From the Antioch Bookplate Archives — 1980s Part 7

One can notice in this group the increasing popularity of cute characters as design motifs.

Of particular note is B-203, featuring “Whisper the Winged Unicorn,” a character developed by the Antioch Publishing Creative Department and used to illustrate children’s books, bookmarks, and other product lines. There was also a stuffed toy version, but it was not intended for sale, but as a promotional add-on at trade shows.

“Kirby Koala” on B-205 was a character licensed from Gibson Greetings.

Antioch bookplate B-199


Antioch bookplate B-200


Antioch bookplate B-201


Antioch bookplate B-202

Antioch bookplate B-203


Antioch bookplate B-204


Antioch bookplate B-205



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Women of Yellow Springs Past

The collection of newspaper clippings in the Historical Society archives contains a series of obituaries, a good source of discovering figures in Yellow Springs history. Women’s History Month provides an opportunity to give attention to women in Yellow Springs’ past who may have been forgotten by now.

Mrs. Ella Humphrey, 100, Dies in Xenia Friday

Mrs. Ella Humphrey, of 212 Elm St., Yellow Springs, who celebrated here 100th birthday last March 8, died Friday at 10:50 p.m. At Hospitality Home, Xenia, where she had resided for the last 15 months.

Born in Yellow Springs, the daughter of Jeremiah and Mary Baker Little, she had spent all her life in the community and was the widow of Dr. William Humphrey, Yellow Springs physician, who died in 1918.

An active member of the Shakespeare Club in Yellow Springs, Mrs. Humprhey was preceded in death by two sisters and is survived only by cousins, including Mrs. R. W. MacGregor of Cedarville, Mr.s. J. Wolford and Jack Birch of Yellow Springs.

Services will be conducted Monday at 2 p.m. At the McColaugh Funeral Home in charge of Dr. Zion Robbins of Cedarville UP Church. Burial will be in Glenn Forest Cemetery, Yellow Springs.

There will be no calling hours.

[Note: Although the clipping did not include the source or the date, records indicate that Mrs. Humphrey died on New Year’s Day of 1965.]

Yellow Springs News, Wed. July 3, 1974

Y. S. “Cookie Lady” Succumbs at 82

Mrs. Elsie Mae Riley, 329 N. High St., known through many years to college students and neighbors throughout the community as “The Cookie Lady,” died Thursday in Mercy Medical Center, Springfield.

Funeral, services were held Saturday at Jackson, Lytle and Coffman Funeral Home, with burial in Glen Forest Cemetery. Rev. David Rutherford, pastor of the Second Church of Christ in Christian Union, Springfield, where Mrs. Riley was a member, officiated. Her son, Frank, joined Mrs. Athel Workman, Jackson Road, in singing special numbers for the service.

Mrs. Riley, 82, was born Feb. 17, 1892, in Pike County, daughter of Byron and Sarah Anderson Shinkle. Her husband, Frank, died in 1968.

The cookie-making career that brought Mrs. Riley recognition as Antioch “campus queen” a decade ago began when she added baking to her hobbies of violin and piano playing. While employed at the Antioch College cafeteria for about 20 years beginning in 1936, she started making cookies for her student friends. Demand for them mounted up, until she quit to give full time to what became a 30-year career. She had privileged access to the college dormitories, the only “cookie vendor” ever accorded that status.

Her cookies, cakes and pies appeared over a long period at bake sales, and she often had a hand in refreshments for social events of the Yellow Springs Youth Club of the early 60s, of which her grandson Wesley Rouch was a founder. For some time Little Art Theatre patrons bought her cookies at a concession stand there.

Surviving her, besides her son and eldest grandson, are a daughter, Mrs. Rosalie Johnson, Mesa, Ariz.; two other grandchildren, Rosalie Cambell, Dayton St., and Michael Rouch, Dayton; and seven great-grandchildren.

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The Story of Glen Helen — Chapter IVb

Chapter I     Chapter II     Chapter III     Chapter IVa

We know that Indians held our spring in high regard. A trail “worn as deep as a buffalo path” (which would mean about a foot deep) is described as running by it when the first white men appeared.

