On August 3, 1990, President George H. W. Bush declared November to be Native American Heritage Month. This was a landmark bill honoring America’s tribal people and building bridges of understanding and friendship in local areas.
Historic Yellow Springs is pleased to honor the Lenape Indians who first built their campfires and erected their lodges in our area, establishing a village here. Long before white settlers were to name the area Pikeland, the Lenape knew of the curious yellow water which bubbled up from the ground and were the original people to name Yellow Springs.
William Penn made treaties with these peace-loving Americans who were settled here. Archeological evidence suggests that the Lenape Indians utilized the magical springs for medicinal and ceremonial purposes. In the summer of 2006, Dr. Heather Wholey, Assoc. Professor of Anthropology at West Chester University, brought her class to our village and they did a field project discovering the existence of a village in the Iron Spring Gazebo area. Significant artifacts were uncovered from the Late Archaic (3000-1000 BC) period. A notched point of Quartz Eshbach from the Middle Woodland (300 BC-500 AD) period was also unearthed.
Other archeological research has been conducted since that beginning exploration and we continue to hold our Archeological Camps for kids during the summer months. All the “digs” have produced interesting artifacts covering all the eras of HYS history.
The Lenape were Woodland Indians who hunted, fished and even cleared land in their villages for growing crops such as corn, pumpkins, squash and beans. They assisted the early Welsh, Quaker, German and English settlers in clearing land for their farms and introduced them to these “new” crops.
As word of the “magical waters” reached Philadelphia, Early American settlers, who brought with them a history of using mineral waters in Europe for medicinal purposes, sought them here. By 1722, the Yellow Springs were mentioned in a Philadelphia newspaper and by 1750 the first tavern was established to accommodate visitors. Yellow Springs was to move forward as the most fashionable spring on the east coast until closing as the Civil War emerged.
Native American Heritage Month is a celebration of the rich and diverse cultural traditions and histories of Native Americans and an acknowledgement of their important contributions.