Yellow Springs, Ohio

From Ohio History Central
Yellow Springs map.jpg

The first white residents of what is now Yellow Springs, Ohio arrived in the area during the first decade of the nineteenth century. It remains unclear on when the community became known as Yellow Springs, although the community had a post office that was known as the Ludlow office until 1823. It was not until the arrival of followers of Robert Owen that the community clearly began to grow. In 1825, one hundred Owenite families arrived in the area, hoping to create a utopian community based on socialism, where all of the residents owned the property communally and worked together for the common good of all people.

Yellow Springs received its name from a nearby spring. Water from the spring left yellow deposits on surrounding rocks due to the high iron content in the water. The spring expelled an estimated 110 gallons of water per minute.

With the Owenites' arrival the community grew quickly, although the utopian vision for it never truly developed. Numerous hotels and restaurants opened, as people from across the United States visited Yellow Springs, hoping that the spring water would cure them of various ailments. By 1880, 1,337 people resided in the town. The community contained one newspaper, seven churches, one sawmill, and a grain elevator. Yellow Springs also housed Antioch College, which the Christian Church founded in 1852. The college admitted its first students the following year. Antioch's first president was Horace Mann, a nationally known expert on education in the nineteenth century. Although the Christian Church was instrumental in the college's start, Antioch soon became known for providing a nonsectarian education.

During the twentieth century, Yellow Springs continued to grow, but at a much slower rate. In 2000, 3,761 people lived in the community. Antioch College remains, and the institution is one of the town's largest employers. Several prominent people have resided in Yellow Springs, among them are Dave Chappelle, a comedian, John Lithgow, an actor, and Mary Loritz, the secretary of the Young People's Socialist League. In 2005, Yellow Springs hosted the Young People's Socialist League's national convention.

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