This locality is one of the highest in Ohio, and the Glen was a haven of refuge in summer for people of Cincinnati, Memphis, and other southern cities. It was free from malaria and was cool, and rarely beautiful, and soon the log cabins gave place to a more pretentious hotel. Now one can scarcely trace even the foundation, and man’s work is shown only in the lake below where Yellow Springs Creek is widened by a concrete dam to form a skating and boating place. Here the waters of the Yellow Spring make a dainty waterfall fifteen feet high, and one can see how they are still adding to the travertine deposit. Below the dam is a level wooded valley. Oaks, elms, hickories, and walnuts tower well above the high cliffs at the sides, and everywhere grow thousands of red-bud trees that make the valley a fairyland in April and May. More species of native trees are at home in Glen Helen than on the continent of Europe.

The perpendicular limestone cliffs at various places have split off fragments which are very picturesque. One is “Pompey’s Pillar,” a picture of which is shown on the next page.

Such natural beauty as we find in Glen Helen appeals to many types of people, and study of its history brings to a focus many rays of light on the early days. A colony of Owenites used some of the old hotel buildings for a few months. The story of that experiment is both entertaining and pathetic It went the way of other such attempts. In another part of Glen Helen, midway down the hill toward the Little Miami, just southwest of a road intersection and south of a little ravine, the ruins of an old stone house are a reminder of another phase of life at that time. This house was long pointed out as a station on the Underground Railroad.

Many famous people have visited Glen Helen. The big hotel was a favorite for political gatherings. Some of the most famous statesmen of the time visited there. A hundred years ago Edward Everett spoke of it as “this lovely spot where everything seems combined that can delight the eye, afford recreation, and promote health.” In 1840 Clay and Webster addressed an audience from the Mound Builders’ Mound. “Whitehall” just across the road from Glen Helen, is claimed by some as the birthplace of the Republican party. Many conferences throughout the middle west had a part in that historic development, and so a number of such “birthplaces” are pointed out.

While Horace Mann was at Antioch, Emerson visited him and talked to the students. It was just about the time he visited Antioch that he wrote:

“Nature never wears a mean appearance. Neither does the wisest man extort her secret, and lose his curiosity by finding out all here perfection. Nature never became a toy to a wise spirit. The flowers, the animals, the mountains reflected the wisdom of his best hour, as much as they had delighted the simplicity of his childhood.” We can imagine him standing at the edge of the cliffs, a few minutes’ walk from “President’s House,” looking into the forest, and musing, as in his poem Threnody:

“Past utterance, and past belief,
And past the blasphemy of grief,
The mystery of Nature’s heart;
And though no muse can these impart,
Throb thine with Nature’s throbbing breast,
And all is clear from east to west.”

The Glen always has been a favorite play-ground for young people. The old by-laws of Antioch ruled that girls and boys might visit the Glen only on alternate days, but the numbers of elderly couples who have romantic associations with Glen Helen would indicate that this rule was not always observed.

From rolling upland to the east of the cliffs one has lovely views across the brook to the college Towers and down the valley of the Little Miami. Here on the east side of Glen Helen is abundant room and a magnificent site for a college campus. These more open hills abound in red cedar trees, and here and there are rocky nooks where ferns and wild flowers grow in natural gardens. Great white trilliums, blood root and twin flower in the spring; purple phlox, tall blue borage, and great masses of wild roses in summer; and asters, and golden-rod in autumn, are a delight to the eye.

At the junction of Yellow Springs Brook with the Little Maimi and along the river great sycamore tgrees expand their white branches. One of these has a spread of more than a hundred feet. Now that the college campus is so much extended, the stretch along the river will make a splendid place for boating.

At all times of the year the Glen is beautiful. Even in winter it has many visitors to enjoy its fairyland.

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The Story of Glen Helen — Chapter IVa

Chapter I     Chapter II     Chapter III

[Due to its length, Chapter IV has been split into two posts.]


This tract, which the genius of the donor saw as one great extension of the Antioch campus, until 1929 was divided among many owners. A part already was known as the Antioch Glen, but most of it was simply wild land attached to numerous farms along Yellow Springs Brook and the Little Miami River. It is about a third of a mile wide and four miles long and includes about eight hundred acres.

