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Storytelling and History in Yellow Springs, Ohio

Updated on March 28, 2020
Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Ms. Inglish has spent 30 years working in medicine, psychology, STEM instruction, and aerospace education for Active USAF Civil Air Patrol.

Glen Helen Nature Preserve is home to Yellow Springs, Ohio. The preserve houses a raptor center and arts, herbal, and other classes for credit at Antioch College next door.
Glen Helen Nature Preserve is home to Yellow Springs, Ohio. The preserve houses a raptor center and arts, herbal, and other classes for credit at Antioch College next door. | Source

Shawnee Living History Storytellers

Yellow Springs was originally settled by Native North Americans whose descendants are attempting to purchase back their formerly-owned properties in Southwestern Ohio during the late 20th century. They have purchased lands near Xenia and Yellow Springs and have begun successful businesses that boost the economy and help build community in the state.

The United Remnant Band of the Shawnee who remain in this region is quite active in fine arts and professional storytelling. In fact, one member and his son operate a vivid living history ranch today near Oxford, just to the southwest of Yellow Springs.

Shawnee storyteller Neeake.
Shawnee storyteller Neeake. | Source

Neeake, aka Fred Shaw, is a story teller and a descended of the Shawnee Nation. The storyteller has been a preacher as well and has been able to put his two speaking talents of church and Indigenous culture together. I have marveled at his storytelling, traditional storyteller facial paint and clothing at the Ohio State Fair and on film.

People of all ages have gathered to sit and listen to him and at story's end, do not want to leave. The stories entertain and educate families, congregations, and school groups regularly at their facilities. Such is only one of the features and traditions of Yellow Springs, Ohio and the surrounding countryside.

When Europeans came to the Ohio Country in the mid-1600s, the Shawnee’s way of life was disrupted by encroaching settlers, and they were often forced to leave their lands.

— Ohio History Central

In the video below, Ross Shaw of the Indiana Territorial Mounted Rangers shows us how to use a tomahawk and a sword. He works with his father Fred on a living history ranch in Ohio, where they both present a variety of historical characters.

The second video offered below includes an important living history presentation by the Shaws.

Interesting Local History and Nature

  • History Ranch in Yellow Springs: Shawnee and European settlers' living history is presented by Fred and Ross Shaw in performances on their ranch, but also for K-12 schools, universities and graduate schools, libraries, churches, synagogues, historical societies, and scouting groups. I have seen the performances at the Ohio State Fair and in videos several times and am always intrigued by them.
  • Little Miami Scenic Trail from Springfield north of Yellow Springs to Milford, Ohio. This developed trail accommodates walkers, hikers, bicyclists, and horses.
  • John Bryan State Park. 3790 Ohio Rt. 370, Yellow Springs, OH 45387.
  • Clifton Gorge State Nature Preserve: A working grain mill is nearby that offers tours and a store at 2381 OH-343, Yellow Springs, OH 45387.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Clifton Mill, rear side of property by night. Little Miami River flowing through the actual Clifton Gorge.
Clifton Mill, rear side of property by night.
Clifton Mill, rear side of property by night. | Source
Little Miami River flowing through the actual Clifton Gorge.
Little Miami River flowing through the actual Clifton Gorge. | Source

Art is in the Air

Yellow Springs became an art-filled community early on as visitors traveled here to benefit from the springs that contain sulfur and other elements considered healing. People read, wrote, painted, and played music while they attended their health. The community is still focused on fine arts and music, progressive education that will lead to solid jobs, and wellness events and activities.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Downtown Yellow Springs, the cityClifton MillHistoric gas station maintained as art at Clifton Gorge.
Downtown Yellow Springs, the city
Downtown Yellow Springs, the city | Source
Clifton Mill
Clifton Mill | Source
Historic gas station maintained as art at Clifton Gorge.
Historic gas station maintained as art at Clifton Gorge. | Source

Downtown Yellow Springs is a colorful expanse of artistic shops with merchandise displayed on sidewalks as well as inside on Xenia Avenue. Boutiques, pottery shops, cafes, herbalists, theaters, fine arts emporiums and many more extend for several blocks to the center of town to a type of Town Square Park where an OSU tent is usually set up during football season for souvenir sales and does a good business.

Public art projects include the interesting benches for seating all long the main street and down through the road to Antioch College. However, needle artists have taken to creating covers for telephone poles and lamp posts. Simply put, there is art everywhere in Yellow Springs.

