If where and how you live is definitional of who you are, a perfect example exists in the Oneida Community Mansion House. Built in phases by the utopian Oneida Community (1848-1880), the 93,000 square foot Mansion House testifies to the Community’s core beliefs regarding communal life. Plan and design employ leading architectural styles of the mid-19th century. Its large scale served the social practices of a 300-person commune that lived as one family.
For 33 years under the leadership of John Humphrey Noyes, the religiously-based Perfectionist Community challenged contemporary social views on property ownership, gender roles, child-rearing practices, monogamous marriage, and work. From their insistence on life-long learning and vigorous health, the realization of self in advancing the good of the whole, they developed a work ethic and well of industriousness so deep it flowed into one of the most impressive manufacturing companies of the 20th century.
Influenced by both internal and external pressures, the Community disbanded in 1880 and formed a joint-stock corporation, Oneida Community Ltd. The joint-stock company changed its name during the early 20th century to Oneida Ltd. and achieved world-wide recognition for the tableware it produced in Sherrill, NY.
The Oneida Community Mansion House was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1965. It was chartered by the Board of Regents of the New York State Education Department in 1987 as a 501c3 non-profit historic house and museum.