The beauty of some noted places depends on the distant views. In others the charm lies entirely in waterfalls and rocks. People go to other places to study special geological formations or to discover evidences of interesting epochs in the history of the human race. In Glen Helen all of these interests are united.

Probably no one spot in Glen Helen is quite so dear to nature lovers as the Cascade. The brook which here falls for twelve feet rises in springs on the farms where Hugh T. Birch as a boy drove his father’s cows to pasture. It flows through a sunny field and under the historic stone arch where a century ago passed the old Post Road from Cincinnati to Cleveland. The falls have been described as a miniature Niagara, for the surface geological formations here, known as Niagara Limestone, is the same as at the great falls. This hard stratum above projects over the soft and more easily eroded layers beneath. At the base of the falls these soft rocks have worn away so that a succession of pools has been formed.

A short walk to the north brings one to the public entrance of Glen Helen. The approach is through an avenue of maples planted a hundred years ago along the drive to the old Neff House, a famous resort of Cincinnati and southern families. Near here is a most interesting relic of the past—a Mound Builder’s Mound about six feet high and in perfect condition. Surrunded by trees and placed in a central position stands a boulder bearing a bronze plaque with the dedicatory inscription—

A walk of a few minutes more, and still amoung the great oaks one finds the spring from which the village takes its name. Tradition says that it was a friendly Indian girl who first told an early settler of the wonderful Yellow Spring, and his appreciation of it led to his at once taking out a claim to this part of Glen Helen.

This large spring is impressive in many ways. Long ago, when the great glacier had retreated, the Spring poured out at the base of the high limestone cliff. No one knows from what great depths it comes, though Edward Orton, the geologist, expressed the opinion that it originated at a much greater distance from the surface than other springs in this region, because its mineral constituents are absent in the surface formations. Summer and winter, in dry or wet seasons, it preserves a uniform flow, and a constant temperature of fifty degrees The water is beautifully clear and free from contamination, but heavily charged with lime and iron which are deposited when it reaches the air. In the course of centuries the spring has built up a barrier around itself, and has been forced to emerge farther and farther up the side of the valley, until now it flows from the top, and then tumbles down the slopes it has built of its own deposits. The mound still is being enlarged by this deposit. From analyses of the water and the rate of mineral deposits it has been calculated that thirty or forty thousand years have elapsed since the spring began to build this barrier about itself, an interesting hint as to the time which has passed since the glacier began its retreat.

During all these years, leaves have fallen from the trees above and animals have been attacked and killed as they come to drink. The spring has covered and fossilized them all with its travertine deposit, and now one can literally turn back the leaves and read this part of the history of Glen Helen, and of the recent evolution of the plants of the region. One naturally surmises that in ages gone, human inhabitants stopped here and may have dropped some of their implements. It is hoped that a careful excavation may reveal most interesting secrets of the past.

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Know Your Town — Part 3: Industries

One can  probably see no greater contrast between then and now than by looking at a profile of the major businesses that formed the underpinnings of Yellow Springs economy. There is very little left from the economic activity represented by this section of the Know Your Town publication. What implications does this have for funding community concerns?

(The community of the future) will want its industry to be, not something casually attached to it just for the sake of increased employment and income. It will want its industrial life to be a harmonious element in the fulfillment and enlargement of its personality.”

From “The Community of the Future,”

by Arthur Morgan

ANTIOCH BOOKPLATE CO. produces about 85% of all the bookplates in the country and specialized products printed on and die-cut from plastics.

ANTIOCH PRESS, the oldest of present-day Yellow Springs industries, is a department of Antioch College. They do all the college printing, job printing, publish the Antioch Review, and a small line of books.

DeWine & Hamma Seed Co.

Vernay Labs, Inc.

 BAHNSEN STUDIO specializes in the photography and enjoys an excellent national reputation.

DEWINE AND HAMMA SEED CO. is the largest industry in Yellow Springs in sales volume. They grow, buy, and process seeds.

METCALF STAINED GLASS STUDIO designs and makes stained glass that is displayed in many localities throughout the United States.

