Homes of Harmony

Simon Crosby Hewitt, “Architecture of the Future—Designs for Homes of Harmony, Transmitted from the Spirit World,” Millennial Gazette (London), ed. Robert Owen, July 1, 1856: 3-11

To Robert Owen:

Dear and Much Respected Sir—

I send you several very imperfectly drawn (because very hurriedly done) diagrams, with an accompanying paper, to be presented by you, (if you deem it wise so to do,) to the Congress, &c., of the 14th May. I do this at the suggestion of my Spirit Teachers, under whose daily tuition I hope, by and by, to elaborate my especial part of an entirely new, more beautiful, and in every way, more perfect system of architecture, than the world has yet known, cared for, or thought of. What I send you will give you but a very imperfect idea of this singularly beautiful and highly useful manifestation from the heavens; but it is the best I can do at present, for I do it at short notice and in the midst of many cares and much struggle. Hereafter I may do better, as the advent of the spheres grows in breadth and strength, and as means (which give time and freedom from cares, &c.) come to me and mine.

Much of the time, and for some three years, I have spent in elaborating these new ideas. Much more I shall doubtless spend in the future, with the serene hope that much good may come to humanity, (and through humanity only, to me and mine,) by these new labours.

With the highest regard for your self-sacrificing character, in labouring for universal man, I now submit these documents to your wise disposal.

S. C. Hewitt,
22, Tremont Street.
Boston, May 1st, 1856.

To Robert Owen and others, members of the Congress to be assembled in London, England, 14th May, 1856, to discuss principles and measures for the Reformation of the World.


The hour has now fully come, when persons interested in important humanitary efforts should come together, associate, look one another in the face, communicate the purposes, plans, ends, and aims, which each and all have in view.3-room plan

Among the many subjects which have occupied the attention of man in past ages, that of structures has been one of the most important. Little or no progress can be made until man shall be comfortably cirumstanced. He needs, not only to look out on the broad landscape, to journey over the vast prairies, to wander among the silent groves, to seek shelter in the quiet arbour; but he also needs a comfortable, cheerful harmonious place of abode—a HOME which shall be, at once, the sacred locale of his affections, the embodiment of his tastes, and, if not the symbol of his actual attainments, at least that of his aspirations and his more ennobling desires.

The past has been the age of struggle. Contest between man and man, nation and nation, has everywhere been exhibited. And it can hardly be said, even yet, that humanity has an abiding place, or a continual city. But a new order of society is now being ushered into existence. New forms of life and action will appear. There will be less of isolation—of mere individualism; there will be more of association, of co-operation—exhibiting the harmonious GROUP-LIFE. And finer offspring, also, manifesting the finer aspirations, will be produced through the aid of these finer conditions.

The new order of society will call for NEW ARCHITECTURE, corresponding to its wants, its aspirations. Now, nature exhibits variety. It also manifests unity. In a very prominent way, and as one of her main features, nature presents CIRCULARITY OF FORM. Wherever the human eye beholds nature, it marks that interesting phenomenon. The forests, the earth, the planets, and, in short, all the heavenly bodies, (to say nothing of the human structure,) exhibit circularity of form.4-room plan

It hardly needs to be said, that as the human body becomes perfect, it presents a more charming and agreeable rotundity of form. It is the house in which the man dwells, and as the man becomes rounded, all-sided, beautiful, in the maturity of his spiritual growth, his dwelling will exhibit a corresponding development.

In opening up, then, to the public mind a new style of architecture, naturally enough attention is turned to circularity of form. With a few past years, not a few persons dwelling in the American nation have been unusually unfolded as transmitters from the Spirit World to the earth condition. Among these persons there are able constructors, draughtsmen, inventors, and diagramists; and their mental powers, to some considerable extent, have been directed to the study of architecture. Some of the diagrams which have been transmitted are now forwarded to this assembly for critical and careful inspection. Their simplicity of style, their beauty of form, their harmony with nature, must attract the attention of intelligent persons in both the Old World and the New.
7-room plan
These diagrams, this day presented, may be regarded in the light of rude efforts only, intended to turn the attention of the public mind to new forms, not only of structure for the individual or isolated family, but for unitary edifices; also for the organisation of CIRCULAR CITIES. Persons who contemplate emigrating to the New World from the Old, would be advantaged by considering the feasibility of organising their townships in such ways that educational, religious, and commercial structures might be located in their general centre. Religion is an element of man’s nature; education is essential for all; commerce is no less important. Inasmuch, then, as all persons in a given territory to a greater or lesser extent need these, they should be located at equi-distant points—viz., the centre.

