseph Neef, but we still have the finest educators. Maple Hill Cemetery, south of town where the gentle hills begin, is the resting place of many notable New Harmony residents. Constance Owen Fauntleroy established the first women’s club in America, the Minerva 214 New Harmony, indiana Society, in 1859, in the parlor of the Fauntleroy House (41 on town map). Two of Robert Owen...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9780253016638
Related ISBN
9780253016249
MARC Record
OCLC
903357020
Pages
400
Launched on MUSE
2015-03-20
Language
English
Open Access
No
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