MORRIS BEAN AND Co. aluminum foundry supplies premium casting to industrial users in all parts of the country. It is located on a 60-acre wooded site south of town, and employs approximately 400 people.

ODIORNE INDUSTRIAL ADVERTISING, INC. creates publication advertising, direct mail, publicity, technical literature, and sales promotion programs.

VELSEY COMPANY makes granite surface plates in sizes up to six feet wide and twelve feet long. The surface is made a true plane with variations of not more than .000025 of an inch.

Morris Bean & Co.

VERNAY LABORATORIES’ rubber products and engineering devices are used extensively by the automotive, aircraft, electronic, and similar industries. More than 200 people work in its research laboratory, engineering facilities, and production plants.

VIE DESIGN STUDIOS create graphic art, package design, and product styling for nationally known manufacturers.

WEBB ASSOCIATES does contract research in environmental physiology for the NASA and other government agencies. The output ranges from analytical data collections and surveys to research reports on human thermal tolerance based on experiments carried out in environmental test chambers. They also consult with numerous companies in the Aerospace industry and participate in various ways in the nation’s manned space flight program.

WESTGATE LABORATORIES, INC. was started by Charles Colbert, a consulting engineer, with seven employees. It is now a wholly owned subsidiary of Arvin Industries, Columbus, Indiana, with sixty employees, providing electronic research and product design services for government and industry.

YELLOW SPRINGS INSTRUMENT CO. manufactures laboratory instrumentation for medical, biological, and industrial research. Its Component Division makes precision thermistors for the electronics industry.

YELLOW SPRINGS NEWS is the weekly community newspaper which has repeatedly received recognition for its excellent journalism. The News also has a sizable job printing shop.

non-profit organizations

COMMUNITY SERVICE, INC. is an educational and research organization supported by members from all over the world. It is interested in community improvement and the development of sound spirit. Arthur Morgan, its president, has written books on the subject that have had a wide distribution.

AMERICAN HUMANIST ASSOCIATION has its national headquarters, Humanist House, in Yellow Springs. This non-profit organization publishes a bi-monthly magazine, The Humanist, and plans lecture programs and discussion groups for interested people throughout the country.

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Jeannette Drake – A Notable Yellow Springs Woman

The collection of newspaper articles in our archives gathered by Mary E. Morgan yielded one suitable for Women’s History Month from a publication called “Camerica” (was this section of a newspaper  or a periodical of its own?).

Another profile of Jeannette Drake can be found in her Yellow Springs News obituary.

CAMERICA – June 21, 1964

‘Too Many People Put Off Living’

By Diane Heckert
Camerica Staff Writer

Jeannette romps with Doc, a visiting weimeraner, near pasture-framed pond on her farm. Pond is populated with invited ducks and uninvited muskrats.

IMAGINE, FOR A MINUTE, that nothing depends on you. That suddenly you have no ties and must carve a new niche in the world for yourself. What would that niche be like, and how would you fill it?

This kind of situation isn’t always imaginary. Jeannette Drake of Yellow Springs discovered this nine years ago.

Till then her life had been pleasantly predictable. As a college girl studying dietetics at Antioch, she met Jack Drake, and they were married. Jack became head of his own milling machine business. They acquired a farm, raised cattle and spaniels and spent their free time fixing up the former tenant house on the place.

THIS WORLD came to a sudden end. Jack was killed in an auto crash.

She could have plunged back into dietetics and kept herself too busy to think.

But she’d already found that the loss of her husband and the kind of life she expected to lead couldn’t kill her fascination with the world around her.

“There are too many people who put off living,” Jeannette declares. “I believe in having your cake and eating it too.” Her well-chiseled face, framed with short brown hair, becomes animated as she describes her life today.

“I have to work, but I won’t, that’s all,” she says with a quick smile. Actually, she has filled so many jobs at Antioch that she’s known all over the campus. She has worked in psychological testing, in admissions and as Antioch Inn hostess. Because she loves drama, she occasionally ushers during Area Theater summer seasons.

Cosy blaze in living room fireplace is pleasant antidote to chilly afternoons. This is favorite spot for a continuous stream of guests.

