One and a half miles from Motor was the sister town of Communia.  Because Communia was so close, the two towns shared many resources. When James Crosby applied for a Post Office at Motor, it was denied because there was already a post office at Communia. The towns shared a schoolhouse that was located between the two towns on the south side of the Motor Bridge part way up the hill. The towns also shared the cemetery at Communia. Communia also supplied some of the skilled craftsmen and stone masons who helped build the town of Motor and the Mill.

Communia was founded much earlier than Motor as a German Commune. It was designed to model the "Community Colony" movement that was popular in New York and St. Louis at the time. Nine Germans and one Frenchman set off in 1847 with Joseph Venus who led them by steamboat from St. Louis north to search for an area to fulfill their vision of a cooperative settlement. The stopped at Dubuque to stock up on provisions before setting off for the center of Clayton County.

The Original Founders:

  • Joseph Venus - Blacksmith
  • Fredrick Meister - only lasted 2 months - returned to become a banker in St. Louis
  • Jacob Ponsar - Tailor - his son became one of the millers at Motor in its later years
  • Henry Babe - Carpenter
  • Frederick Lochsen - brewer
  • Carl Reger - Cooper - ended up in Galena, IL
  • Carl Hoen - Blacksmith
  • John Hofstedter - Druggist
  • Frederick Koenig - Dentist
  • Issac Nagel - Tailor - Frenchman

The colony built three log houses and a blacksmith shop on the 1400 acres they purchased at $1.25 an acre. Then they added a frame house, brickyard, and a lime kiln.

John (Johan) Enderes, nailsmith, Joined the Colony that November and brought the first women to the settlement, Mrs. Eliza Ponsar and her Grandmother. Mrs. Ponsar had the first baby the following year, Herman Ponsar.

The "Community Colony" was officially organized in 1850, and elected a president, Venus, as well as a secretary and a treasurer.   Members who wished to join were asked to pool their resources in the general fund and all were required to work and provide for the community together. Each worked his or her own trade part of the time and everyone pitched in together to work the farm.

Official Members on record in 1850 were:

(original members in bold)

  • Joseph Venus
  • Johan Enderes
  • T. Nagel (Issac)
  • Jacob Ponsar
  • K. Kopp (Cornelius)
  • Fred Weis (B F Weis)
  • H. Pape
  • Lewis Weinel
  • Johhan Taftz
  • Michael Baumann (Bramme)
  • Joseph Gremper (Gremfer)
  • W. Krisinger.

Only a few of the original founders were still around at this time and the community was evolving. Eventually the commune dissolved, the land was sold at auction, and those members who stayed purchased property individually.  Even though the Colony only lasted as a commune until 1858, many of the people stayed and town of Communia endured.  Communia was also known well into the 1900's for it's popular dance hall called Turner Hall,  George Meyer's general store, and a repair shop.

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