The Ardens

The Ardens, Delaware, United States

  • Last updated: December 30, 2015 (1 year ago)
  • Listing created on: June 15, 2012

Mission Statement

Historic Village

Community Description

The Ardens are three historic communities in Northern Delaware, about a mile from the Pennsylvania state line. The original village, Arden, was founded in 1900, as a land trust based on Henry George’s Single Tax principles, and inspired by the Arts and Crafts Movement and the land use policies of the Garden Cities movement.
From these earliest beginnings, it has flourished as a haven for artists and dreamers of all kinds, adding the villages of Ardentown (1922), and Ardencroft (1950). Each generation of residents has contributed to a vibrant artistic and community venue, where the arts are considered a birthright of everyone. Although the villages are independent governments, the community functions as a whole.
Important community organizations include the Arden Club, which has activity gilds ranging from Folk Dance to Swim to the Scholar’s Gild, and which sponsors an annual fair, the Saturday of Labor Day weekend, showcasing community talents and fundraising to support the converted barn that houses the club. The Dinner Gild operates a community dinner every Saturday during the winter, and various performance gilds continue the traditions of theatre and music, particularly Gilbert and Sullivan and Shakespeare, that have been with the town since its inception. The Arden Community Recreation Association, or ACRA, sponsors events throughout the year, from a community camp to holiday parties and a house and garden tour.
Famous present and former residents include artists, performers and political activists far too numerous to mention, but Arden has been a home to political activists Mother Bloor, founder of the US Communist party, Upton Sinclair, and Scott Nearing, to artists who have included Edward Loper and Rick Rothrock, as well as to performing artists including dancer Bea Bell, actress Barbara BelGeddes and actor Tony Perkins.
To live in the Ardens only requires finding a place to do so, and, while most of the housing is single-family owner-occupied, there are rental properties. If you purchase a house you purchase the house, only, all land is held in trusts and assessed according to Georgist principles. However, participating in the community does not require residence… membership in the Arden Club is open to all for a nominal membership fee. Other than artist studios and theatres there is little or no commercial development, but as the villages are now surrounded by suburbs, many residents commute to work or school in Wilimington or Philadelphia.

The villages are listed on the National Historic Register for their utopian vision and community organization, but no vision of utopia is achieved without struggle. Well into our second century, we continue to work together to try to solve the issues of justice and economic parity that concerned our founders, striving to balance the expectations of residents both longtime and new-come, without reenacting the power relationships of the larger society. As the surrounding area has changed, the challenges of this have changed as well, but as long as we commit to the process, we can still lay claim to our history.

  • Status: Established (At least 4+ adults, 2+ years)
  • Started Planning: 1895
  • Start Living Together: 1900
  • Visitors accepted: Yes
  • Open to new Members: Yes
  • Please read the details in Membership below before contacting this community. Send Message
  • Website address:
  • Community Address:
    2119 The Highway
    The Ardens, Delaware, 19810
    United States
  • Location


  • Type(s): Cohousing (individual homes within group owned property), Unspecified, or Other
  • Location: Suburban


  • Status: We have land we have developed on
  • Current Residence Types: Single-family homes, Multi-family homes, Room(s) in a house or building, Tiny house
  • Housing Provided: Purchase, Rental
  • Land owned by: Community controlled land trust
  • Additional Comments:

    The land is held in trust, individual homes are private. There are no guest facilities, but the villages are close to conventional hotels, etc. No camping or overnight parking is provided or permitted for vistors.


  • Adult Members: 971
  • Visitors accepted: Yes
  • Visitor Process:

    The village of Arden motto is “You are welcome hither”. There is no housing provided by the community.

  • Open to new Members: Yes
  • Membership Process:

    Anyone who buys or rents a house here becomes a member of the community, with voting rights. People interested in participating in community events through the Arden Club may do so, without being resident. See the Arden Club website for more information.


  • Decision Making: Voting (majority or super-majority rule)
  • Identified Leader: No
  • Leadership Core Group: No
  • Additional Comments:

    Several, lol

    Town meeting


  • Dues, Fees, or Shared Expenses: Yes
  • Shared Income: None
  • Required Labor Contribution: No
  • Additional Comments:

    Community services are provided through the “Single Tax” on land, as per Georgist principles. Other than that, you are free to remain in your house and do nothing, but you get what you give.

Sustainability Practices

  • Energy Infrastructure: We are connected to the grid.
  • Current food produced: 0%, or close to 0%
  • Planned food produced: 0%, or close to 0%


  • Cell Phone Service: Good for most people.
  • Dietary Choice or Restrictions: No – people may eat however they wish.
  • Special Diets OK: Yes
  • Additional Diet Comments:

    As a community composed of private residences, there are no formal rules for community diet, however, vegetarianism is common, and respect for special dietary needs considered a matter of politeness.

  • Education Style(s): Public Schooling
  • Expected Healthcare Practices:

    We are fully in a developed area with both public and private school options, as well as some homeschooling. Choices for school are not community issues.

  • Healthcare Options: Up to each family or individual

Photo Gallery


Delaware, Historic, National Register of Historic Places, Single Tax, environmental, arts, Henry Geo