“Somebody gets a grand idea for a project and says, “Help us out for three months.” It turns into two years.” She is now in the sixth year of what was supposed to be a two-week stint as secretary to the director of Antioch’s Outdoor Education center.

Pause for afternoon coffee with a friend. Jeannette had glass wall cut into dining room, overlooking lake.

But if a job becomes full time, I quit.” Jeannette laughs. “I’ll work full time when I get old.” In the meantime, she saves half her day just for living.. So many things interest her that she has forgotten how to play bridge.

JEANNETTE’S home, most people would consider an outlandish place for a woman alone. The aging farmhouse is buried in the green countryside, five miles from town.

“Everyone thought I would be unhappy in the country, but I like to spread out, and there are always decisions to make. The farm needs me. That’s why I like it. I never get the house ready for company, because there’s company all the time. There’s no such thing as solitude—and I always thought I was an introvert!”

VISITORS range from Jeannette’s Pennsylvania relatives to overflow college commencement guests—even to friends’ dogs, who stay while their masters travel. Antioch students ride out to skate on the pond in winter, cook bacon and eggs in the kitchen or type their term papers under the trees in hot weather. They sit around Jeannette’s fireplace when it’s cold, and outdoorsmen among them chop wood.

Her favorite way of entertaining is with a Sunday breakfast of cornmeal waffles, made from corn grown and ground on the place., Foreign students who work at the Outdoor Education center have made her house a haven.

SHE HAS PAPERED the walls of her old house. It is part log cabin underneath and grew haphazardly as old-time farmers pushed sheds together. Upstairs ceilings are so low she didn’t need a ladder. The house overflows with antiques, old pewter, books and travel mementos.

Jeannette has quit the cattle business. She rents the pasture and has a neighbor farm her fields on shares. But the pond, cradled in a hollow below the house, is her domain—hers and the muskrats.

“They dig holoes like Swiss cheese in the dam.”

“Sometimes when I get up and find a 10-foot snowdrift on my lane, I wonder why I don’t move to town. But on a lovely June morning when the orioles are singing, I say, “This is why I didn’t move to town!”

JEANNETTE AVOIDS frills for the house and hoards every spare dollar for travel. She once sold sod from her farm fields to buy a trans-Atlantic ticket. Before her fireplace is a copper wash boiler stuffed with maps, and she hopes to cover them all. Instead of going to Europe every four years, as she once planned, she now gets there every year, sometimes with friends, sometimes solo. She asserts it can be cheaper than staying at home.

“Everyone kids me about Copenhagen,” she says. Her week there stretched into a month, even though she was alone and couldn’t speak a word of Danish. American Express, she explains, found her a book and flower-filled room in a widow’s attractive house for a song, with lavish breakfasts thrown in. She explored glass and porcelain factories, as well as Danish cooking, rode streetcars to find out what was at the end of the line, went to concerts, and had trouble tearing herself away in time to see Greece.

SHE DOES’T believe in mapping out your life for years ahead.

“Some people save up to do things in style some day, but I’ve seen that shattered. Things never turn out as you plan, so I try to be flexible. I couldn’t possibly be bored.

Big screened porch is one of the attractions of plain old farmhouse. Main rooms were cramped and dark, so Drakes added area adjoining chimney.

Preparing Sunday breakfast for a crowd, Jeannette shells corn. She makes corn meal in blender for special waffles.

Camerica Photos by Joe Wissel

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From the Antioch Bookplate Archives — Part 6

Another example of the popularity of unicorns, teddy bears and cats (including Garfield).

The rainbow and “The Difference” were designed with the Christian market in mind, and “The Difference” was probably second only to “Footprints” in popularity in most product lines.

Antioch booikplate B-186


Antioch bookplate B-188


Antioch bookplate B-189


Antioch bookplate B-1909


Antioch bookplate B-196


Antioch bookplate B-198


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Another Early School

In addition to the photos of the students at the Yellow Springs Union schoolhouse shown here and here, there is one other photo (undated) of students at an early township school — this time at the Clifton Union schoolhouse.

Much like the Yellow Springs Union School’s building, the Clifton Union School building still stands and has been used as a home for the Shoebox Theatre at one time.

