HISTORY OF WEST PIKELAND
A Land Grant from William Penn, containing over 10,000 acres, was given to Joseph Pike, a merchant from Cork, Ireland, on December 3, 1705. In 1733, Joseph Pike’s son, Richard Pike, inherited this tract of land, which he renamed “Newington”. However, soon after, the tract was once again called “Pikeland”. In 1838 these lands were divided and called East and West Pikeland. The area was inhabited by various tribes of Native Americans, mainly the Lenni Lenape, and later settled by the Swedes, English, Welsh and Germans.
HISTORY OF OUR TOWNSHIP BUILDING
The large barn our township office and SALT Theatre occupy was built in 1845 as a barn for the large farm at the east end of Yellow Springs Village. The chicken house was built at some point beside the barn. In 1928 the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts purchased the barn and 100 acres, transforming the barn into a sculpture studio. They removed the rear wall and added glass to permit the north light to enter. Renowned sculptor Albert Laessle taught classes here.
In 1952, the Academy sold the property to Good News Productions. The sculpture barn was converted into a theatre and used as Studio C for movie making. Production lighting was installed and sound stages added. Scenes from The Blob were shot at this location as well as over three hundred files produced by Good News. The chicken house was used as a prop shop.
In 1979, Historic Yellow Springs sold the barn and chicken house to the Yellow Springs Institute for Contemporary Studies and the Arts. The Institute was a creative incubator for dancers, choreographers, composers, poets, playwrights, actors and performance actors. The Institute completed the black box theatre with seating, full lighting and a lighting booth for productions. They built an addition to the barn, which currently houses the township administrative offices. The chicken house became a broadcast studio for radio programming.
Yellow Springs Institute sold its property back to Historic Yellow Springs in 1997. HYS utilized the space for programs, cultural performances and meetings.
In 2005 HYS sold the property to West Pikeland Township. The township offices are located here, in addition to a meeting room. The black box theatre is currently leased by SALT Theatre.
Next time you see a township police officer, ask them if they enjoy working in a former chicken coop!