The Vale

The Vale is an intentional community located just south of the village of Yellow Springs, Ohio, on approximately 45 acres of land. Currently, we have 19 members, plus two young children and several friends and renters living in 11 houses. We share the land with communities of oak, walnut, maple, tulip poplar, and other native trees and shrubs, and the many critters that live in these woods. We have a passion for gardening, both shared and individually. Our intent is to steward this beautiful land, which is contiguous with Glen Helen Nature Preserve, with awareness and loving care. We are not an income sharing community, but we do share many acts of neighborly kindness, including weekly potlucks. As an Ohio non-profit corporation, we have elected officers, a board of trustees, and regular monthly meetings in which we attend to common concerns.

The Vale land was gifted to Arthur Morgan, then president of Antioch College, and his wife Lucy by Hugh Taylor Birch in 1929 at the time that he gave the land for Glen Helen to Antioch College. Lucy named it “the vale of the tanager” after seeing a scarlet tanager on the property. Arthur and Lucy later gave the land to their two sons, and the area now known as the Vale was their son Griscom's parcel. In the early 1940s Griscom was developing the idea we now call “intentional community”. He and his wife Jane, an Antioch graduate, had a vision of creating such a community on the land. Griscom, having been influenced by Native American teachings, felt strongly that land is a gift from the Creator to be enjoyed and cared for by all, not just for the wealthy few. In 1947, following the birth of their son John, Griscom and Jane invited three other like-minded families with small children to join them in creating The Vale community. The founding families were all members of Yellow Springs Friends Meeting (Quakers), and had been conscientious objectors during World War II. To this day, the Vale still practices Quaker principles of “sense of the meeting” and consensus in its business meetings.

Over the years, other families came to join the Vale, some becoming members, others staying for shorter or longer periods of time. During the past 70 years many people have called the Vale home. Two of our original founding members still live here, as do three adult children, and one adult grandchild of founders. We are now raising our fourth generation of Vale children!

For several decades, until the early 1980s, Jane Morgan, Peg Champney, and others operated The Vale School, a gentle alternative learning environment for children through the third grade, drawing its students from the wider Yellow Springs and Miami Valley communities, as well as Vale children.

The Vale was incorporated in 1961, and in 1986 became one of the first community land trusts in the country with Community Service, now Community Solutions, holding title to the land. The Vale Inc. leases the land from Community Solutions, and the members sub-lease the land their homes occupy. As per the sub-lease agreement, in recognition of the privilege of using the land, each Vale member contributes 3% of the value of the subleased land annually to a charitable purpose, in lieu of rent. Also part of the sublease agreement is a cap on the re-sale value of Vale homes, with the intention of keeping them affordable in perpetuity. Fifteen acres of the Vale are under a conservation easement, and cannot be developed.