Town + Gown + Federal Funds, April 1936

Antioch College and Yellow Springs have always had a tightly interwoven town-gown relationship, and this article from the Dayton Daily News of Wednesday, April 15, 1936, details an example of this relationship, aided by federal funding.

Antioch Students Undertaking Major Projects Aided by NYA

YELLOW SPRINGS, April 15.—Construction of one of the most unique stage switchboards of any college in the country, research on a vast photosynthesis project and the selection of better motion pictures for Yellow Springs are being accomplished by Antioch College here under funds allotted by the national youth administration.

The switchboard and light system at the Yellow Springs opera house, built at a price of $900 as compared with a bid of $1750 on half the board made by an electric company, is the work of Richard Ten Eick, White Plains, N. Y., and a crew of four other Antioch students.

Similar to the one in the theater at Yale university, the new switchboard will be part of the permanent equipment of the opera house. Student workers have kept costs at a minimum by designing and constructing parts which would have been too expensive ready made.

Unique feature of the board is its plugging panel of 200 outlets so that an entirely new method of lighting can be used for individual performances. It was utilized during performances of “H. M. S. Pinafore” last month, and was used again April 13 for a production of Robert E. Sherwood’s “Petrified Forest.”

The Fels and Photosynthesis research foundations at Antioch are the largest employers of NYA labor with a total 35 students employed.

Students do the same type of work performed by the more skilled assistants at the photosynthesis research, O. L. Inman, director, declares.

In addition to these projects, NYA students are preparing a statistical study of senior comprehensive examinations; two teach art, and two give [psychology] examinations to students in local schools. Under the supervision of Herman Schnurer, associate professor of French, four Antioch students are working out a “better movie” project for Yellow Springs.

View of the opera house, courtesy of Antiochiana
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Yellow Springs Women with Green Thumbs

Spring is an appropriate time to highlight the entry in Women of Greene County given to the Friendly Gardeners’ Club.

The Friendly Gardeners’ Club
Yellow Springs

The Friendly Gardeners’ Club was organized March 1, 1945, with the following charter members: Mary Brown, Esther Carpenter, Emma Dillon, Ella Fogg, Lucy V. Fogg-President, Mary Fultion-Secretary, Helen Semler, Florence Smith, Mrs. Stevens, and Grace Pusch. Ten members were necessary for state federation membership. The Club was to be primarily a rural neighborhood club of women living west of Yellow Springs who met on the third Wednesday of each month. The motto was “When tillage begins, other arts follow.” As the years passed, membership became more diversified to include women from the Village and surrounding areas.

The purpose of the Club is “to stimulate the love and knowledge of gardening among amateurs, to share through association, and to aid in the protection of our native plants and birds.” The aim is “for every member to participate in programs, workshops, and civic and community projects, as well as flower shows, educational exhibits, and plantings.”

Historically, the Club has lived up to its purpose. Flower shows were held yearly from 1946 through 1988. In 1953 the Club celebrated Ohio’s Sesquicentennial with a spring flower show emphasizing red, white, and blue arrangements. The Club still exhibits lat the Greene County Fair. Beginning in 1946, flower arrangements were placed in the Yellow Springs Library and other public buildings and donated for community events like P.T.A. Meetings and the Antioch Summer Music Festival.

The Club has beautified the Village through landscaping projects. 1n 1949 and 1950 they helped with a project at 4-H camp Clifton and in 1956 with landscaping at the School Camp. The flower bed at Hilda Rahn Park,, named for Hilda Rahn, Clerk for the Village of Yellow Springs for many years and now retired, was established by the Club and is an ongoing project.

Stimulating the love of gardening is another aim of the Club. In the 1950s a Junior Garden Club was sponsored. There was a garden therapy project at the Friends Care Center. Workshops were held for the public and for an Elderhostel at Glen Helen. In the 1960s, articles on gardening were printed in the Yellow Springs News and gardening hints were given on local radio stations. Meetings with special speakers are open to the public. Frances Kimball showed her award-winning flower slides at one meeting.

