Wednesday, March 07, 2018

"Windows to the Past", 16x20, oil on panel, historic yellow springs, art school road, Washington Building, The Inn at Yellow Springs, Pennsylvania Impressionism, Maryanne Jacobsen Fine Art, mineral springs, Philadelphia area art, dappled light, weddings at The Washington, Wedding venues

"Windows to the Past", 16x20, oil on panel

This is a side view of the Washington Building in the historic village of Yellow Springs, about 30 miles west of Philadelphia. Although once called Yellow Springs, the village is located in what is now known as Chester Springs, Pa.- an area of rolling hills and underground springs and beautiful gentlemen's farms. I once lived in this gentle area, and it holds many beautiful memories for me, which is why I often come back and paint here whenever I am visiting Pennsylvania.

In times past, wealthy Philadelphians would travel by coach or train to vacation in the village of Yellow Springs, where they could bathe in the iron springs that still permeate much of the area, and from which the village derived its name. Supposedly the iron springs were a boon to one's health, and so the village became a spa of sorts. But the spa era was long after the Revolutionary war, when General Washington used the old tavern as a temporary headquarters for his troops.

Originally a tavern, the Washington Building has gone through numerous transitions and additions over the centuries. When I lived in Chester Springs, the Washington Building was known as The Inn at Yellow Springs, and it was a favorite haunt of the locals for fine food and great wine. Speaking of haunts, the building was also reputed to house a few ghosts left over from the years when the grounds supported a hospital for the wounded troops. My son worked as a weekend waiter at the Inn when he was in high school, and he would come home with firsthand stories of the ghostly noises that were heard by the staff on any particular evening.

Front view of the Washington Building

Spooky, yes. Old and historic- yes as well. But the architectural beauty of the building is what enchants me most and brings me back time after time for a new painting session. The view I captured on this particular occasion is a side view at late afternoon, showing the long porch that connects the Washington Building to its neighbor, the Lincoln Building. The little courtyard  has a bench for musing, and  a sculpture of a blue heron, which I've also painted before. Directly up the path from this view is a small herbal medicinal garden, dating from the days when it provided medicine of sorts for the sick and wounded. Just beyond that is the ruins of the old hospital, and directly across the street is the gazebo that housed the iron springs where the wealthy and healthy bathed.

View of gazebo that housed the iron springs

View of steps leading from courtyard to the old hospital ruins

Quixotic as the springs were, I suppose it was their dark, orangey-colored waters that attracted the attention of General Washington in the first place! I can attest to the fact that in the 14 years that I lived directly up the road in Chester Springs, my hair was orange from the well water that I bathed in!

Up the road a short distance is the art school, where famous painters and students from the Academy of Fine Arts would travel in the summertime to take advantage of the beautiful surroundings and paint en plein air. Indeed, the tiny road that houses all this history is called Art School Road, and residents have worked hard to preserve the quaint beauty and historic significance of the tiny village.

Well, if you enjoyed learning about the historic village of Yellow Springs, do visit the village's website here where you can learn about tours and art lessons and much more history!

This painting is available for purchase for $1500. Please send me an email at, if interested in purchasing this window to the past.

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