Yellow Spring, OH- A liberal oasis in the middle of red Southwest Ohio

I roughly used the following boundaries in my evaluation to capture the pre-WWII portion of Yellow Springs: Allen St. to the south, High to the west, Yellow spring-Fairfield road to the North, and the Little Miami Scenic Trail to the east.

In 1825, Yellow Spring’s Village was founded by approximately 100 families hoping to establish the utopian community at New Harmony, Indiana. The community disbanded and it took the completion of the Little Miami Railroad in 1846 to increase development to the town.  The village was named after a nearby natural springs with waters high in iron content.  Antioch College was founded in 1850 with the distinguished scholar Horace Mann as its first president. The town always had a strong progressive bend, even being targeted by the government in the 1950s for its leftist communist leanings and not surprisingly was a major center for the Civil Rights and Anti-War movement of the 60s&70s. This cultural bent has created a liberal oasis set in the middle of a very conservative rural area in SW Ohio. Yet the  village’s population has remained small hovering around 4,000 residents since WWII.

The town’s main attraction is its vibrant color downtown setting at the crossroads of Dayton and Xenia Avenue. Great concentrations of art galleries, local craft stores, boutiques, great restaurants, bars, and cafes attract tourists from the entire Southwestern Ohio region. Yellow spring’s major downsides from an urban perspective  are its very low density, lack of any public transit, and few rental properties. But I guess in Yellow Springs this dynamic seems to work. 
Click here to view my Yellow Springs album on Flickr

URBAN STRENGTHS:

* The Little Miami Scenic Trail is an excellent north to south bike path traveling throughout town.
* Solid racial and economic diversity.
* Over 50% are family households but a high median age likely due to a lot of retirees living here.
* Good mix of for sale housing options ranging from 50K all the way to 400K depending on size and condition.
* Excellent tree canopy.
* Great natural parks with the Little Miami Scenic Trail, and expansive Glen Helen Nature Preserve just east of Dwtn. Gaunt Park hosts a public pool and several ballfields.
* Dwtn is really a regional destination hosting a great array of local creative shops, boutiques, art galleries, a toy store, bookstores,. this helps creative a colorful, liberal vibe and lots of people in the summer months.  More typical neighborhood amenities located in Yellow Spring include a wine cellar a pharmacy, hardware store, public library, post office, a local grocery store, and a couple banks.
* Other cultural amenities include a great array of restaurants, bars, & cafes, a couple breweries, some live music venues, a local movie theater, the Antioch Foundry Theater, and the trailside nature center.
* The Public elementary school is located close to Dwtn. The middle and high school are located on the western edge but still walkable to most students.
* ADA curbs and sidewalks are good Dwtn but hit or miss in the residential areas. 

URBAN WEAKNESSES:

* Very low density . 
* Virtually no public transit here. Making car travel the only commuting option to Dwtn Dayton. Not a terrible option as its only about a 30 minute drive.
* Rental product is very limited. Surprising for a college town, but the college is tiny (about 150 students). 

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