And More Unidentified Photographs

Many thanks to all the people who contributed identifications for the photographs in the previous post. Your help was invaluable.

Here are the rest from the glued-together batch. You can expect to see other batches of unidentified photos in months to come.


Dated November 21, 1966


Dated April 24, 1969

11-14-16_12_w 11-14-16_16_w 11-14-16_17_w 11-14-16_18_83_w 11-14-16_19_w 11-14-16_20_w 11-14-16_22_w 11-14-16_23_w 11-14-16_25_w 11-14-16_26_w

Posted in Artifacts | 4 Comments

More Unidentified Photographs

These photographs also came from boxes collected by Mary E. Morgan. The particular challenge with this group is that they had become stuck together, and the process of separating them was not entirely successful, so there will be some damaged areas.

Only one – the National Honor Society – had any kind of identification, and only a few had associated dates. Those identified from the 80s had the date handwritten on the reverse, and the ones associated with the 60s had the date printed on the border (but, as someone pointed out, that means only that the photograph was developed on that date).

If anyone can identify any of the people or occasions, we would be grateful for your help.


Dated April 11, 1966


Dated May 10, 1966


Dated October 9, 1965


Dated November 4, 1969


“National Honor Society 1982”

11-14-16_02_w 11-14-16_03_w 11-14-16_06_w 11-14-16_07_w 11-14-16_08_w 11-14-16_09_w 11-14-16_13_w 11-14-16_15_w


Posted in Artifacts | 11 Comments

Historical Society’s Special Image

Recently batik artist Robin Zimmerman was commissioned to make an image from a vintage photograph if the Cascades in Glen Helen for the Yellow Springs Historical Society to use on items to sell at Street Fair and other events.


Posted in Artifacts | Tagged , | Leave a comment

The Class of 1942 Gives and Bequeaths…

In another page from the Bryannual reproduction donated by Phyllis Jackson, the members of the graduating class draw up a “class will.” How much longer did the practice of a class will last, and if it were drawn up today, what kind of qualities would be bequeathed?

bryan-1942_class-will bryan-1942_ident_wCLASS WILL

We, the class of 1942 of Bryan High School, in the village of Yellow Springs, County of Greene, State of Ohio, do hereby give and bequeath our most cherished possessions to those persons who are not as fortunate as we.

I, Charlotte Adams, give and bequeath my small voice to Mary Lou Bertrand.

I, Edith Fink, give and bequeath my ability to play a saxophone to Maurice Pemberton, with the hope he’ll use it.

I, Melvin Onderdonk, give and bequeath my nicely combed hair to Joe Holly.

I, Peggy, Riegel, give and bequeath a blessing to the Junior class. (They need it)

I, Phyllis Lawson, give and bequeath my leadership ability to Helen Geis.

I, Bill Alexander, give and bequeath my driving technique to Frederick Schaub.

I, Lois Buchanan, give and bequeath my fine cheer-leading form to Jeannie Liddle.

I, Mary Adams, give and bequeath the Editorship of the Chitter Chat to Eric Baklanoff, with the hope that he will get all the cooperation from the classes to make it a success.

I, Bob Morgan, give and bequeath my basketball technique to Bob Trauer.

I, Patty Williams, give and bequeath my golden hair to Rosalyn Kennedy.

I, Dick Kershner, give and bequeath nothing, for I am taking everything with me.

I, Martha Walker, give and bequeath my college boys (except one) to Wanda Snyder.

I, Mary Tibbs, give and bequeath my book bag to Victor Cordell to love, cherish, and protect.

I, Jack Semler, give and bequeath my opinion and myself and my quiet ways to Brice Limiing.

I, Janet Clutter, give and bequeath my vocal ability to Gloria Arkatov.

I, Charlotte Drake, give and bequeath my lovely black hair to Ann Reed.

I, Keith Carpenter, give and bequeath my dancing technique to Frank Riley.

I, Barbara Figgins, would give and bequeath my knowledge of cookery, but I feel that I may need it later on.

I, Betty Shellhaas, give and bequeath my fastness with the boys to the Seventh grade girls.

I, Jack Shook, give and bequeath my “porky” hair cut to Eric Baklanoff.

I, James Lawson, give and bequeath my laugh to Albert Young.

I, Phyllis Mathiasen, give and bequeath my height to Gene Diehl and my good grades to Bob Mathiasen.

I, Caroline Gray, give and bequeath “Giggles” to whoever wants it.

I, Ralph Grimes, give and bequeath my great knowledge of current events to Ernest Lewis.

I, Geraldine Douglas, give and bequeath my shortness to Paul Matson.

I, Grace Fitzgerald, give and bequeath my pretty page boy to Jeannie Liddle.

I, Elton Arment, give and bequeath my good (???) study habits to Bill Fulton with my compliments.

I, Eileen Crawford, give and bequeath my knowledge of history (especially dates) to Ray Fink.

