They patented a bowling pin setter machine (They had a bowling alley on colony grounds), made a steering mechanism for ships, discovered a way to preserve the purple color in grape juice when it was frozen, (it normally would lose it's color during the freezing process) and were the first to make the waffle cone.
Hometown Secret: House of David
“These are all the films I had done over the last 20 years with interviews with House of David members," Chris Siriano says as he points to a desk full of DVD's and CDs.
Chris Siriano helped produce a documentary, "A Compelling Curiosity: The Israelite House of David," and has a museum with over 20,000 pieces of House of David history.
“When I interviewed them, a lot of them had changed their faith, but a lot of them felt like it was a fairy tale place to live.”
A place that Siriano believes transformed local history.
“Southwest Michigan’s really lucky Benjamin chose to plant roots here," adds Siriano. "They built a Roman Empire in Michigan."
Today, only a handful of members remain. Three are left in the original House of David where a major renovation is underway. Thousands of dollars are being spent to refurbish the Shiloh building, which is listed on the Register of National Historic Places. The project is in anticipation of the 2nd coming of Christ. The once very public friendly colony is now very private. "No Trespassing" signs are up, and gawkers are often shood away.
At Mary’s City of David, Ron Taylor is one of only two members remaining. He runs the day-to-day operations, which include maintaining rental properties and some farming businesses. He also oversees the colony’s museum and offers tours and presentations.
Taylor, who received a degree in fine arts before joining the colony 38 years ago, says he’s never regretted his decision to join.
“I found it very comfortable.”
And he too awaits the "Ingathering" and return of Christ.
“The 2nd coming is a pretty big thing." "And you think it’s going to be soon?" Bohn asks. "I think we’re real close.”
Taylor says signs indicate the 2nd coming could occur within the next ten years.
But if it doesn't and there are no members left, it is likely and expected the state of Michigan would get the properties.
The colonies are also credited with creating some interesting things.