Guest Post: Before “Cohousing”

Today’s post was written by one of our founding members, Caroline. 

Of all of us, she has probably the longest history with intentional communities so it seemed good to let her story be first.  

Please note that any text in italics is mine, whereas the plain text is Caroline’s.

In 1945 my parents helped a small group of progressive people found an “intentional community” in Chester County, outside of Philadelphia, called Tanguy Homesteads.

Thanks, Daily Mail, but not that Tan Guy!

The founders were mostly Quaker and largely white, but their goal was to be both interreligious and interracial.

This is what I think communists build!                    (Photo credit: Matt Bateman, Flickr)

They pooled their resources and bought a 200-acre farm, leased each family a 2-acre lot, and had community potlucks, folk dances and business meetings in the “Big House” — the locals apparently thought Tanguy folks were communists!

Pretty soon we had dug a community pond for swimming and skating in season, and there was a lot of Co-Op childcare in parenting. Eventually one family began a small automatically ratcheting wrench business that employed several other families’ members.

Our family were Associate Member for years, because we already owned some land nearby, but after my father‘s untimely death, my mother and her six children (I was the third) moved into a new home in 1957.

sweat equity

It was “Techbuilt” (somewhat like modular housing today) and the contractor was a member of Tanguy.  We put a lot of sweat equity into that house!

I attended the local junior high for grade 8, and started going to Westown Friends (Quaker) School In grade 9. By grade 11 I was a boarding student, though my home was only 2 miles away, and then I went to college in Boston, far away. These separations meant I really didn’t have very much of an “older teenage” or young adult view of the way the Tanguy community worked, but it was a terrific place to grow up.

I do remember many shared activities (games nights, “progressive” dinners, life-saving classes in the pond, a summer youth production of West Side Story, etc.), and my best friend lived just down the road.

Valerie's Friends from Haiti
My friend down the road: I’ll walk you home and then you walk me home and then I’ll walk you home…

Not surprisingly after such a cooperative-based upbringing, I’ve often lived in shared housing. Almost always these homes were owned by me and/or my late husband, so there wasn’t a completely equal basis to decision-making.  Still, I’m used to having neighbours who do more than share the proverbial cup of sugar and I look forward to being able to really build close relationships and cooperation within Concorde.

Tanguy Homesteads, Glen Mills, Pennsylvania circa 1970.

For the record: I was a member of Terra Firma in the 90s, before I went away to do research in England & before TF actually bought the homes where it is now based. I have also been a (fairly inactive) member of Convivium.

2018’s Last Summer Social

On October 20th, several of our members and interested “explorers” went for a walk and talk at the future site of the Botanical Garden of Canada.

Canadensis, is, like us, still in the early stages, so it will be exciting to see how it progresses, as it was a wonderful place for a Concorde Social .  It lines up perfectly with one of the preferences our group first united upon:   Urban With Nearby Nature.  

That means that while we love to be surrounded by flowers and leaves and rivers and sheep…

Shameless plug: Canadensis is right across the street from the Agriculture Museum, which I use my kid as an excuse to visit so often the newspaper took this picture!

….we still want to live in the city, with public transportation, walkable  errands and the spectrum of cuisines and cultural activities associated with an urban setting.

So, as I said, the Canadensis walk was perfect for us: free, no car required,  (though admittedly, it’s a bit of a trek from the closest bus stop) beautiful nature. some cultural displays and a picnic.  (Because it wouldn’t be a Concorde event without Somebody Sharing Something Scrumptious!)

Unfortunately, since October isn’t actually summer,  the picnic was while we were standing and we didn’t get to put our toes in the grass.

Still, despite a drizzly grey morning, it turned into a beautiful day and it gave one of our members, Jake, a chance to tell us about helping to build Canadensis a sun structure earlier this year.  He said it was like putting an egg carton together in the sky.  That makes a bit more sense once you’ve seen a picture, but all I have is this picture of Jake.



I’m looking forward to checking on their progress and using the picnic shelter for a proper sit-down picnic next year.

Maybe you, dear reader, will join us?






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Welcome to the new website of Concorde Cohousing.

Concorde Cohousing is a forming “co-housing” group in Ottawa Canada.

This website is currently under construction. (June 2018)

The rest of the website (especially an “about us” page, will be filled out as soon as we can get it done. In the meantime use the Contact page to reach us, or come out to an event.