Other ongoing projects include plant sales in May and for the June and October Sidewalk sales, and a conservation poster contest, begun in 1961 in conjunction with the Greene County Soil and Water District. In 1994 nearly sixty 5th graders in Yellow Springs school entered the contest.

The Club meets monthly in members’ homes or at the Library, Bryan Center, or Glen Helen. Simple refreshments and a social time follow the program which includes a garden book review. Membership is limited to twenty members and available by request. Dues were $1.25 in 1945 and are now $5. Membership dues allow the Cub to make contributions to the county and district associations (Oho Association of Garden Clubs) or buy flowers, cards, and memorial books to honor deceased members. In addition, a book or magazine is donated yearly to the library.

Present long time members include: Vrginia Bush, Rebecca Ramsey Fenton, Lucy V. Fogg, Janet Hackett, Evadene Holyoke, Marlene Johnson, Frances Kimball, Ruby Nicholson, Paulione Sidenstick, Gladys Snider, Ruth Varner, Toshiko Asakawa, Dorothy Holm, and Helen Routzong.

Members of the Club have participated in local, county, and state meetings, provided support for Cedar Bog and Wakeena, a state school training camp, and been judges for flower shows. All have shared their skills and knowledge.

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A Very Different Then…

This photo from the Kahoe glass plate negative collection looks like it might have been taken in the School Forest, but it was actually taken in town. The note attached says, “Carr’s Nursery, W[illiam] W[allace] Carr, High & S. College.” Carr is just barely visible in front of the large trees in the background. Other photos of the Carr Nursery from the Kahoe collection have been featured in previous posts here, and here, and scans of pages from a nursery catalog are indexed on the “Blog Multi-Part Series” tab above.

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J. Peery Miller Memoirs — Part 30

In which J. Peery Miller comes to the end of his Civil War service…

After the battle at Green Springs our regiment resumed the duty of guard work as before save that Co. F was stationed with Co. E at South Branch Bridge. Here we remained until the expiration of our time of enlistment. At this time our places were taken by other troops and we returned by train to Camp Dennison, O. where we were paid off and mustered out, September 9. Four month’s pay at $16 a month was our cash remuneration for this summer’s work. We responded to our country’s call as a patriotic duty. Money was little thought of as a consideration.

I would note that the location of our camp at South Branch was in the valley where the branches of the North and South Potomac unite to form the main stream.The conditions at this season of the year were conducive to malaria (old fashioned ague). Practically every body was sick with chills and fever. The week before we were ordered home, I, too, succumbed to this malarious infection. A severe chill followed by a burning fever was the order. I remember that I fell in for company roll-call one morning and Capt. Cross noticed my shivering condition. He said, “My God, Peery, have you got it, too?” He ordered me with a bunch of others similarly affected to take the next train to Cumberland for treatment, as he had neither physician nor medicine nearer. Brother Harrison, also sick, went with me, and, for a hospital, we stuck our dog-tents with others on the side of a hill not far from the B . & O. depot at that place. Quinine a-plenty was given to us on application to an army physician to whom we reported as ordered. We had our usual rations of hard-tack and coffee. Nothing more appetizing was suggested. Our appetites were not vigorous.

Typical dog-tents

I think we were here three days and nights. One night it rained a perfect torrent, and as our bed was simply a blanket spread on the ground and our tent was pitched on the side of the hill, we got the full effect of the flowing current. We tried to deflect its course to the sides of the tent by digging a little ditch with our knives, using our hands for shovels, but our labor was to little avail.

The next morning brother Harrison, being the oldest, and, at this time, the least sick, made coffee for two. We had plenty of brown sugar and he used it bountifully. So sweet was my cup that from that cause or other I formed a dislike for sweetened coffee, and from that day to this I drank my coffee without sugar.

