Search This Blog

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Historic Yellow Springs

Hi Blog! As you know, we left our rig down in Fredericksburg, Virginia and drove back up to Pennsylvania in order to spend Christmas with the family. Since we no longer have a stick and brick house, we had to rent one. We found a cute little country cottage on Art School Road in the village of "Historic Yellow Springs."

First settled in 1722, Yellow Springs (now known as Chester Springs) was named for the color of its iron-enriched waters.  During the colonial period, Yellow Springs attracted up to several hundred bathers a day and remained a spa resort until 1865, except for four years (1777-1781) during the Revolutionary War.

The first Inn (founded in the 1750s) served as General George Washington's headquarters at the Battle of Brandywine. For four years, Yellow Springs was the site of the only hospital officially authorized by the Continental Congress. The hospital ruins are just behind the original inn building, now known as "The Washington," on the left.

Just down the road is The Chester Springs Studio - a vibrant arts center. Founded in 1978 as an offshoot of Historic Yellow Springs, the Studio grew in reputation as a nationally-known home for the visual arts, particularly in the areas of painting and ceramics. Unfortunately, they were closed for the Christmas holiday.

Just across from the studio is Connie’s House which dates to the late 1800’s and was originally a post office and general store. It is now used for exhibitions and artists’ residencies.

The Iron Spring Gazebo, originally built circa 1839, but recently renovated, holds the iron springs in its center well. When the non-profit Historic Yellow Springs was founded in 1974, the Gazebo became the symbol that embodied the village’s rich heritage.

Everything in Yellow Springs began with the Iron Spring. It was these mineral springs, the original “Yellow Springs”, that most likely drew Native Lenape to the area millennia ago. As early as 1722, colonial settlers filtered into the area to “take” these mysterious waters. Through the 18th and 19th century, the springs formed the basis for a thriving spa industry that drew visitors in search of rest, healing, and inspiration. Here Kathy is about to enter the Diamond Spring - a spring rich in magnesium.

It didn't take us long to figure out why they called this the "diamond" spring. :)

As we followed the path from the Diamond Spring to the Jenny Lind Spring, we passed an oriental bog garden, originally built in the 1920s for the art students to sketch.

Jenny Lind was a Swedish opera singer often known as the "Swedish Nightingale". One of the most highly regarded singers of the 19th century, she performed in soprano roles in opera in Sweden and across Europe, and undertook an extraordinarily popular concert tour of America beginning in 1850 with P.T. Barnum as her manager. Here is the front of the Jenny Lind Spring House, which houses a sulfur spring that the singer is said to have frequented when she stayed in Historic Yellow Springs while performing in Philadelphia.

I am not sure if I was Jenny Lind that I would like these cloudy yellow sulfur springs named after me.

After the springs closed in 1865, the buildings and grounds served from 1869 to 1912 as a Soldiers' Orphans School for the children of Civil War veterans.  When the number of Civil War orphans declined to the vanishing point, the Orphan School was put up for sale and remained on the market four years before the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts purchased it in 1916. From 1916 to 1952, thousands of students from the United States and abroad attended the school. Art students sketched and studied in the Portico which connected the Lincoln building and the Washington building, which now together comprise the Yellow Springs Cultural Center. 

From 1952 until 1974, Yellow Springs village served as the headquarters of Good News Productions, a company dedicated to producing Christian films. Some commercial films, most notably The Blob starring Steve McQueen, were also made there.

In 1974, the Cincinnati Museum of Art was formed to purchase and care for the site, which it continues to run as a museum village that is free and always open to the public. Different parts of Yellow Springs currently function as a museum for rotating and fixed art and historical exhibits, a cultural center for musical events, speakers, and exhibitions, a hotel/catering complex, an art school, an elder hostel, summer camps, and gardens and meadows where visitors may enjoy the surroundings. We certainly enjoyed our stroll around Historic Yellow Springs.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.