The Utopian Dream of Fairhope Alabama: The Founders and Their Vision

The city of Fairhope, Alabama, was born out of a utopian dream. In 1907, educator Marietta Johnson established the School of Organic Education in Fairhope, which was praised in John Dewey's influential 1915 book, Schools of Tomorrow. Dewey and Johnson were founding members of the Progressive Education Association. The centerpiece of the Fairhope plan came from the writings of Henry George, author of Progress and Poverty (187), among other books.

Initially known as the Fairhope Industrial Association, the colony was renamed in 1904 to the Fairhope Single Taxation Corporation. With a clear purpose in mind, they set their sights on the old city of Alabama, hoping to bring about a transformation that would give rise to Fairhope. Adolph Berglin arrived in Fairhope in 1896 and purchased land where Fairhope Airport is located today, and started a lumber business. Arthur Mershon arrived from Des Moines, Iowa, in 1895 and built the first two-story house in Fairhope, which is now the oldest building in the city. The founders had a vision to create a utopian society based on Henry George's single-tax system. This system would ensure that all citizens had access to basic necessities and that no one would be able to accumulate wealth at the expense of others.

The founders also wanted to create a society that was free from government interference and that would be based on cooperation rather than competition. Today, the Fairhope Single Tax Corporation is still active, with 1,800 leased properties covering more than 4,000 acres (16 km) in and around the current city of Fairhope. The founders' vision has been realized in many ways: Fairhope is now a thriving city with a vibrant economy and a strong sense of community.