Our three days on the hillside at Cumberland must not be considered hospital experience. We were not sick enough to be considered patients. We were sent here to get quinine to recuperate our strength for the ride home. Those members of Cos. E and F who were now at Cumberland were put in an old passenger coach at this point and were attached to a regular train bound for Pittsburgh and the West. Trains ran slowly in war times. If I remember correctly we were on the train two days and nights. We passed through Columbus and Xenia, Ohio, en route for Camp Dennison, but when we got to Xenia, about midnight of the second day, several of the Bethel and neighborhood boys decided to stop off at that place without orders, go home first and report at Camp Dennison later. We did so but had to wait in the depot until eight o’clock the next day to get a train to Springfield.

We took possession of the gentlemen’s waiting room and spread ourselves on the floor for a comfortable sleep. The incoming and out going passengers either walked around us or over us. We slept soundly until daylight without a disturbing thought of being aroused by an officer of the guard to take our place in line preparatory to performing some unwelcomed military duty. Sweet sleep in the land of peace!

The little old Little Miami depot stands today (1927) just as it did then (Sept. 1864) with but little change inside and none outside. I never pass through that waiting room without being sensibly reminded of our home coming from the scenes of war.

At eight o’clock a.m. our neighborhood bunch took the train for Springfield, arriving about nine o’clock. Here we separated, each going to his own home by whatever method was available. Brother Harrison and I were fortunate in finding our cousin and neighbor, Amos James, in town with his spring-wagon. He was only too glad to give us a boost to save us a six-mile walk which we were preparing to make. Amos was very talkative and very ready with questions about our army experience. The time soon passed and we were now back home. My arriving was a complete surprise to our homefolks. I met mother at the kitchen door. In a dirty soldier uniform I looked so different from the boy that left home in the early spring that mother did not know me at first, but a smile and an extended hand on my part told the tale. The news, “Peery is home,” soon spread. Every body at home hastened to give me welcome. I am quite sure that the reception given the famous prodigal son of Biblical fame was no heartier or genuine than that given me. One advantage I possessed over the scriptural adventurer was that I had no confession of wrong doing to make


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Then and Now, without Interurban

This photo from the Kahoe glass plate negative collection bore the note of “House probably Xenia Av (interurban lines).” One can see just a portion of the overhead lines and street rails at the edges of the picture. A previous post on the blog reprinted a history of transportation in Yellow Springs.

The probable current view of the house is taken more from the north, but the garden lot to the south on the corner of Xenia Avenue and East North College is still there, although the interurban infrastructure is long gone.

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Trees Are at the Heart of the Village

This blog has previously detailed some of the history of Mills Lawn, and “Preserve Mills Lawn Greenspace” has collected even more.

The following article zeroes in on a specific facet of Mills Lawn’s history and is reprinted with permission from the “2021 Tree Committee Newsletter”.

The Tree Committee is a non-profit organization of volunteers dedicated to promoting the planting of desirable trees, both to avoid disasters such as the devastation of Dutch Elm disease and the takeover of invasive species, and one of the main ways in which these goals are accomplished is their program of Tribute Trees, which not only populate suitable areas with desirable trees, but offer family and friends a lasting and ecological way of memorializing individuals who have passed on.

Do You Know the Three Sisters?

They are a prominent trio of large red oaks near the tennis court at the northwest corner of Mills Lawn school grounds, and some folks call them the Three Sisters. Their large trunks form a tight triangle and support an interlaced canopy spanning an area over 150 feet in diameter. One of them stands out, its trunk covered with prominent burls, a natural response to a virus. George Bieri, who helped his father record the diameters of the largest trees in Yellow Springs many years ago, estimates they are 350-400 years old. They are part of the 600 acres of old growth forest Elisha Mills deeded to his son William in 1842 that became the village of Yellow Springs. What might these three have witnessed in all those years? Did eagles circle above the forest and perhaps even nest in their branches? Did deer feed on their acorns? Did woodpeckers and squirrels collect and store acorns to sustain themselves over the winters? Or perhaps, did the Three Sisters witness members of Tecumseh’s Shawnee community hunt the deer and collect those acorns? Have they been communicating with each other and the nearby shagbark hickory via their roots and associated fungal networks all these years? How long have children been playnig under their spreading branches”

