Museum of the New Llano Colony


“The Llano plan is simple and if applied all over the land would mean bringing idle men, idle lands, idle tools, machinery, together in co-operative production and distribution for use and not for profit.” The Gateway to Freedom, New Llano, LA

The Beginning

In 1914, Job Harriman established the Llano del Rio Co-operative Colony just outside Los Angeles, California. However, it soon became apparent there were major problems with the California location and in 1917 they found a new home in the Highlands of Western Louisiana.

He hoped the success of his colony would demonstrate a better way of living to the world. To spread the word, the colony published two newspapers. One of them, the Llano Colonist, devoted to promoting the "Llano Way", had subscribers around the world, many of whom eventually became members, some of them coming to America to join the colony.

For more than 20 years, the colony thrived. The lifestyle was certainly not luxurious, but there was always enough food to eat, medical care, opportunities to educate yourself and/or your children, as well as an outstanding social life with plenty of recreational activities. But in the end, due to a combination of factors, a struggle for control led to bankruptcy and devastating failure.

“Why are there no idle people at Llano Colony when there are millions of unemployed in the world today? Why are those at Llano living in the midst of plenty when there are thousands in other localities who are unable to obtain the necessaries of life?” The American Co-Operator; New Llano, La.; February, 1922

The Gateway to Freedom

The Llano del Rio Co-operative Colony worked like this -- everyone purchased their membership and then became an equal owner in the colony. They owned all the industries which they ran themselves, all the homes where they provided water and electricity for themselves, even all the entertainments which they produced themselves. Everyone worked together to produce whatever they needed.

They came from all walks of life and from all over the world seeking Utopia – a paradise where “you produce for use, not profit”, where all members did equal work for equal benefits.

Though the colony itself lasted only a little over two decades, many of the ideals they promoted are taken for granted by Americans today, including minimum wages, equal rights for women and child labor laws, health care and old age pensions.

"The Board of Directors has the power to handle the finances of the corporation at all times, but working as we do in integral co-operation we never make a heavy investment of any kind without the consent of the membership itself, and in fact, their encouragement." Llano Colonist, September 15, 1928

"The duty of the community to the individual is to administer justice, to eliminate greed and selfishness, to educate all, and to aid any in time of age or misfortune." Declaration of Principles in the Constitution of the Llano del Rio Community

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