Pilot Town at Navy Cove: Unplanned Utopia
Glass, William j
Samuels, Kathryn L
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Pilot Town is a former commune-style settlement in Alabama that began around the 1830s. This community, described by many as utopian, consisted of generations of outer bar boat pilots and their families. For nearly a century this community occupied a small peninsula and cove near the mouth of the Mobile Bay before being destroyed by a hurricane in 1906. What makes Pilot Town utopian? And how does it compare to the various utopian settlements attempted in the United States during the same time period? Several more well-known utopian case studies are explored further here to better understand what defines a utopia and why the lower Alabama pilot village is thought of in this way. This research reviews and analyzes the archival record, collaborates with the descendant community, and includes a review of the existing archaeological record to achieve a more comprehensive understanding of Pilot Town as a utopia.