Illustration courtesy Bob Huston

The Three Sisters must have watched the 1843 building of the William Mills new home just a short distance away. It was an “imposing mansion,” the largest building in Yellow Springs for the next century (Jane Baker, 2007, William Mills; The Yellow Springs Man, Yellow Springs Historical Society). With the mansion in its center, Mills created a large park with gardens, pathways, and two small streams to drain the swampy areas of the park. Much of the original forest was cleared and burned, but this was done carefully to preserve many old growth trees. The park was developed for the enjoyment of distinguished guests of the Mills family and for the pleasure of the residents or the growing village. The Three Sisters, possibly already 200 years old by then and considered “beyond price,” were included in this lovely park known as Mills Lawn.

This park in the center of the expanding village inspired Miss Rebecca Scott, an Antioch College student in the 1850s, to write “The Lawn,” a poem dedicated to Judge Mills. A portion reads

Delightful spot to mortal eyes!
(Akin, me thinks, to Paradise)
When fruits and flowers and foliage rare
Allure the sight, and scent the air —
While to my view remembrance brings,
The pleasant Lawn at Yellow Springs.

In all the years they stood there, the Three Sisters must have observed tremendous changes — the coming of the railroad, establishment of Antioch College, and development of the village of Yellow Springs as laid out by William Mills according to the Philadelphia Plan, whose key features are a gridiron street pattern and a central public square.

In 1866 the mansion and Lawn were sold to the Means family, and in 1921 they became the property of Antioch College. College president Arthur Morgan subdivided the land and built faculty housing along what is now Limestone Street. The mansion became a dormitory for prep schoolboys, while the former park became their playground. Finally, in 1949 the College donated the property to the Miami Township School Board (now the Yellow Springs School Board). In an exchange of letters, the College stated its wish that “the Lawn’s facilities be available to the whole community…and that the natural park area be preserved as such.”

At least 7 of the old growth trees were destroyed in 1953 when the elementary school was built, but much of the Lawn was still forest-covered and left open for community activities, as requested by Antioch College. The mansion eventually fell into total disrepair and was razed. Today neighborhood children still use the park as their playground. Art on the Lawn, Arbor Day celebrations, performances of Shakespeare plays, and other community activities continue there. Mills Lawn has also become an important site for YSTC Tribute Trees donated by villagers to honor friends or family members. Many are located on the Lawn west of the elementary school.

The Three Sisters and their companion trees on Mills Lawn add beauty and cooling shade, absorb rainwater, clear the air of pollutants, and give food and shelter to birds and small creatures as they have done for centuries. Their survival on Mills Lawn will continue to benefit the citizens of Yellow Springs for generations to come.

Anna Bellisari

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From the Antioch Bookplate Archives — Part 10

And sadly, the end of the road, because at this point the company was sold. Antioch bookplate designs live on through Bookplate Ink.

The “Bookplate Blog Posts” tab above will serve as an index to the complete collection, and any further posts about bookplates will feature custom designs.

3629-3Becky Kelly Studio

3630-7; — Becky Kelly Studio (die-cut)\

3631-5 — staff design

3634-X Chronicles of Narnia – wardrobe doorway from the movie (die-cut)

3636-6 Color adaptation of Caxton E-1/G-1

3637-4 Rachel Hale Photography



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Going Places circa 1900 Style

Another photo from the Kahoe glass plate negative collection, titled only”Man on Horseback.”

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CCC Camp Life in February 1938

Excerpts from The Hooey.


…is a close-up of Mr. John P. D. Q. Enrollee at the moment of realization—that though February hath only 28 days he gets paid for 30 days; that Spring comes March 21; that an enrollment period comes to a close March 31; that there are only 298 days until Christmas.

The peculiar expression of glee occurs each winter near the last day of February.. it is caused by the relief which is felt from the top of the noggin to the bottom of the Size 12’s; relief at a cessation of winter cold, itchy “John L’s” and getting up in the dark.




