During the 1800s, various reforms were taking place in the United States. Ideas such as transcendentalism and utopian communities came to express themselves. One of these utopian communities was known as Brook Farm. Established in 1841, it lasted until 1846. It was located in Roxbury, Massachusetts on a 175 acre area of land. Founded by a Unitarian minister, George Ripley, the community was comprised of those who doubted the Unitarian Church, and those who came to be known as transcendentalist intellectuals. Their society was centered upon the creation of "a more natural union between intellectual and manual labor." It was a great success intellectually, however, they suffered from financial difficulties after losing their main building to a fire. After their central building was destroyed, the community was forced to disband. To this day, it remains a model of mid-19th century utopianism.
The Hive was the central building from community gatherings. It burned down only a few years after the community's establishment--which ultimately led to Brook Farm's demise.
Margaret Fuller, a feminist writer, was the model for Nathaniel Hawthorne's book based on the Brook Farm experiment.