Hood County Texas Genealogical Society
TOWARD A HISTORY OF KRISTENSTAD
The community of Kristenstad, Hood County, Texas, has been widely perceived as a utopian experiment of the 1930's. The undeniable similarities between nineteenth century utopian models and Kristenstad led historians and area residents alike to believe the settlement was indeed an anachronism. However, numerous characteristics attributed to the settlement by the news media were merely romanticized accounts of circumstances surrounding the real estate development of John B. Christensen.
Other attempts to describe the socio-economic nature of Kristenstad resulted in its being labeled a Communist community, a tiny kingdom, a Mennonite settlement and a Danish colony. Christensen stridently denied any socialistic, communistic or utopian connection or intent. Therefore, a survey of the origin and application of the various labels associated with this venture is essential to a clear understanding of the historic significance of Kristenstad.
The educational background of John B. Christensen, his previous business activities, his social, political and economic philosophy as revealed in many published articles, all point to the conclusion that Kristenstad was a capitalistic venture. While the colorful personality of Christensen can readily be seen in the development, it is also obvious that many of the dreams of previous owners of the Hood County property, as well as other prominent figures in history, have been superimposed upon the real John B. Christensen, projecting an image of the man and his project that is far from accurate.
The eager acceptance of the saga of Kristenstad reflects the important role history plays in shaping our lives. Suffering misery and defeat during the Depression of the 1930's, the people sought relief from unlikely sources. In searching for a solution to their dilemma, they were prompted to reexamine social experiments of the past. Although abandoned in the mid-thirties, the widely circulated stories of Kristenstad provided a ray of hope; and for a brief span of time, this unusual community drew national attention and acclaim.
November 15, 1978
Copyright 1978 by Vaudrene R. Smith Hunt. Written permission granted to the Hood County Genealogical Society for reproduction to its Internet web site.
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