Community Service

Vision and Mission

Our History

Our Founder

Our Small Local Community

Our Intentional Community

Joining and Contributing    

About Yellow Springs

In 2001, the citizens of Yellow Springs raised 1 million dollars to aid in the purchase of a 1000 acre farm just to the north of the village. The area of the farm itself was approximately the same as the area of the village. The owner of the land had announced an intention to subdivide the land into many parcels and offer the land at auction. Many developers had begun designing subdivisions for various parcels. In response to what the Yellow Sprints citizens viewed as a threat to the character and values of the village, money was raised and, in conjunction with the Tecumseh Land Trust, the farm was purchased and placed in a land trust.

One year before, the community had debated the use of another farm to the east of the village, some wanting to use it for housing and others wanting to keep it in its state as a farm. Eventually a referendum was called and the majority voted to deny its use for housing.

In 2002, a lawsuit was settled that had been brought by a small group of neighbors against ground water pollution of their wells by a local company. The suit was settled in favor of the neighbors. A few months later the company announced their intention to close down the factory, leading to concern about the fate of employees and threats to the budget of the village. 

These activities illustrate the character of the village of Yellow Springs. The citizens are involved on many issues at many different levels. Sometimes the different positions are contentious. Sometimes the citizenry can unify around what appears to be an outside threat; but at other times an opponent on an issue can be one’s next door neighbor or a customer or the local proprietor of goods and services. Sometimes a victory by one group can be a severe loss to another group. These latter situations are very difficult and the spirit of community is tested as citizens disagree on issues while attempting to maintain relationships within the community.

Yellow Springs has not arrived at the goal of being a small local caring community as we describe in other areas of this site. There is no goal that can be reached - there is only a continuous ongoing process based on negotiating the complex relationship issues that come up in the day to day living in a community in order to attain,  to some degree, that which we call the spirit of community.

Arthur Morgan first moved to Yellow Springs in the early 1900s to take over the position of president of Antioch College. He had lived in the area for many years working as an engineer in major flood control projects. He remained as president of Antioch College until he was appointed by Franklin D. Roosevelt to became president of the Tennessee Valley Authority. After successful development of the many dams and communities in the TV area he returned to Yellow Springs, where he founded Community Service in 1940. One of his final and most significant acts as a citizen was, at the age of 85, to lead a protest march against the local barbershop for refusing to cut the hair of non white citizens.

Morgan’s unique offering was that he believed in the small community as the optimum way of living and developed theories about small community as well as practices to develop the necessary qualities. He attempted to find like minded people in the surrounding areas and attract them to Yellow Springs to set up businesses for the citizenry. He was a key factor in acquiring the Glen, a 900 acre parcel of streams and woods on the west side of the town, now used for hiking and naturalist studies by the people of the village.

Today Yellows Springs has a population of 4000 people. It has a wide variety of industry, small businesses and housing. It is the home of Antioch College. It includes an elementary school, which has won national recognition for its art program, and a high school, which is a national blue ribbon school. Community Service, Inc. is headquartered in the town, located a block from the town library and elementary school and half a block from Antioch College. The cultural life of the town is very strong; ranging from well developed little league and scouts programs for the youth to chamber music and concerts for musically inclined adults. In many ways it is no different than thousands of other small towns in the country. But in other ways, as seen in the relationships of people in the community, it is unique and exemplifies the “spirit of community.”

More information on Yellow Springs can be found at Yellow Springs.