I, Francis Dannaker, give and bequeath my nickname, “Dutch,” to Billy Donley.

I, Eloise Workman, give and bequeath my great love and skill at basketball to Wilma Lewis.

I, Mary James, give and bequeath my typing ability to Tommy Owen.

I, Harold Grinnell, give and bequeath my way with the fairer sex to Rico Federighi.

I, Anna Wilson, give and bequeath my detention to Rodney Alexander with my best wishes.

I, Charles Hull, give and bequeath my knack of getting to school on time (by 12:00 noon) to the Trollinger boys.

We, the Senior class, give and bequeath our talented abilities in basketball, our cooperation, our good grades, our orderly class meetings, and our name to the Junior class.

We, the Senior boys, give and bequeath to our sister class, the Sophomores, our good natures and sweet dispositions, our good detention records, and our good sportsmanship.

We, the Senior class, give and bequeath our faith, hope, and charity to the Freshman class.

We, the Senior class, give and bequeath our fancy hair-dos, our art of shooting paper wads, and our orderly classes, to the Seventh and Eighth grades.

IN WITNESS THEREOF, we have hereunto set our hands to this, our last will and testament at Bryan this 21st day of May, in the year of our Lord, 1942.






Posted in Artifacts | Tagged | Leave a comment

Why They Came — pages 12 – 17

(Previous entries here, here and here)

Page 12

Page 12


Page 13


Page 14


Page 15


Page 16


Page 17


William Mills was married in 1840 and about this time built the first brick house in the village. In 1842 he began construction of his own home, the present Mills House. Originally it had two stories, the third being added by the Means family which bought the property years later. Mills father objected to his son building a fine house in a swamp where water was often three feet deep, but later approved when the land was drained and landscaped. An ornate fence surrounded Mills House until the 90’s.

Mills platted the village in 1853. The original plat is shown here, and opposite the Julius Cone map of 1855. They indicate how the basic plan of the town has not been changed greatly in more than a century.

Plans for Antioch College were made as early as 1850 by the Christian Church, one of the pioneer s in coeducation. At a meeting in Enon, Ohio, January 21, 1852, Yellow Springs was chosen as the site. There is no doubt that Mills’ gift of 20 acres, his personal pledge of $20,000 and the pledges totaling $10,000 which he obtained from other Yellow Springs citizens were responsible for bringing the college to the town.

Mills also brought Horace Mann to Antioch. Mann’s high aims and personal dedication to his work as Antioch’s first president are expressed in his words: “I think that moulding of youthful minds and manners is the noblest work that men or angels could do.”

The earliest photograph of Antioch at the right is dated 1860, but is believed to have been taken earlier. Examination of the original shows students planting trees.

At the left is reproduced a portrait of William Mills, made in his earlier years, and left above, a photograph of Horace Mann.

A letter from Mrs. Mann dated October 8, 1853, to her father, Dr. Peabody, gives a vivid picture of the time. Following are excerpts:

“The 5th, the inaugural took place, and we had quite a day of it, I assure you. Three thousand people were upon the ground. They arrived the night before in such numbers that they had to sleep in their carriages! We sat down with 200 in Col. Mills’ summer dining room. The next morning at nine o’clock they examined 150 scholars—40 went away for want of accommodations—today new ones came in and they say there will be 100 more on Monday . . . (in the audience) thee were a great many fine looking men—any number of Christian ministers—many hundred thousand dollar farmers—a motley multitude that would have made a splendid show if their costumes had been as brilliant as they were varied.” A photograph of Mrs. Mann is shown above.

Prior to 1825, schools were private ventures, the teachers being dependent on patrons. In that year the township trustees established four school districts, which by 1849 had nearly 700 children of school age. The present Hackett house on Elm Street, built in 1847, is believed to be the first brick school building in town.

The early photograph at the right is from a stereo view showing a portion of Dayton Street south of the railroad tracks.

The high hopes of Judge Mills and Horace Mann were short-lived. During the panic of 1857, Mills was driven to tak bankruptcy and all his property was sold. The college was reorganized and its debts were paid in 1859, but it was forced to close for one year during the Civil War.

At the right: and advertisement in the “Free Presbyterian,” April 4, 1855. Below: a receipted bill showing the three-story agricultural implement building in Yellow Springs, located at the site of the Science Building. Bottom: lime kilns across tracks from campus, started in 1848, operated until 1890.

Posted in Artifacts | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Town Lost and Found

Ted and Becky Campbell recently shared a photocopy of an article written about 1963 (in the article (Kruschev was premier, and Arthur Morgan’s age was given as 85) giving a profile of Yellow Springs at the time and written by Martha Duncan, a resident who had some professional writing success.

The article’s source is unknown (although it appears to be some sort of magazine), as is the illustrator providing the sketches. There is also a small chunk torn away from the last page. If anyone knows the magazine from which it came or can provide the missing words, it would be most helpful.

