Harmony in the 21st Century
In 1909, the International Magazine of Industry published an edition called “Illustrated Butler County Watch Us Grow”. In the magazine, it referred to Zelienople and Harmony as “the Gems of the Connoquenessing Valley.” As we start the 21st century, one could expand Harmony’s title to “the Gem of Butler County.”
Today, as Butler County works to develop tourism as one of its major economic forces, Harmony is the crown jewel of the county’s heritage.Thanks to the borough’s historic zoning ordinances, Harmony is preserving its past while surrounding communities are seeing their past disappear under the bulldozer of progress.
Southern Butler County is expanding at a rapid pace. Places that were once country are rapidly becoming 500 unit plans. Harmony has become an island of “what was” in a sea of “what will be.” People are anxious to move into Harmony to be a part of a community, not where “the resale value is the highest.”
Because of Harmony’s quaint atmosphere, the town’s business community has evolved into one focused on the arts, antiques, and gift shops. Currently, the town boasts two music shops and a dance studio.During the summer, the business association conducts a series of free concerts in an attempt to bring more people to the town.
According to the 2000 census, Harmony Borough has 937 residents. This is a decline from its 1990 level of 1054. The decline is largely attributed to an aging population where the children have grown and the average household size has shrunk. A proposed development on the north side of the Connoquenessing as well as an influx of younger residents is expected to raise the Borough’s population before the next census is taken.
In many ways, the Harmony of 2004 is a far different place than the Harmony of 1804. No longer part of the frontier; today’s Harmony is connected to the rest of the world via fiber optic cable TV and high speed internet access. However the drive that led a group of German immigrants to clear the wilderness land and build this town initially can still be found in today’s residents who show the same determination to preserve it for the next 100 years.