I see Unity Village as this small community tucked into the suburbs of a large metropolitan area, so I have a hard time imagining the unpaved roads and farms that dotted the countryside before Unity cofounder Charles Fillmore purchased the first plot of land for the Village in 1919. Over the years, Unity purchased additional land, which often included farmhouses, barns, and other outbuildings. Many of these buildings were used for farming operations, and the old farmhouses were turned into employee housing. One of those buildings still being used today is the Harris farmhouse.

The Harris farm was one of the first farms purchased. Its farmhouse, now used as the clubhouse for the Unity Village Golf Course, was a two-story frame home with a large front porch that wrapped around one side of the house. The second story featured a screened-in sleeping porch, which is now enclosed. Soon after Unity purchased the farmhouse, it was remodeled as a country home for Unity founders Charles Fillmore and Myrtle Fillmore while their main residence, known as the Arches, was being built next door.

Mary Georgiana Fillmore, Charles Fillmore’s mother, also lived in the Harris farmhouse with Charles and Myrtle. Life had not been easy for Mary Georgiana. She raised her two boys in the Minnesota territory while supporting her family as a dressmaker. She had lived with her son and daughter-in-law for many years, but after the couple moved into their new home across the street, the Harris farm became Mary Georgiana’s home, often referred to as Grandma Fillmore’s residence.

A large, beautiful house in Unity Village surrounded by trees with a golf cart in front

Because the Arches did not have a kitchen, however, Charles and Myrtle continued to eat meals at Grandma Fillmore’s house. Myrtle explained in a letter to a friend that she wanted her home to be “filled with food for thought and inspiration and blessings, but not the kind that makes stacks of dishes to wash.” Grandma’s house stood just outside the newly expanded golf course. From her back windows, Mary Georgiana could see the peach and apple orchards. She lived in the house until her death at the age of 97 in 1931.

The house then became the men’s dormitory, where students coming to Unity Training School could find accommodations. In 1940, the rate was $15 per week or $55 for the four-week term. The price included meals served at the Terrace Tea Room, only a short walk away. During the annual conference, space was at a premium so students shared rooms.

Even after the house became the Golf Clubhouse, it was still used as a residence. The family that ran the Golf Clubhouse lived in the rear of the building. For many years there were two clubhouses: the original clubhouse (currently scheduled for renovation) by the now-closed swimming pool and the clubhouse for the golf and tennis courts.

Unity Village looks very different from how it did more than 100 years ago, but the Harris farmhouse still stands and keeps an important part of the Village’s history alive.

This article appeared in Unity Magazine®.

About the Author

Jolene Clark is the archives manager at Unity World Headquarters. She has a bachelor’s degree in history and a master’s degree in library science from the University of Missouri. To arrange to visit the archives at Unity Village, contact Clark at [email protected].

Jolene Clark


No Results