The Yellow Springs Historical Society will be offering a program on the history of Miami Township Schools (of which Yellow Springs School make the majority) in April, and we will be urging former students of the various schools to come and share your own memories and school memorabilia. Be on the lookout for the announcement of specific date and time.

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The Story of Glen Helen — Chapter III

Chapter I     Chapter II

[In which we learn about Helen herself, although the author makes no mention of the major memorial collection of post-Impressionist and modern art at the Art Institute of Chicago for which Helen Birch Bartlett was known nationally.]


The closest relationship existed between Hugh Birch and his daughter from her babyhood. Her crib stood beside his bed, and whenever her sleep was broken her little hand crept through the bars and found refuge and comfort in his. As soon as she was old enough, she accompanied him on rambles over the farm at Highland Park near Chicago (now the Bobolink Golf Club), that he had bought and was beautifying. During these walks he taught her to recognize and love the plants and trees and birds about her. How much they meant in her life is shown in her poems, which have been published in a volume entitled “:Capricious Winds.” Many of her poems have not been collected. She wrote them with great spontaneity and gave them as greetings to her friends. The facsimiles here printed are of two she wrote for her father.

Helen Birch’s life with her numerous girl friends in Chicago and   elsewhere was unusually interesting. Catherine Eddy, daughter of Abby Spencer Eddy and afterwards the wife of Senator Albert J. Beveridge, grew up with Helen, and the two cousins were like sisters throughout her life.

With her mother and father, Helen had travelled extensively through Europe, England,and the adjacent islands. Especially enjoyable was a journey to the Canary Islands with her father, ending with ten days in the Madeiras, and then through Spain and Portugal to Paris where her mother was awaiting their arrival.

In the winter of 1893 Hugh Birch went to Florida. At that time the railroad ended at Titusville at the head of Indian River. Further south and west the state was almost a wilderness. By boat and on foot he explored most of the wild coast to the south, looking for a desirable location for a winter home. Wisely he chose the ocean front near Fort Lauderdale as preferable to any other part of the miles of shore.

Hugh Birch has a sixth sense about land. He seems instinctively to recognize beauty, to know how to bring it out. He took his little daughter with him and she first saw Florida land in its primitive beauty and glory. After that they enjoyed it together. Even when her mother wanted her to go to Europe for the opera season the little girl always stipulated that before sailing she was to have her winter with her father in Florida. Their home, facing the Atlantic Ocean with a mile and a half of beach, is full of the evidence of the love that she and her father have lavished on it.

In 1919 Helen Birch married Frederick Clay Bartlett, an artist, intimately connected with the art growth of Chicago and Illinois. They spent their honeymoon traveling in Japan, China, and the Philippines. He had passed years in study and travel in France and Germany. Mr. and Mrs. Bartlett were wonderfully alike in their tastes and desires—lovers of music and painting in their many forms.


In the winter of 1924-1925 Mr. Bartlett with his wife and his son by a former marriage invited his father-in-law to a very memorable and delightful trip to Venice and through Italy to Florence, the hill towns, Rome, Naples, Capri, and then to Jerusalem, and to Cairo, Egypt. There they chartered a steamer and went up the Nile to the Assuan Dam. This trip culminated with a hurried trip to Genoa, Milan, and the Riviera and home to a summer residence in Beverly, Massachusetts,—a most memorable journey, to be treasured in the hearts of the living as the happiest experience in the lives of them all.


Helen’s death occurred in 1925. A friend, Janet Fairbank, wrote, “There is always something triumphant in the tragedy of untimely death. Helen Bartlett died too young, but nevertheless she lived life to its peak. For her there were no experiences of anticlimax—no adjustments—no capitulations. She died at her life’s blazing noon, and she had never seen a sunset which did not seem to her fairer than the dawn.”

A woman so universally loved—so truly educated and so wholesomely normal, at home in several spoken languages, in music, in art, and in the higher art of touching the spiritual best in the people who met her, could not be better honored than by the lovely stretch of well-watered woodland that her father has given in her name to the young people of Antioch College. It was a fine sense of discrimination which has associated her memory with this region of ever varying beauty and dignity.


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Know Your Town — Part 2

The first section (pages 4-7) of this League of Women Voters publication (covers and introductory pages shown  in a previous post) gives a brief history of Yellow Springs.

