Israelite House of David
Based on the teachings of the Christian Israelite tradition begun by Joanna Southcott in England in 1792, Benjamin and Mary Purnell founded the House of David communal religious community in Benton Harbor in 1903. At its peak the colony had one thousand members, including artists, businessmen, and inventors. During the 1920s the colony used Michigan's growing auto tourism industry to fund its development. One of the largest landowners in southwest Michigan, it operated prize-winning farms, an amusement park with miniature trains, an ice cream parlor, and a zoo. The House of David baseball teams, with there long hair and beards, were popular fixtures on the national barnstorming circuit in the 1920s and 1930s.