Which qualities have we lost since the article was printed, and which have we retained? Are there any lessons to be derived?



I live in the contrariest town in America, and love it. So do most of the other 4,365 citizens of Yellow Springs, Ohio, where the offbeat is ordinary, the customary is always challenged, and controversy is the principal amusement.

In Yellow Springs, you never know what is going to cause the next civic explosion, but you can be sure you won’t have to wait long to find out, and that the ensuing fracas will be absurdly satisfying to all concerned. Ours is a town where concern is felt about every public issue, where all shades of opinion thrive and where an incredible 90 per cent of the citizens vote.

Our townspeople are vigorously opinionated on every subject from garbage collection schedules to ban-the-bomb negotiations, and they never hesitate to let everybody, including the President of the United States and Premier Kruschev, have the benefit of their advice. Throw out a provocative idea along Main Street and somebody will likely form a picket line to denounce you as a menace; somebody else will call a mass meeting to praise your wisdom, and a third party will write a letter to our weekly newspaper stoutly defending your right to express your ideas, no matter how nutty.

Yellow Springs looks about like any other overgrown rural crossroads among the cornfields, pastures and woodlands of Ohio. Our village fathers never offered a penny’s worth of tax relief or a foot of land to attract new business. One freight train a day passes the empty railroad station, and a bus schedule can be found only by inquiring at the village bakery.

But our citizens have originated and developed a profusion of small industries and other businesses turning out almost 20 million dollars worth of products a year. They make synthetic rubber compounds, stained glass windows, bicycle radios, electronic stop watches, designs for better space suits.

Our village manager and five-man council pinch every tax penny and pursue rigidly conservative fiscal policies that give rise to fearful struggles over balancing the budget. Yet, in a manner that would be shockingly socialistic if it were not so profitable to taxpayers, the village buys electric power wholesale and retails it over its own transmission lines. This nets us revenue that keeps municipal accounts a lovely shade of black.

Such contrasts and contradictions are about par for the course in Yellow Springs. Our streets are so dreadful that motorists sometimes cut across vacant lots for a smoother ride. We suffer an appalling shortage of sidewalks. But Yellow Springs is one of the few places in the world where all of Shakespeare’s plays were ever produced professionally by one man. It took the noted Shakespearean producer, Arthur Lithgow, five seasons to realize his life-time dream, but they were enchanted summers for our town.

Politics? We’ve got all kinds. Our weekly paper, The Yellow Springs News, is jointly owned and harmoniously operated by a Republican, a Democrat and a Socialist. There are times when our town is described as a hotbed of radicals, but the fact is that at least half of our voters are registered Republicans and they have swept two out of the last three Presidential elections.

There’s one other contrast I would like to mention. Our citizens range from dirt farmers to old, conservative families to successful businessmen to intellectuals and on to uninhibited sculptors and artists. The density of Ph.D.’s in our population is ridiculously high, including a battalion of about 150 research scientists in fields as widely disparate as animal psychology and astrophysics.

“I never think of going out of town to hire an expert consultant,” a leading industrialist said recently. “I just pick up the telephone and call a neighbor. There’s always someone here who knows the answers to technical and scientific problems.” This has led to numerous profitable industrial innovations.

Now that I’ve given a ve ry sketchy idea of what our town is, I had better explain why it’s  that way. Why, for example, is Yellow Springs besieged by people with profitable ideas?

Ask the president of Morris Bean & Co. (aluminum castings grossing five million dollars a year), or the president of Vernay Laboratories (chemical and engineering research and precision molded synthetic rubber parts, grossing 4-1/2 million dollars), or the president of Yellow Springs Instrument Co. (electronic equipment and research), and you’ll get the same answer:

“We’re here because of the college.”

“The college” is Antioch, a liberal arts institution which Professor George G. Stern of Syracuse University rated one of the top eleven in intellectual climate of 67 colleges studied in a recent survey. Stern’s criteria, including “high energy level,” “free discussion” and “community commitment,” describe Yellow Springs about as well as they describe Antioch. This similarity is no accident.

In 1921, Yellow Springs was stagnant town and Antioch, whose first president was American educator Horace Mann, found itself broke and dying. Then Arthur E. Morgan, an engineer with little formal education, became president of the college. It was just the job he wanted. He had long held two unusual theories about the development of business and intellectual life in America. The college and the town gave him tow perfect guinea pigs for testing his ideas.

Under Morgan’s guidance, the college guinea pig went to market. Believing the college years were a time for learning from life itself as well as from books, Morgan required both work and study of every student. This makes it possible today for 1,700 students, skimmed from the top rank of high school seniors in every state, to attend a college that can accommodate less than 1,000. For every student in a classroom, there is another student out in the world filling a paid job. Each quarter in the year-round schedule, some students return to classes and others go out to fill jobs of every kind in all parts of the country and sometimes (under the Education Abroad Program) in distant lands. The returning students bring a rich cargo of first-hand knowledge to be shared not only with classmates and professors but with townspeople.

