You are currently browsing the Breaching The Web blog archives for December, 2002.

City on the Hill

December 2nd, 2002

I am fascinated by cities that are wholly planned — that exist only because of the concerted actions of some group or individual. Sun City in Arizona is such a place. So is Washington, DC. Zion, Illinois is another.

Dr. John Alexander Dowie purchased 6,500 acres near Chicago, Illinois in 1899 and founded the city of Zion (which was formally dedicated in 1901). He envisioned a “pure” city, one where his followers could live without the temptations of sin. According to the 2000 census 22,866 people live in Zion.

Dowie’s vision of Zion began in 1893, at the gates of the Chicago World’s Fair, where he set up a tent and urged people to come and worship with him rather than attending the fair. His followers soon numbered over 3,500 and he and a core group began working on their city.

The center of the city (which was theocratic until 1935) is a the Christian Catholic Church, founded by Dowie.

Oh, and Gary Coleman was born in Zion.

Zion links:
OurZion’s History of Zion — maintained by a businessman in Zion, this appears to be the source of most Zion information on the web.
Wikipedia History of Zion’s entry on Zion