Yellow Springs has a long history of being a tourist destination. Our village once housed several large resorts from almost the moment the earliest settlers made this their home. People came to Yellow Springs from all across Ohio to enjoy a bit of fresh air, rest and relaxation in our quiet little village.
The resorts eventually closed in the late nineteenth century and since then we have never really had a venue for larger groups to stay while visiting the village. One hundred and forty-six years later, we are awaiting the opening of Yellow Springs’ newest hotel, the Mills Park Hotel. While the Mills Park Hotel will not be as large as the earlier Yellow Springs’ resorts, I’m sure that its walls will be filled with similar sounds and visions as once experienced in the Neff House.
William Neff purchased the initial resort in 1842 which included a mansion house, piazza, six cottages, a bowling alley and stables. The resort thrived until the early 1860s when William Neff died. Neff’s sons invited some of their wealthy friends to Yellow Springs in order to plan a bigger and better resort. Construction on the “Second” Neff House began in July 1869.
As published in the Xenia Torchlight on December 1, 1869:
The new Neff House with its continuous front of three hundred and sixty feet, begins to reveal it proportions to the public. The building will be four stories high and a porch, or verandah, twenty feet wide and forty five feet high running the entire length of the building, will afford ample promenading room for the tenderhearted and romantic, however soaring their feelings may be. The drawing-room is to be forty-five by seventy-five feet, and the dining room forty-five by one hundred and thirty feet, while the eating and drinking, dressing and dancing, love making and flirting that will be done within those charmed walls and upon those charmed porches and around and through those sylvan groves will be–well, we’ll wait and see, but it will be something immense.