It were only needful to hint this subject to intelligent persons, and they will instantly perceive the advantages which must result from an arrangement of this character. The advantages, also, derived from lighting and warming edifices thus located, can hardly be over-estimated.

In presenting this subject to the consideration of this assemblage, it is felt that it may wisely take action in respect to the general subject of architecture, without committing itself to any particular plan at the present time; and that the matter, as thus presented, may take its place among the papers which appear on this occasion for the consideration of this intelligent body. And the hope is indulged that it will appear among its published proceedings. Slight diagrams, corresponding to those accompanying this paper, might, with but trifling expense, find place in the report. And should persons who inspect these diagrams desire further information in regard to this branch of effort, they will please address the undersigned, who will be most happy to communicate further in respect to this subject, embracing teachings in reference to the best sites for edifices for the unitary villages, and also in respect to materials which may be economically used for building purposes.

No. 22, Tremont Street, Boston,
Massachusetts, U.S.A., May 1st, 1856.

“Convention of Spiritualists,” New York Times, May 26, 1857

Mr. S. C. Hewitt exhibited a model of a house, which he said was communicated to him by the spirits as a new style of architecture, which was to correspond to the spiritual progress of human nature.  The human body was the model of all things, and the idea of this building was derived from the human body.  It was true that by simply looking at the model, we saw little that resembled a human body, but when it was opened the resemblance would appear.  In the human body there were three regions, the brain, or the intellectual region, the chest, or the vital region, the abdominal, or the nutritive and digestive region.  As these performed their various functions in the human economy, correspondentially they were represented in the new order of architecture.  There was the cupola of the house for the brain.  The story below corresponded with the chest.  It was the vital part, it was the lungs of the building.  There were the bedrooms, the retiring rooms, the parlors for recreation and amusement, while in the lower story you had the abdominal part of the building, the eating rooms and kitchen.  The wings of the building corresponded to the arms and shoulders.  The cupola, as he had said, was the receiving brain of the house, and was constructed in analogy with the brain of a human being.  In this cupola, study, reading, writing, thinking, would be carried on.  All the intellectual labor of life would go on here, and by it the walls would be magnetized as the bones in the body are magnetized with the life that is proper to them.

The next story corresponded to the face, the windows representing the eyes and the door that opened on the balcony, the mouth.  As the eyes were used for observation, so these rooms must be devoted to scientific and astronomical purposes, and at their windows telescopes could be placed for lunar and stellar observations.  It would be noticed that in the interior of the building there was a large well-hole.  That corresponded with the spinal column, and as the spinal column conveyed impressions direct to the brain, so this was intended as a “lift,” an ascending room, in short, by which things might be raised from the lower to the upper stories, or people might ascend in it, in preference to mounting the stairs.  By means of this ascending room or spinal column, it would be easy to communicate with the brain or cupola.

Mr. Hewitt went on to describe the remaining stories in the same manner.  There was the neck of the house, and its chest, which had a multitude of rooms.  There were also the breasts of the house, in which invisible musicians were to be placed, to give delight to those who sat at the feast within.  In the rear of these were the mother’s receiving-room and the mother’s seclusion room.  Nearby was the worship-room.  The house had a back-bone, for the spirits had first told him, “Above all things, get a back-bone”; and the audience could see that the solid wall inside was a very good back-bone.

[. . .]

He then proceeded to illustrate further the spiritual style of architecture.  The work was performed in the abdominal region—the cooking and domestic work; the eating also went on there.  The cellar or despository was there; also the ice house or preservatory, for in the new order of things they did not dig into the earth, because they wished to escape earth exhalations.  Their motto rather was—“Set your house up as well as you can.”  The entire house, they would see, corresponded with the aerial law, which was triune.

The spirits, Mr. Hewitt proceeded, directed the house to be built of a new cement, to correspond with the bones of the human body in strength and magnetic power.  Bones have glutinous and mineral elements, and there was to be a correspondential likeness in the walls.

The way Mr. Hewitt was led to prepare this model was curious.  The spirits directed him to get a human skeleton and examine it.  He was unable to get one put together, so he had to join one together for himself, and it was a good job he had to do so, for it gave him a lively idea of the human frame.  In the night he would place the chart under his pillow, and in the morning he would have revelations.  Lying awake on his bed, he had electrical flashes of circles, which taught him that his rooms must be either circular or oval.

It was the most convenient and economical structure that the world had ever seen.  It was fire-proof, and would endure from generation to generation, because we did not need to change the essentials of the human body.  The dress only, which was merely an ornament, it was necessary to change.  It was, as he said before, a triune principle, a practical trinity applied to architecture.

There was another advantage belonging to the building.  It might be cast entire out of liquid flint or quartz rock.


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