To test Morgan’s second theory, the town guinea pig stayed home. But it achieved changes just as drastic as those that revived the college.

“I never agreed with the idea that a community should entice industry with tax incentives and other pay-offs,” says Morgan, who has always preferred small business to specialized big business and who is still going strong at 85 as president of Community Services, Inc., an organization concerned with every aspect of community development. “The first thing is to create the proper intellectual climate. In such an environment, new enterprises can be born, develop an economic base for the town and attract other creative elements which will make the town thrive both economically and culturally. Modern technology opens up a great field for development of new industries in communities that provide an atmosphere of freedom and intellectual ferment in which to experiment.”

In the early 1920’s, the Antioch College cash drawer was empty. But the new president offered to back any promising ideas with the college’s own peculiar capital—advice, encouragement and a place to work. The available workshops weren’t much at first but the advice and encouragement were top-notch.

The results were top-notch, too. Student Morris Bean became interested in the so-called “lost wax” casting method while working in a foundry. Using college facilities, Bean and his wife developed a new method for casting aluminum, now known as the “Antioch process.” Today they employ some 400 workers making precision aluminum castings, tire molds and other products, and their staff is heavily loaded with Antioch graduates.

Working with students in the college laboratories, Sergius Vernet perfected a thermostat that is used today in almost every household washing machine, in airplanes and army tanks, many automobiles and satellites. He now employs over 200 persons, including 30 experimental and research experts who are still developing new products.

Hardy Trolander and two other former students started the Yellow Springs Instrument Co. in two college science rooms, making special equipment ranging from electronic stop watches accurate to within one ten-thousandth of a second to instruments for measuring the rate of blood flow. They struck it rich with a precision electronic timer for an Air Force bomb-scoring system, built their own plant and now employ about 50 workers. “The college was behind us,” Trolander said recently. “It is the greatest spirit for development of free enterprise.”

As a student of Antioch, Ernest Morgan got a job in a New York printing plant where he met and admired the work of Bruce Rogers and other outstanding typographers. While still a student, Morgan bought $300 worth of second-hand equipment and started the Antioch Bookplate Company in a tiny shop. He hitch-hiked through neighboring states to get dealers to handle his product, then returned to Yellow Springs to do his own printing. The first year, sales totaled $400. Two years later, when he was a senior, they were up to $1,300. Today the company employs some 25 persons, makes some 95 per cent of all book plates sold in the United States, and does around $250,000 of business a year.

Then there is Dr. Paul Webb, a pioneer in the development of space suits. “The intellectual climate of Yellow Springs is good for anybody in an unusual business like mine,” Dr. Webb explains. “Most places, an innovator is regarded as an odd ball. Here we fit into the picture.”

Meanwhile, as our town’s business babies grew up, Morgan’s second theory proved correct—the creative elements he had promised streamed into Yellow Springs. Philadelphia industrialist Samuel Fels founded his Institute for the Study of Human Development here. Charles Kettering built his Photosynthesis Research Center in Yellow Springs, and the U. S. Air Force established anthropological and behavior research projects here.

Even the traditional artists garret, when transplanted to Yellow Springs, often turned into a flourishing business. Painter Bob Metcalf developed a nationwide clientele in stained-glass windows. Artist Read Viemeister’s studio grew into an eight-man industrial design firm. Sculptor Seth Velsey called on his knowledge of stone to develop a granite surface plate (essential equipment in laboratories doing precision work) that proved superior to the traditional iron precision plate in general use. His granite plates, with a surface va[torn away] more than ten one [torn away]sandths of an inch [torn away] most of the big man[torn away]panies.

But our town’s heady [torn away] air is tempered by the [torn away]servatism of our old famil[torn away] ancestors handed down respect for hard work, fiscal  caution and rugged individualism.

This conservatism is a spirit the wise newcomer does not discount. It breaks out strongly when the taxpayer’s dollars are at stake, and our village officials will unhesitatingly take on any opponent, including the United States government, to avoid waste or extravagance. No quarter was asked in the Battle of Civil Defense after Village Manager Howard Kahoe discovered that specifications for emergency radio equipment sent out by our area’s Civil Defense authorities ruled out all but one powerful model costing more than other satisfactory equipment. He complained to area Civil Defense headquarters but was brushed off. He then borrowed a so-called “sub-standard” rig and broadcast clearly audible messages from his office to an automobile parke in front of Civil Defense Headquarters in Dayton, miles beyond the required range.