Clifton Mill near Clifton Gorge east of Yellow Springs is a working grain mill that provides tours by living history staff in costume. The mill houses also contain a store in which visitors may purchases the Clifton Mill flours that we see in some local supermarkets. Clifton Gorge is a scenic spot that unfortunately once housed a lone caged bear for spectators.

Many options for lodging in Yellow Springs give guests the choice of small motels, B & B's, and other picturesque places, including Jailhouse Suites that are located in a former Village Jail.

The local Springs Motel is all solar powered! This is a great place for low prices and clean rooms with amenities like free WIFI and free breakfast.

Young's Jersey Dairy is just two miles northeast of Yellow Springs as well, with family events, two restaurants, a homemade bakery store and more.

Antioch University. One Morgan Place;  Yellow Springs, OH 45387-1607 Phone: (937) 319-6082
Antioch University. One Morgan Place; Yellow Springs, OH 45387-1607 Phone: (937) 319-6082 | Source

Antioch University

Antioch College became Antioch University, but has always emphasized arts and education for meaningful employment.

Founded in 1852, the college is on Corry Street, right beside Glen Helen Nature Preserve. I find it easy to find parking and enjoy any of several paved walking paths through the refreshingly green preserve.

It is a pleasure for students to attend classes so near nature, where they can take a break in the world of nature and use the setting for images for photography and other arts classes. On my last visit, one paved walking path was lined with artistic benches for seating.

The Work Co-Op

Antioch is the first US liberal arts school that requires a co-op work experience as part of its curricula and graduation elements. The school is determined to educate individuals for employment as well as liberal arts.

Back in the 1980s, an associate of mine attended Antioch and loved the sorts of classes offered on a pass/no-pass grading system. The school trained students up until 2008, but lost too much funding and closed. It reopened in 2011 and for a time, offered free tuition for a total of thee years per student under former Governor Ted Strickland's educational programs.

Aerospace Opportunities

Antioch is inside the Ohio Space Corridor that contains many aviation and aerospace education and training opportunities. This southwest quadrant of Ohio has also expanded Antioch's and other schools' course offerings.

Antioch awards the Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science in Arts, Humanities, Science, and Social Science.

Among the famous graduates of this school are some interesting persons like Rod Serling (Twilight Zone) and Coretta Scott King. Alumni also include politicians, scientists, writers, Nobel Prize winners, and explorers.

Antioch University:
900 Dayton St, Yellow Springs, OH 45387, USA

get directions

Cedarville University:
251 N Main St, Cedarville, OH 45314, USA

get directions

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Ohio:
1164 E Dayton Yellow Springs Rd Suite 20, Fairborn, OH 45324, USA

get directions

Wright State University:
3640 Colonel Glenn Hwy, Dayton, OH 45431, USA

get directions


This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2012 Patty Inglish MS


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    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      8 years ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

      That's interesting, because I have heard that every day at noon, a group of Quakers meet on the street in Downtown Yellow Springs and demonstrate quietly for peace. I admire that, since I hear they stand in rain, sleet, and any weather.

    • Maren Morgan M-T profile image

      Maren Elizabeth Morgan 

      8 years ago from Pennsylvania

      I've been curious about Yellow Springs because it was mentioned a bit in Barnesville, OH at the Quaker school

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      8 years ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

      You'll have a really fun time if you go, even if just for a day. If you don't have much time, stop you can stop Downtown at one of the cafes for a snack and see quite a lot.

    • leahlefler profile image

      Leah Lefler 

      8 years ago from Western New York

      The Clifton Gorge looks beautiful! I had to take a look at the larger map to see if this was close enough for a day trip for us. Alas, it is closer to Cincinnati than Cleveland, so it isn't close enough for a quick day trip for us. I'll definitely check it out if we're headed to Cincinnati, though!

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      8 years ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

      I took a mostly house-bound friend to Yellow Springs last spring and she's ready to go again. She perked up at Young's Dairy Farm when we were able to pet the goats and loved driving around Downtown and sitting at Glen Helen. This year, we hope to see some concerts or theatrical productions at the college.

      Thanks for the comments!

    • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image

      Marcy Goodfleisch 

      8 years ago from Planet Earth

      Another great hub, Patty. I grew up in Ohio; Antioch's a legend there. That entire area is gorgeous, as your hub shows.

    • dahoglund profile image

      Don A. Hoglund 

      8 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      I've never been to Ohio but town and state history is one of my interests. I may get there someday.


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