Grant E. Roberts, Tennessee’s gift to God, country and womanhood, is the new No. 1 essayist of Camp Bryan. In one of the closest contests ever sponsored by camp officials, Roberts (who is also Camp A. E. A. and Editor of HOOEY) won a first place by the narrow margin of one point. By this one point Nitches was defeated.

The camp essay compettion was held in connection with Lt. Leever’s sector-wide affair. Twenty-one essays were judged by Prof. W. B. Alexander of Antioch, Mayor M. L. Dawson of Yellow Springs and Mr. Stuart Schuyler, an Antioch student.

Each of the judges selected four men in order of merit. A first place counted 4 point, a second 3 points, a third 2 points and a fourth 1 point…


By Breeze

Co. 553 was honored by the arrival of Lt. Arthur Stone. His arrival was denoted by the sudden duck all of the enrollees took under their bunks. The reception committee comprized of the weaker sex lined the curbs of the fair hamlet of Yellow Springs. Many a fair heart throbbed that day.

Lt. Stone was graduated from Indiana University Dental Schnool in 1935 and was commissioned the same year. He has had a big pull ever since. The Lieutenant is connected with the 320th Reg. Field Artillery. To date he has served in the Ohio District with headquarters in Fort Hayes, Ohio, with thirteen months service. His home is in Columbus. Ohio.; He is single and a mild 26 years of age. This combination, along with personality, education, and the fact that he is handsome, would put the skids under Robert Taylor. He must be forced to avoid the young ladies diligently as they seem to avoid the writer (sigh), but some fellows seem to get all the breaks.

The Lieutenant says that one of his most amazing experiences in dentistry was when a patient exclaimed after an extraction, “Gee, Doc, it’s bleeding!” (This would almost remind you of Roberts.)

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March Exhibit at the Library

Once again Chris Zurbuchen has provided a window exhibit in the front vestibule of the Yellow Springs Community Library for the Yellow Springs Historical Society.

This month’s exhibit features the history of Fess House (now occupied by New World Expeditions).

The Yellow Springs Historical Society

presents the

~ Weston House ~

~ Fess House ~

~ Vie Design Studios, Inc. ~

~ New World Expeditions ~

1869 John Burns Weston

1887 John H. Mellinger

1896 Florela B. & Morgan Adams

1904 Thomas M. McWhinney

1917 Simeon Davidson Fess

1936 Lowell Thomas Fess

1951 Earl N. & Martha L. Yoder

1954 Fred & Myrl G Boyd

1959 Mary Allott & James W. Agna

1970 Read & Beverly L. Viemeister

1996 Milton & Phyllis Cox

2016 Arati & William Cacciolfi

The Cacciolfi family graciously agreed the Historical Society could host an open house tour of their home in May 2020. Unfortunately, the COVID pandemic shut down all activities. Perhaps 2022 will be an opportunity to visit this historic home?

This exhibit is from the “Fess House ~ Vie Design Studios” scrapbook given to the Historical Society by Beverly Viemeister. Additional information from YS News,, Antiochiana, and

1869 – 1874 (1st tax record) – 1887

In 1869 Antioch Professor John Burns Weston decided to build a house. After all, as one of the founders of Antioch College in 1850, as a member of the first graduating class under Horace Mann in 1857, and as Acting President during the Civil War, a fine home would be fitting.

To help with the project he imported twin teenage nephews from New England, Stephen F. and Samual B. Weston. They made thousands of bricks and assisted in the construction. Stephen and his son S. Burns Weston continued the Weston-Antioch connection as professor, administrator, student, trustee, and benefactor. John Burns Weston left Antioch in the 1880’s to head Defiance College.

1917 – 1936

Simeon D. Fess and his wife purchased the house in 1917, as it was befitting a house for a Congressman. Fess was a staunch prohibitionist, an ardent supporter for woman’s suffrage and a past president of Antioch College.

The 1912 Ohio convention started the political career of The Honorable Simeon D. Fess. He became President of Antioch College in 1907. In 1911 he ran for the state Constitutional Convention. That paid a $1000 stipend which he needed as he was usually paid less than half his $2500 salary at Antioch.

