Humanities House

Final Report

Inspired by a map covered with hearts designating cur personal "sacred places," the Humanities class at Yellow Springs High School took on the task of identifying Yellow Springs' "sacred places." The following is the story of that endeavor.

We began by handing a survey out downtown asking for basic personal information, what people's sacred places are. what former aspects of Yellow Springs are missed, what the soul of Yellow Springs is, and what can be done to preserve it. These questions were very open-ended, and so were the answers we received.

After that trial, we revamped our survey in order to get more specific answers. We placed this second survey in Yellow Springs News along with a press release about it. The questions in this survey were as follows: 1) What sites (buildings and green-space) do you feel are especially important and should be preserved? 2) What makes them important to you? 3) What former aspects of Yellow Springs do you miss?. The answers we received were of good quality, but we received so few (under 20) that we didn't feel that we had gotten a fair estimate of community opinion.

Out of sheer desperation for hard numbers, we created a third survey in menu format which we distributed downtown and at school. This survey asked people to circle the local businesses and green-spaces that they valued the most. It is the responses to this final survey that you have.

You have the results to the surveys, but just to emphasize. the top buildings were: the covered bridge, the Red Barn. the Bryan Center Amphitheater, the Grinnell Mill, the Tavern, and the Horace Mann Statue. The favored green-spaces were: the Glen Trails, the Yellow Spring, the Golf Course. Ellis Pond, Little Park, the green-space on Spillan and Hyde, Gaunt Park, the Carr nurseries, and the bike trails. We realize that many of these places are either already preserved or private businesses and therefore unlikely to undergo any major changes any time soon. We therefore believe that great attention should he paid to the other names on the list.

While much of our focus in this project was on the survey. we also had a group devoted to interviewing local residents. Nina Myatt. Shirley Mullins, George Bieri, Mary Morgan, and James McKee were interviewed. The places that they said were important to preserve were the Grinnell Mill, the Baptist Church, the Old Village Building, Gasho woods, and Carr nurseries. Their suggestions for improvement included making local places on the national register known to give us a greater sense of our history, creating a buffer zone around Yellow Springs, restricting parking, and planting trees along the bike path.

We also had people look into the history of preservation in Yellow Springs and other places. We heard stories about how a city hall was torn down in Iowa City and in its place grew a parking lot because there was no preservation plan. Then we heard stories about the old Opera House and how it fell into disrepair and was torn down because townspeople were unable to move beyond talk of restoration. Then we looked at G. Stanley Hall... once an important building now falling into disrepair. Concern grew that G. Stanley Hall and other local sites would suffer the same fate as the Opera House.

While working on this project we learned many things. We learned a great deal about local history and about how to make a good preservation plan. We also learned a fundamental truth about Yellow Springs: local residents, though they may have the best intentions, are seldom willing to act until it is too late. They like to talk about what a great place Yellow Springs is. but they are very hesitant to act to preserve what we have until it is threatened. Many of us became disillusioned while working on this project because of increasing doubts as to whether Yellow Springs really cares if these sites are preserved, or as several people wrote on their surveys. Yellow Springs wouldn't rather "Burn it all to the ground." .The general impression, however, was that people do care, but would rather someone else took care of it. We find it rather doubtful that people who wouldn't take the time to fill out a survey would be willing to spend the time needed to preserve what we have.

James McKee said, "Yellow Springs is one of the best places in the world to live, but people have worked hard to make it that way." It is that message which must be communicated to the Village.


We're from the Humanities Class at Yellow Springs High School and we're addressing the preservation of buildings and green spaces in Yellow Springs. Please circle the 5 buildings and 5 green spaces which you value the most.


1. Baptist Church
2. Grinnell Mill
3. Covered Bridge
4. Grain Elevator (Old Stutzman's)
5. Red Barn in the Glen
6. G. Stanley Hall on Antioch School Campus
7. Schoolhouse-High and S. College
8. School Board Building
9. Schoolhouse on Elm Street
10. Bryan Center Amphitheater
11. Vale School
12. Central Business District
13. Old Village Building
14. Center Stage
15. Whitehall
16. St. Paul's Church
17. Tavern
18. Riding Center
19. Horace Mann Statue
Green Spaces

1 . "Little Park
2. Kieth's Alley
3. Carr Nurseries
4. Golf Course
5. Greenspace on Spillan and Hyde
6. Bill Duncan Park
7. Ellis Pond
8. Gasho Woods
9. Dewine's Pond
10. Friends' Care Woods
11. The Yellow Spring
12. The Glen traiIs
13. Mills lawn
14. Bonfire triangles
15. Whitehall Farm farmland
16. Gaunt Park
17. Antioch campus
18. Bike Trail
19. The Japanese Garden
20. Kings Yard area

Others ___________________________________________________



1. Covered Bridge
2.Bryan Center Amphitheater
3. Grinnell Mill
4. Red Barn in the Glen
5. Horace Mann Statue

Green Spaces

1. Golf Course
2. Little Park
3. Green Space on Spillan and Hyde
4. The Glen Trails
5. Carr- Nurseries
6. Eliis Pond

Hum. House Survey - Buildings

Total No. of Surveys is 25

Site: No. of Votes:
Covered Bridge 15
Bryan Center Amphitheater 14
G. Stanley Hall 11
Grinnell Mill 11
Horace Mann Statue 11
Red Barn 10
Central Business District 8
Tavern 7
Center Stage 5
Grain Elevator 5
Old Village Building 5
Riding Center 4
Schoolhouse on Elm St. 4
School Board Building 3
St. Paul's Church 3
Whitehall 3
Baptist Church 1
Schoolhouse-High & S. College 1
Vale School 0

The information for this list comes from a survey of the Humanities House class and what they voted as their favorite buildings.

Hum. House Survey - Greenspace

Total No. of Surveys is 25

Site: No. of Votes:
Golf Course 18
Little Park 12
Greenspace on Spillan & Hyde 9
The Glen Trails 9
Carr Nurseries 8
Ellis Pond 8
Friends' Care Woods 7
The Yellow Spring 7
Gaunt Park 7
Antioch Campus 7
Mills Lawn 6
Whitehall Farm 6
Gasho Woods 5
The Japanese Garden 4
DeWine's Pond 3
Bonfire Triangles 3
King's Yard Area 2
Bill Duncan Park 1
Kieth's Alley 0
Bike Trail 0

The information for this list comes from a survey of the Humanities House class and what they voted as their favorite greenspaces.