New documentary highlights history of House of David commune
ST. JOSEPH, Mich. -- A documentary thirty years in the making on the history of the House of David is being shown in select theaters in Michiana.
House of David: Life Everlasting focuses on the history of the religious community known as the House of David which flourished in Benton Harbor the early 1900s.
The commune attracted thousands of converts and millions of customers to their booming fruit markets, hotels, cottages and an amusement park.
House of David are best known for their baseball team, which attracted attention from major leaguers like Babe Ruth and Satchel Paige and helped break the color barrier in professional baseball.
After a sex scandal and division in the community its membership eventually dwindled to nothing.
Chris Siriano has dedicated over 30 years of his life engrossing himself in the history of the House of David and now has partnered with Moondog Productions to put together a feature length documentary drawing on interviews with historians and authors and using pictures from the House of David archives.
“I think it’s the biggest piece of history that Michigan holds by far,” said Siriano. “I’ve acquired so much as far as artifacts and paper information and pieces, and I was told this story by the people right from the House of David when they were still alive and now it’s important for me to share it now that they’re gone.”
Despite the scandals that drove the community into extinction, Siriano believes that by telling the community’s story, a lesson in positivity can be learned.
“For thirty years, I’ve been very cautious, but we just lay it out there and tell the truth,” said Siriano. “Thirty-five million people visited the House of David park without violence, without bad things happening, leaving happy and with a beautiful experience.”
The documentary is the first part of what Siriano hopes to be a ten-part series that will ultimately tell the full story of the House of David.
House of David: Life Everlasting is currently available through the House of David Museum in St. Joseph and it’s being screened throughout Michiana in the month of July.
For more information on screenings, click here.