William Hope Harvey


For a few years he threw all his furious prophet’s energy into laying out highways for the state, and then, in 1924, in hopes of rekindling his old success, he brought out Paul’s School of Statesmanship , which, he promised, “discloses the most important discovery relating to civilization and the human race that has ever been made in all the history of the world.” People didn’t listen.

Six years later he published a last work, which he called, with the serene simplicity of the zealot, The Book . Again, nobody paid heed, but Harvey didn’t care. He had plans. The Book was to be included along with Paul’s School of Statesmanship in a pyramid 40 feet square at its base and 130 feet high, which would be built at Monte Ne of Portland cement strong enough to last a million years. When the slow dust of centuries had brought the ground level up to the very top, people would see there a plaque: “When this can be read, go below and find the cause of the death of a former civilization.”

He actually began work on this great monument but gave up when he found he would have to raise one hundred thousand dollars. He did, however, complete what he called the foyer, a strange scattering of stone and concrete hummocks.

In 1932, as his dire forecasts of national financial collapse at last seemed on the verge of coming true, he ran for President on the “Liberty party” ticket. He got eight hundred votes.

He lived until 1937, fully four decades after his moment of national prominence. But even at the end, he wasn’t totally forgotten. His “foyer” became something of a tourist attraction. More and more visitors drove up to Monte Ne, wandered through the broken jumble of masonry, and paid a small admission fee to a slender, clear-eyed old man who liked to lecture them about financial reform.