YELLOW SPRINGS — John Day and Shawn Jackson, history instructors at Yellow Springs High School, and students taking U.S. History participated in a class project to create a Yellow Springs Historical Trail commemorating people and events from the town’s past.
Students researched local history under the theme of “War & Peace” and studied the impacts Yellow Springs had on American History. Topics ranged from Martin Luther King Jr.’s Commencement Speech at Antioch College in 1968 to Marion Ross, an Antioch College student turned Union soldier who won the Congressional Medal of Honor (posthumously) for his participation in a raid to steal a Confederate train.
Day conceived the project after a trip to Germany where he saw small plaques called “Stumble Stones” placed in the sidewalks of Berlin to mark the locations of Holocaust victims’ residences. It made Day acutely aware of the “invisible history” all around and it inspired him to try to develop a project to reveal the local history of Yellow Springs.
This spring YSHS students created their own “Stumble Stones” made of white marble with the name of the person or event carved into the stone. The stone also has a permanent QR Code that links to student created websites providing detailed information about the person or event. Students also created a brochure that will be made available to the public and visitors through the Yellow Springs Chamber of Commerce.
Antioch College archivist Scott Sanders presented to the students on how to conduct local historical research and provided students with possible topics, as well as offering his expertise and historical materials from Antiochiana, the Antioch College archives. Students also conducted research at area libraries and conducted interviews with local residents and experts to gather information for their websites.
Josh Walters of Dodds Monuments, a local business that has served this area for 150 years, generously donated twelve stones and the engraving.
The project will culminate this summer with the placement of the stones at ground level for all to see and experience the role Yellow Springs played in U.S. History. The teachers hope to expand on the Yellow Springs Historical Trail with more markers and topics in coming years.