This edifying test was ignored by the Civil Defense area director but not by our town. In the following months, postmen serving the White House, Congress and the Office of Civil Defense staggered under a flood of indignant mail from Yellow Springs, Ohio. It took a year to get results but eventually the specifications drawn up by our area’s Civil Defense authorities were changed and Kahoe triumphantly purchased the less expensive equipment, saving the government of the United States (us taxpayers, thank you) the magnifict sum of $4,500.

We have plenty of battles that are confined to our own backyard but, largely due to the off-beat thinking of our citizens, we have learned how to find some surprising solutions to family fights. The long an bitter Battle of the High School Bond Issue arose when officials announced they could not afford to include funds for a vocational workshop or to equip science laboratories. Heads of firms hiring skilled workmen complained bitterly that a shop was essential to train future employees. Heads of research firms pointed out that the future supply of trained scientists depended on beginning study in high school.

The battle was hot, but the solution was simple. After both sides had fired all guns at each other, the voters bowed to fiscal integrity by passing the inadequate bond issue. Then the same voters organized a fund-raising campaign that brought in $62,400, with which they built and equipped a high school shop and furnished two excellent science laboratories.

We also fought  the Battle of the Swimming Pool in our own peculiar way. Everybody wanted a pool. But the anything-for-the-kiddies group proposed to pay for it with a bond issue. The dang-foolishness group said we couldn’t afford it. Still others said that if we had a public pool it would be overcrowded by strangers from nearby cities that don’t have pools. The hassle went on for months. Then the Jaycees came up with a gimmick. They solicited contributions for a pool that would be open only to people who lived or worked in Yelloow Springs. In no time at all, they raised $48,000, and when the pool was finished they handed it over to the village government, which runs it on a break-even basis.

At the center of village life is our prize-winning newspaper, The Yellow Springs News, which goes to 90 per cent of our homes each week from a garaged converted into a printing plant with a cluttered, countrified editor’s office. Editor Kieth A. Howard—Kieth’s father took seriously McGuffey’s rule of I before e except after c—covers village doings, editorializes on world affairs and prints letters to the editor without fear or favoritism. This is the most-read column, in which practically everybody in town old enough to write, condemns, praises and blows off steam. One letter recently expressed a suspicion that our village was oversupplied with radicals, egg-heads and crackpots.

“I seldom agree with anything Yellow Springs people do or say,” it adds, “but I hope the day never comes when anybody manages to suppress the most interesting little town in America.”


Posted in Narratives, Places | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The point of Election Day

Although probably all of kids in these photos are eligible to vote by now, they also represent the future we hope to protect by our votes.

These were taken from a large carton of unidentified photos collected over the years (mostly between the 1960s and the 1980s) by Mary E. Morgan.

If you know who any of these are, please let us know.

11-7_kids_01 11-7_kids_02 11-7_kids_03 11-7_kids_04 11-7_kids_05 11-7_kids_06 11-7_kids_07 11-7_kids_08 11-7_kids_09 11-7_kids_10 11-7_kids_11 11-7_kids_12 child_01 child_03 kids_02 kids_04 streetfairott3boys


Posted in Artifacts | Leave a comment

The Fragile Glen, Again (Unfortunately)

kids_03During these waning days of brilliant leaf color, it would be wonderful to be aware of Glen Helen only in its happier aspects, but it has sadly been polluted by political trash-talk.

For all its vastness, the Glen is subject to many injuries, both man-made and natural, and the Glen Helen Association has a land stewardship volunteer program (see “Volunteer on the Trails” at lower left of Glen Helen web page), and a Glen Helen Association membership is always welcome to assist effort to protect the Glen.

Here’s an account by Lucy Griscom Morgan from her 1947 booklet Pioneering Days at Antioch on how Glen Helen officially came to be:

Probably the most picturesque experience in my life was finding Hugh Taylor Birch. In February, 1929, my friend Sara Chambers and I decided we were too deep in “ruts.” I bought a little two-door sedan, Harris Peckham, an Antioch student, made it over so we could sleep in it, and off we went. The college badly needed money, and Arthur was in California hunting finances. Just before I left for Florida, Fressa Inman called me in and told me of a wealthy man who had all but graduated in 1869 and could help, but that the college had never been able to get the slightest response from him, and would  I try? The address she gave us was Bonnet House, Fort Lauderdale. When we arrived there I inquired for such a hotel all in vain until almost ready to give up. Then I found that he was an almost fabulous figure there, and that Bonnet House was his difficult-to-reach home. When we found it a few miles from Fort Lauderdale, a sign at the entrance warned all intruders to stay out, but we dared all and drove in along half a mile of sandy, rutty road to a lonesome gate with a little bell, far from the house, and, as I learned later, little used. I tinkled on the bell, but nothing happened. Just before my courage gave out an auto drove up behind me with a very elderly man in the back seat. Said I, “Could this be Mr. Birch?” Said he, “Could this be Mrs. Morgan? I’ve been looking for you for days.” We were made completely at home. As luck would have it, Sara Chambers and I are both truly interested in trees and plants, and neither of us is afraid of walking in wild places. That little fact probably won Mr. Birch for Antioch. He told us he knew no other women who would so wander about with him. We had a really delightful time seeing all his rare plants, and he asked us to come again, but solemnly warned me, “Never ask me to go to Yellow Springs. I was badly treated there and nothing can induce me to go back.” So I could not give the College a very helpful report.