There is a claim made here for Yellow Springs providing a stop on the Underground Railroad during the Civil War, but that is problematic. Because of the clandestine nature of the Underground Railroad operation, there aren’t the usual sorts of documents available to substantiate such claims. Perhaps the efforts of contributors to the Yellow Springs 365 Project’s Encyclopedia will turn up a letter, journal or ledger which will settle the question unequivocally.

Long before the days of the mound builder, the war cry of the Indian and the ring of the pioneer axe, the Yellow Spring began building its record in the rocks. The story told by the gigantic graveyards nearby indicate that this area was once the bed of an ocean lagoon. As the water receded, rushing torrents carved the great gorges and wide valleys that later were covered with the giant glaciers of the ice ages. It seems likely that the large iron-bearing spring, which has given the village of Yellow Springs its name, was formed at the time of the last glacier. Historical legacies of this area’s early inhabitants remain in abundance. Tecumseh, chief of the Shawnee Indians, made frequent visits to the springs, and George Washington owned land near here. The “portals to the present” were opened in 1803 when Ohio became a state and Lewis Davis, hearing from the Indians of the great yellow spring and beautiful surrounding countryside, built the first cabin in the area. As early as 1805 the “medicinal benefits” of the spring were discovered by Davis and others and much of the early growth of the town can be attributed to its reputation as a watering place and health resort.

As an energetic young nation moved restlessly west, parts of its strength and virility were left in the towns and villages that sprang up in the Ohio wilderness. Gradually, a rough frontier became a civilization. In this area, the springs attracted many diverse groups. Fashionable parties arrived from Cincinnati and further afield by stagecoach and, in 1846, by rail. In 1825 an experimental utopian community—the Owenites—settled here until some un-utopian quarrels dispersed the group. In 1827 Elisha Mills bought the springs and surrounding lands (most of which is today Yellow Springs) and erected a hotel at the site. Some 50 years later, William Neff built a four story hotel and 125 horse stable on these same grounds, remains of which are still visible in the Glen.

Judge William Mills, Elisha Mills’ son, became literally the founder of Yellow Springs. Looking past calendars, he conceived of a planned village with streets, parks, schools, and churches which even today, a century later, has not changed markedly. After personally persuading the Pennsylvania Railroad to swing through Yellow Springs, he offered 20 acres and $20,000 to the Christian Church if they would establish their college here. This was the deciding factor that brought Antioch College to Yellow Springs in 1852. Mills was also instrumental in persuading the internationally famous, “Father of public education”—Horace Mann—to be the first president of the institution. At that time, the main building of the college and two dormitories were erected and these buildings are still in use.

From the time of its inception, the college has formed a nucleus around which much of the social and business activities of the town revolve. In 1920, Arthur Morgan became president of Antioch, and with the help of a large loan from Charles F. Ketttering and others, revitalized the school. His philosophy of education and interest in small communities has had a far reaching influence which have added a richness and variety to the activities of the village. In 1929 Hugh Taylor Birch, a former student of the college, presented Glen Helen—a 900 acre tract of ground including the springs—to the college. This area today, in combination with other more recently acquired land and adjoining recreation areas, comprises one of the finest outdoor education centers in Ohio and stands as a living monument to beauty in its purest form.

The buckboards that once creaked noisily down the rutted muddy streets of Yellow Springs have long since given way to the concrete and macadam of the 20th century. But the spirit and individuality of the frontiersman remains a hallmark of the community. Yellow Springs is not just a place . . . it is a fundamental and constantly progressing philosophy. At one time a way-station in the underground railroad, it was one of the first Ohio towns to desegregate its schools—not only as an expression of its recognition of all human dignity, but as a functioning proof of a changing and improving way of life. The Yellow Springs of today is a constantly advancing village—from its manager-council form of government to its interest in industry and culture. It is a stimulating community always aiming higher and looking farther in all its phases . . . industrial, educational, cultural, and recreational. It is a small town in its innate friendliness, a young town in its vision and while proud of its past it has no preoccupation with it. It is, rather, a vital, exciting, and constant working vision of the future.

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