George Washington in Yellow Springs

High on the wall of Yellow Springs Community Library is a big plaster bas-relief—a sculpture of shallow depth, like the head on a coin. It is a depiction of George Washington and his troops crossing the Delaware River in 1776, a copy of the famous painting by Emanuel Leutze that hangs in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

Where did it come from? Apparently, students at Yellow Springs’ old Union Schoolhouse on Dayton Street raised funds for the sculpture soon after the school was built in 1873. When the Village of Yellow Springs renovated the school in 1985, they found the piece in the basement. It was given to the Yellow Springs Historical Society, restored by local artist Alan Macbeth, and hung in the library.

It is considered a particularly outstanding bas-relief because of the fine detail in the foreground and background figures. Unfortunately, the name of the original artist is unknown.