The next summer the papers were full of the accounts of another Florida hurricane . Remembering Mr. Birch’s worries over his coconut palms, which had greatly suffered in the earlier storm, I wrote him that I hoped they were not badly hit again. My letter seemed to reawaken his interest. After he had investigated and been assured that we lived sufficiently well for him to visit us (as I heard directly), he wired me he would stop for lunch with us. In those days he was good company and really lonesome for companionship. He and Arthur found a great deal in common in their love of the out-of-doors. He liked our house (the “Morgan house” on Limestone Street), though he said it was “quite too small.” Lottie, my cook and friend, and I learned to serve him the meals he had decided on, alfalfa tea, yolks of eggs without any whites, etc., etc. Remembering his early days in the Glen as a boy and later as a student under Edward Orton (then a science teacher at Antioch, and later State Geologist, and President of Ohio State University), he conceived the plan of purchasing the Glen as a memorial to his daughter Helen, who had died a few years before. He spent a good deal of time with us as he annexed tract after tract of land along Yellow Springs Creek and the Little Miami River to complete his dream of “Glen Helen.” Almost at once he demanded “a book about it.” Allyn Swinnerton and Ondess Inman complied with good scientific descriptions. He looked them over and said, “This is not what I want.” But no one could find out what he did want, so Anona Spitler, an Antioch graduate, and I went to visit him in his summer home in Massachusetts to see if we could solve the problem. When we settled down to it, it did not take long to find that he wanted a book about Hugh Taylor Birch, and as his life had been really interesting, we got along very well writing “The Story of Glen Helen.” Then he got me to superintend building and furnishing a new home at the southern end of Glen Helen, and he settled down to enjoy it all.

To me, his story is not complete without one little incident. Some years before, soon after Arthur acquired the Yellow Springs parts of the Glen, a Mr. Bailey, of the class of ’69, president of the First National Bank of St. Paul, arranged for a little tablet by the “Wishing Spring” in memory of his wife. It was made at the Antioch Foundry and placed. We knew she had been “Kate” to Hugh Birch’s “Petruchio” back in the first Shakespeare play ever to have been presented by American college students. That was in 1869 (see the Atlantic Monthly of July, 1873), but we were not prepared for Mr. Birch’s reaction to the tablet, “What did he put that up for? She cared more for me than she did for him.” An epitome of ambition, leaving affection behind for someone else to enjoy.

In the story of Glen Helen, Mrs. Jessie Armstrong’s part must be told. She proposed to Arthur in 1926 a memorial at Antioch to her husband. The Glen had been purchased, but was still unpaid for. She said it was just the sort of thing he would have liked, and she paid for it. In 1928 when Mr.Birch wanted it, Arthur said, “But it is already given as a memorial.” Mr. Birch brushed that aside with, “Oh, let her give something else.” That did not seem to us just the proper proceeding, but we did let Mrs. Armstrong know of the proposal, and she generously said, “Surely I will let him have it.” She then gave the money for the college power plant, which though not so romantic was also a valuable asset to the college, as well as an appropriate memorial to her engineer husband. She surely won the gratitude of us all. Mrs. Orlo G. Price, who purchased the tract to the southeast of the original Glen as a memorial to her father, was similarly unselfish in relinquishing it to Mr. Birch and in using the money to establish a “faculty fund” at Antioch.

Posted in Narratives | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

We Are Always Learning…

The “Family History Sharing Bee” program hosted by the Historical Society this past Sunday proved to be a fascinating gumbo of personal mementos and items of Yellow Springs history

The personal mementos included a piece of Japanese pottery brought back by a missionary relative, a violin crafted from mail order instructions, a book of photographs of life in a concentration camp taken by someone who managed to smuggle in a camera, and those sharing these items also shared the stories attached to them.

The local history included pictures of the firetruck shown in a previous post (which turned out to be the only firetruck produced by International Harvester), a magazine article written by Yellow Springs resident Martha Duncan in the 1960s (but which could almost have been written today) describing the peculiar nature of the village, an article detailing the story of the Water Cure in the Glen, and a photocopy of a newspaper article from the Dayton Daily News in 1914 giving a detailed history of Grinnell House on Grinnell Circle (and the Grinnell Mill), portions of which are transcribed below.

Our heartfelt thanks to all who provided the mementos and stories or joined in the discussions which followed each presentation.


