Llano Del Rio

This past fall I visited the Llano Del Rio (1914-1919) socialist ruins. Following the defeat for Mayor of LA in 1913, attorney activist Job Harriman, along with some friends, purchased the water rights to a 2,000-acre plot in the Mojave Desert and founded Llano Del Rio. The group grew to over 1,000 members. Although Harriman sought to establish a socialist utopia, he realized that he was still operating within a capitalist society. To join the colony, each member was required to purchase 2,000 shares. Instead of attempting to reform society at large, he felt that creating a functioning socialist colony within a capitalist society would help sway society towards socialist values. The site was planned by Alice Constance Austin, a feminist architect, who devised a circular city plan which included schools, administrative and recreation buildings, kitchenless houses, communal daycare areas, built-in furniture and heated tile floors, all designed to reduce the domestic work done by women.