In Chris Schwarz Blog, Personal Favorites

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On Wednesday morning the entire staff of the magazine crowded around a handmade door in an early 19th-century structure as our guide fiddled with a padlock on the door. A couple clicks later the door swung open and it sounded like everyone breathed in simultaneously.

The small room behind the door was filled with original Shaker pieces, most of which we’d never seen. An elegantly proportioned chest of drawers with frame-and-panel sides. A small side table. A blanket chest. A dozen chairs.

These were some of the treasures we discovered on a visit to the White Water Shaker Village, a mostly unrestored village about 30 minutes from our office. Tucked into a rural area of Hamilton County, the White Water Village is virtually unknown, both to woodworkers and local residents. But it is made up of 20 intact original buildings, including the trustee’s office, a dwelling, the meeting house, three shops and many barns and stables.

The White Water Shakers
were active from 1824 to 1916 in a variety of trades, from making brooms, silk, seeds, molasses and honey.

Next week look for a web story about our visit with lots of photos and details of this amazing and almost-unheard-of work-in-progress. Meanwhile, click here to see more photos from our visit.

– Christopher Schwarz

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Showing 5 comments
  • Tom Dugan

    I never knew this community existed before, either. Back in my bachelor days years ago I made a tour through the New England villages, but never made it out west. Pleasant Hill was the extent of my knowledge. Thanks for bringing this one to public attention!

    Google Maps has a good street view, BTW. Just enter 11338 Oxford Road, Crosby, OH. The view is from a few years ago.

    -T

  • Doug

    Sounds great, but did you see any renegade Vulcans?

  • Chuck Nickerson

    Will somebody please work to insure the site/information is preserved, documented, and accessible? If some main-stream museum gets control, nothing interesting will ever see the light of day.

    Chuck

  • Wm Claspy

    The first chance I get I’m going to check my copy of Hageman’s "Ohio Furniture Makers" to see if this community and its makers are mentioned. Cool find, Chris!

  • tom fidgen

    Chris,
    This sounds pretty cool…very excited to see some pics and hear more about it. I’ve always been a big fan of Shaker furniture design and their lifestyle – I suppose it’s what originally drew me to Woodworking Magazine way back when.
    I’m picturing you with a Fedora on your head and a whip hanging off your belt as you went in…
    Looking forward to the post.
    Cheers!

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