Latitude / Longitude:
429 ft (131 m)
Central (CST) (UTC-6)
La Réunion was a utopian socialist community formed in 1855 by French, Belgian, and Swiss colonists on the south bank of the Trinity River in central Dallas County, Texas (US). The colony site is a short distance north of Interstate 30 near downtown Dallas. The founder of the community, Victor Prosper Considerant, was a French democratic socialist who directed an international movement based on Fourierism, a set of economic, political, and social beliefs advocated by French philosopher François Marie Charles Fourier. Fourierism subsequently became known as a form of utopian socialism.
Initially, plans for the colony were loosely structured by design as it was Considerant’s intent to make it a “communal experiment administered by a system of direct democracy.” The crux of the plan was to allow participants to share in profits derived from capital investments and the amount and quality of labor performed. La Réunion existed for only eighteen months with its demise attributable to financial insolvency, a shortage of skilled participants, inclement weather, inability to succeed at farming, and rising costs. On January 28, 1857, Allyre Bureau, one of the society leaders, gave formal notice of the colony’s dissolution. By 1860, what remained was incorporated into the expanding city of Dallas.
The last La Réunion house collapsed in the 1930s, and its ruins are now obscured by thick vegetation. Reunion Tower, a Dallas landmark, was named after the colony and is located a few miles east of where La Réunion once existed.
Shortly before the demise of La Réunion, botanist and pharmacist Jacob Boll arrived and taught Julien Reverchon. The latter man became celebrated in his own right as a professor of botany at Baylor University College of Medicine and Pharmacy in Dallas. The first brewery and butcher shops in Dallas were established by former colonists from La Réunion; Maxime Guillot opened a carriage factory that operated for 50 years.