In 1881 he entered Ohio Normal University (Ohio Northern U) He graduated in 1889 with highest honors and selected VP and secretary of university. 1890 he married Eva Thomas, a fellow faculty member. 1902 he became graduate student for doctorate of philosophy of history and law at University of Chicago. Due to financial problems, with 3 children, he assumed presidency of Antioch College 1907.

He was President of Antioch College from 1906 to 1917, and also elected to the US House of Representative in 1912. He was re-elected 4 times.

He and his wife remodeled the house interior and added the front porch. They planted flower gardens. He was elected US Senator, 1922. He received many people in his home as he was one of the Republican wheel-horses during the Coolidge and Hoover Administrations.

Fess teamed with Andrew Volstead to get the 18th amendment, The National Prohibition Act, ratified 1919. Fess was known as the “Driest of the Drys.”

Tragically, his wife was killed in a car accident, 1925.

1934, having lost re-election to the Senate, he retired to Yellow Springs to write 4 volume history of Ohio. He died in 1936 at age of 75. He is buried in Glen Forest Cemetery, Yellow Springs.

In 2020, Gov. DeWine recognized the 100 year anniversary of the Smith-Fess Act of 1920, renamed the Civilian Vocational Rehabilitation Act. This began the rehabilitation program for all Americans with disabilities patterned after the Soldiers Rehabilitation Act.

1951 – 1970

The house was sold to Mr. Yoder, and later to Mr. Boyd, both deciding the house perfect for the funeral home business and letting rooms for rent.

In 1959, when Dr. James Agna was looking for a home for his large family, he kept this one at the top of the list. He had rent a room from Mr. Boyd. The size, location, fuzzy-feeling wallpaper and other attractions were compelling. However, after purchase, befitting the image of a healing physician, he and his family decided the viewing room would make a better ping pong room and the embalming room would be better as a kitchen. Those changes, along with others, were made.

1970 – 1995

The house was home to Vie Design Studios, Inc. Read Viemeister (1923-1993) graduated from Pratt Institute in 1943 along with Budd Steinhilber. Viemeister married Beverly Lipsett in 1946, moved to Yellow Springs, Ohio and founded Vie Design Studios. Budd Steinhilber became his partner in 1949. Both were on the team assembled by Preston Tucker that designed the ill-fated Tucker automobile.

In 1949, they worked together to establish a Department of Industrial Design at the Dayton Art Institute, where they both taught and lectured, with Read as the department head.

Creating designs for print media, packaging, products and architecture, Vie Design Studios earned regional and national recognition for its work for such companies and organizations as NCR, GE, Standard Register, Mead, Huffy, LeBlond, and many others. He designed Yellow Springs landmarks such as the Glen Helen Building, Trailside Museum and many homes. The studio designed many corporate identities including the classic circle/square/triangle Antioch College logo. Like much of his work, the logo designed for Dap caulking products 40 years ago is still used today.

The achievement which gave Viemeister the most satisfaction was the prize-winning “First Flight” computerized mosaic mural which dominated the original lobby of the Convention Center in Dayton, Ohio. (The mural is now located in Kettering Hall at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force). Crafted in Casalbuttano, Italy, in the early 1970s, the 20-by-60 foot digitized image was composed of 163,296 one-inch-square ceramic tiles, each a tiny aviation-related picture on its own. He used existing computer techniques for its creation in 1970. First, he converted the photograph into a grid pattern and isolated 20 basic shapes, or values, from the grid. Next he designed 20 symbols to match the isolated values. The symbols were applied to ceramic tiles, which were then assembled to make the mosaic mural as seen at the museum.

April 1982, the Yellow Springs Historic District (roughly bounded by the RR tracks, YS-Fairfield Rd., High and Herman Sts.) was approved for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places.

Beverly Viemiester made several proposals for the property after her husband’s death. One was to convert the property to a Bed and Breakfast, The Village Inn.

The sale of the house in 1996 includes a Tecumseh Land Trust easement. The sale was different from other house sales as it includes a protective easement designed to preserve the historic aspects of the building as well as the open space surrounding it.

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