The busiest "little" township in Indiana
Clear Creek Township
Monroe County, Indiana
Hippies ?
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American Topics : Not All Hippie Communes Have Succumbed to Reality

By Brian Knowlton
Published: July 2, 1998

In the spring of 1976, a group of long-haired young dreamers bought 304 acres of rolling
woodlands near the small town of Harrodsburg, Indiana, and moved into canvas teepees.
They slept on dirt floors, cooked over campfires, raised chickens and goats and tended an
organic garden. Their dream: to build a Utopian community.

"In those days you were young and it was all an adventure," recalled Sara Steffey, 47, one
of the original members of May Creek Farm. "We were all really happy. It was like retiring in
your 20s."

Such dreams, of course, tend to encounter harsh reality — cold winters, leaky roofs, the
need, like it or not, for money. And so hundreds of the communes like May Creek Farm that
sprang up in the '60s and '70s disbanded or dissolved. But others remain. A directory
produced by a group called the Fellowship for Intentional Community lists 540 North
American communes.

Outside Harrodsburg, the community that started in teepees thrives, though it has evolved.
May Creek Farm Inc., now part nature preserve, part housing subdivision, is home to 10
families with 30 members, living in houses, not teepees. Each family owns its own plot of
land; together the "creekers," as they call themselves, own 200 acres of surrounding
woodlands, which they protect from poachers in search of ginseng, goldenseal and the
mushrooms that sprout after rain.

The group's goal of self-sufficiency has had to be revised. While two families survive through
artistic endeavors, several members go into nearby Bloomington to work: as a nurse, a
school teacher, a dance instructor.

There have been differences within the community — some members are Buddhists, others
Protestants or followers of American Indian religions. And neighbors have finally overcome
their fears of orgies or debauchery in the commune. May Creek survives, largely thanks to
its members' love of a simpler country life. "If I had to live in town again," said Heather Jones,
32, "I don't think I could stand it."