“The Little Miami river winds a tortuous course through this region. A chain of hills covered with magnificent forests distinguish and characterize the way of the river through the land. From the mouth to its source the Little Miami is distinguished for its lovely valleys and picturesque hills, but in the neighborhood of the village of Yellow Springs this loveliness is accentuated. There are deep ravines through which the river glides when at normal stage and foams and dashes when at flood. Great hills of limestone obtrude at intervals across the course of the river, and where this occurs there have been created cliffs and gorges marked with the most peculiar and fantastic formations. Poets have described the beauty and charm of the gorge which extends from Yellow Springs to Clifton. Springs of purest water break from the limestone banks and sparkle down the steep declivities and cliffs to the stream below. This water was found to be of such remarkable purity that its fame spread to various parts of the country before the region was selected for the seat of the institution which the early educators from Massachusetts sought to found. Distinguished people from the south sought this place as a summer residence, and there was reason to believe that a great future was in store for Yellow Springs as a health and pleasure resort for the wealthy and leisure-loving class of people.”


“Francis Grinnell selected the farm which later became his home because of the favorable location fro a residence and because the soil possessed a remarkable fertility. There was a prodigious growth of oak and maple trees. Men were employed to remove many of these in order that a farm of larger acreage might be secured. The building site which Mr. Grinnell selected was at the top of a steep hill, the slopes of which dropped to the river a hundred feet below. This slope was covered with trees and these were not molested by the choppers, whose instructions were to not touch trees growing near the spot selected for the residence. A group of fine oak trees, seven in number, were found growing in practically a straight row, almost evenly spaced. This row of handsome trees appealed to a man in charge of the choppers, and he allowed them to remain until he could receive instructions from Mr. Grinnell concerning them. When they were pointed out to Mr. Grinnell he was delighted, and rewarded the man for his good sense. The seven trees remain today as a prominent feature of the home grounds, and never fail to attract attention and admiration.”


“Upon the demise of Francis Grinnell the farm passed into the possession of Morton L. Grinnell, a son of Francis. He continued the system of farming which had earned for the farm a wide repuration for the farm during his father’s time, but enlarged his program to include a complete restoration of the old mill with a number of modern improvements. One of the old-time features of the mill, however, which Morton Grinnell will retain, is the imported French burrs, which have served to prepare flour and feed for half a century. The early method of grinding flour will be practiced at this restored Grinnell Mill. Burr flour, that wholesome and prized flour of the earlier day, will be produced. In addition there will be specially ground cornmeal, buckwheat flour, cereals and various grain foods, all retaining their vital elements of the grain. It was a saying of Francis Grinnell, when urged to abandon the mill stones and adopt the roller method of making flour, that rats were smarter than men, because they ate the heart of the grains, while men threw the hearts away and ate the starchy shell. In the restored mill the best of the grains will be retained in the products. The mill will be ready for operation in the near future. An evidence of the desire of the public to secure the old-fashioned flour and meal is revealed in the advance orders already received by Mr. Grinnell. It looks like he would have to run his mill day and night to fill the orders.


The business of farming was diversified by Mr. Grinnell years ago. He was always an enthusiast in urging the general adoption of improved breeds of livestock. He set the pattern himself early in his career as a farmer. He imported from the county dividuals from the famous type of beef Hereford, England, and some of the best in cattle that could be found there. [illegible] years. Exportation s from the herd have been made to many foreign countries. Practically every state in the Union has received animals from this premier herd. The effect and influence of the Spring Lea herd of Hereford cattle upon the improvement of the beef cattle of the country cannot be estimated. Today the herd is as pure and refined as ever, but the number is less than in former years. There are not more than 50 head of registered Herefords on the farm today, but they are among the world’s finest representatives of the breed.”


“In the restoration of the mill Morton Grinnell, the present owner, has installed a crusher for reducing the limestone to powder. This limestone can be crumbled in the hands. The crusher will be used to reduce the coarser fragments. After the lime comes from the machine it is as fine as flour, and is practically pure unburned lime, which is immediately available for application to the soil. There is so much lime deposited in the hills on the Grinnell farm that plans have been made to supply farmers and others at the mill with the crushed product. The price to be asked for this is so low that any mercenary motive on the part of Mr. Grinnell is disproved. He seeks the interests of his neighbors, and fellow-farmers when he offers to sell them pure carbonate of lime at a nominal price.

grinnell-lime-pitFor many years the Grinnell farm has been known as the Spring Lea Farm. It has been visited by many distinguished people. Its charms won appreciation in poems and stories. After Francis Grinnell had lived at the place for several years his younger sister came to visit him from Massachusetts. She was won by the endearments of the place and soon selected a spot where she asked to have a garden. She tended the beds in this garden and would sit for hours there seemingly entranced with the wonderful beauty of riverland andwooded hills. She decided to make her home there, and when her last illness came on she requested that her body be laid to rest in her beloved garden. This was done, and then started the custom of the Grinnells to bury their dead in this gentle lady’s garden. All the family, young and old, who have died at the farm are buried there, and all the living Grinnells hope to find a final resting place within its restful borders. A great border, taken from a distant field on the farm, is the central monument. Each grave is marked with a fragment from a large stone, in which is chisseled the name and necessary dates to record who rests beneath. This sacred spot is within two hundred feet of the door of the fine old-fashioned brick mansion. It contains the dearest traditions and memories of the family. It is the spot sought at evening for rest and reflection. Its presence and the veneration and love in which it is held by the family imparts establishment. These are ancestral acres, inhabited now by the third generation, and it is the laudable ambition of the present owners to retain the land in the family.”

