One notable aspect of this section of the Constitution of the Yellow Springs Community is the high regard given to the arts, and one curiosity is the “House of Entertainment” in the section on buildings.
[Board president Dave Neuhardt added some information about the “House of Entertainment” reference: ” I’m fairly certain that was referring to one of the buildings at the Springs (they said that they would “extend” the House of Entertainment to such limits, and in the shortest time practicable)—I assume it was probably the tavern itself, but it could also refer to some smaller outbuilding that existed at the Cascades, since we know the “Owenites” had a dormitory type building near the Cascades.”]
These will be performed in any manner, and by such persons, as each had of a family may direct; or as several families, agreeing to unite together, may determine; until at a future period, when a complete Community shall take place, and other arrangements of a general nature may be adopted, to reduce them in extent, and render them least burthensome.
ATTRACTIONS TO INDUSTRY
Until the time when one side of a village is completed, (when the condition of every one shall be rendered so desirable, as to be a sufficient excitement to industry, by being held on that condition,)—the industry and good conduct of the members must be drawn forth, by a proportionate reward for labor, to be paid by the Community, to the extent and in the proportions the President and Council shall determine to be just: always taking into account the former habits and conduct of the party, as well as his or her actual services or earnings; and in every case, after comfortable supply to the individual, retaining a portion of the earnings to form a common stock. But so soon as one side of a village, as aforesaid, shall be completed, all inequality of the means of enjoyment shall cease: and the President and Council, as soon as possible, shall, in all its preliminary operations, assimilate their rules of proceedings to those at New Harmony, as far as circumstances will admit.
Innocent and rational amusements, at the leisure hours of the members, shall be allowed.
Any member wishing to devote the whole or any portion of the hours of daily mutual co-operation, to painting, engraving, sculpture, music, or any other branch of the Fine Arts, for the use, embellishment or amusement of the Community; or, for the general advancement of the study of nature, mineral, vegetable, or animal; or of chemistry, mechanics, or any other species of intellectual pursuit, may apply for the approbation of the President and Council, so as to devote the whole or any portion or his or her time, with full assurance of cordial encouragement in every useful pursuit, so far as consistent with their health.
The tract of land lately owned by Baum and Whiteman, at the Yellow Springs, Greene County, Ohio, containing about 740 acres, shall be purchased for the Community; and a title in fee simple be made to a trustee for the use of the Community until a charter be obtained, fixing the title in the Community as a corporation. This land we will lay out and cultivate with the threefold view to health, abundant produce and embellishment.
[Again, from Dave Neuhardt: “The Constitution also refers to purchasing the property from [Martin] Baum and [Lewis] Whiteman [Benjamin’s son, I think]. Baum was overextended and was being pushed to sell by the Bank of the U.S. (which also effectively foreclosed on his new home in Cincinnati, now the Taft Museum). We also know is that the YS Association defaulted on their land contract with Baum and Whiteman within only about a year, and the property instead was sold to Elisha Mills, leading to the golden age of the resort.”]
We will extend the House of Entertainment to such limits, and in the shortest times practicable, as shall be deemed expedient; and immediately thereafter erect suitable buildings for a seminary of learning, with a boarding-house attached; and as fast as our means will admit, erect additional common dwellings, sufficient in extent, when added to those already built, to accommodate five hundred inhabitants. In the mean time always giving precedence to the erection of buildings for, and establishment of any of the useful and productive mechanic arts.
Monthly meetings for the transaction of business by the members shall be holden, at which this constitution may be amended or altered in any way not infringing on the vested rights of individuals, one month’s previous notice being given of the alteration proposed, in writing.
Notwithstanding all that is said in this constitution, no individual shall be entitled to become a member, without being elected by unanimous vote of John Keating, and such other three individuals as he may choose to associate with him; or afterwards by votes of all the members present at an election.
Part 1 Part 3 (Final)