Posted in Narratives | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

1896 Giveaway — Pages 5-8

[The covers are shown here and pages 1-4  here.]

Page 5

Page 5

Page 6

Page 6

Page 7

Page 7

Page 8

Page 8

Some familiar names crop up in the listing of Postmasters: Sroufe, Mills (both Elisha and William), Farnsworth, Cox, Ridgeway and Jobe.

There are, however, a couple of rather surprising names in that listing: Mary E. McNair and Josephine Baldwin. How did women come to be named postmaster well before they were even permitted the vote? What about the odd timing of Josephine Baldwin and Thomas Jobe – was it simply an error in setting the print for the listing?








The town, Yellow Springs, derives its name from the fine spring on the Neff farm. The volume of water rising from this spring is 107½ gallons per minute. Its composition is as follows:
Carbonate of lime…………………..92.97
Carbonate of magnesia……………..2.42
Ses. Iron and Alumina………………3.80
Silicious Matter…………………………..80
Yellow Springs was known by that name from 1804 to 1822, and from the latter date until 1827 was known as Ludlow.

Mayor, Charles Hamilton; Council, Edward Rich, J. A. Young, James V. Flack, J. A. Oster, H. Dickman, E. P. Thornton; Marshall, Albert Thompson; Street Commissioner, Moses West; Treasurer, S. W. Cox; Clerk, S. W. Dakin; Health Officer, Isaac Loe.

Churches erected: M.E., 1846; Christian, 1854; Colored Baptist, 1855; Catholic, 1857; Presbyterian, 1860; A.M.E., 1857; S.D. Adventist, 1884.

O. W. Powers, Christian; R. K. Deem, M.E.; B. D. Luther, Presbyterian; Jacob Bornes, Lutheran; James T. O’Keefe, Catholic; J. H. Jackson, Baptist; A. B. Morton, A.M.E.

Societies organized: I.O.O.F, May 21, 1853; F. & A.M., 1868; F. A.A.M., Fountain Lodge, No. 35, 1872; G.M.O.O.F. No. 1979 and G.A.R. 1881 S. of V., 1890; Knights of Pythias, Clifton, No. 669, Sept. 20, 1894; W.R.C., 1894.

Page 8


Of Yellow Springs Post Office From Its Establishment To the Present Date:

Thomas Fream…………………………………………..April 1, 1805
James Miller……………………………………………….Oct. 1, 1810
Christopher Sroufe……………………………………………” 1, 1813
Joel Van Mater………………………………………………..” 28, 1817
James B. Gardiner…………………………………………..” 14, 1823
Henry Grant……………………………………………….Nov. 7, 1825
Andrew Finley………………………………………….Feb. 14, 1827
Elisha Mills……………………………………………….July 15, 1828
Ormond H. Gregory…………………………………….Jan. 23, 1833
Oliver Farnsworth……………………………………..Sept. 23, 1834
William Mills……………………………………………April 25, 1835
Zenas M. Phelps………………………………………..Nov. 18, 1843
Samuel W. Cox…………………………………………..July 29, 1845
Elisha Mills………………………………………………..April 9, 1849
Isaac Kershner…………………………………………………” 14, 1853
Nathaniel Benedict…………………………………….March 4, 1859
James E. Gross………………………………………..March 12, 1861
Henry H. Burkholder…………………………………….Feb. 4, 1863
Charles H. Winter………………………………………..April 6, 1865
“      “      “………………………………………………………July 9, 1870
“      “      “…………………………………………………….Dec. 18, 1874
Charles Ridgeway………………………………………..Nov. 2, 1875
Mary E. McNair………………………………………….Feb. 10, 1876
“      “     ”     ………………………………………………..April 14, 1880
I. W. Baldwin……………………………………………..June 25, 1885
“      “     “ ………………………………………………………July 9, 1886
Josephine Baldwin………………………………………..Nov. 1, 1889
Thomas B. Jobe…………………………………………..May 10, 1889
“      “      “ ……………………………………………………..July 2, 1891

Miami Township…………………………………………..507,998
Clifton School District…………………………………..172,056
Yellow Springs School District…………………………65,912
Clifton Corporation…………………………………………24,160
Yellow Springs Corporation……………………………404,955

Posted in Artifacts | Tagged | Leave a comment