Most visitors to the Cincinnati area have heard about the Pleasant Hill Shaker community (currently under renovation) or perhaps South Union. But few know about Whitewater, which is less than 30 minutes from downtown and is only occasionally open to the public.
While I was at Popular Woodworking Magazine, we wrote extensively about the village in our backyard, helped raise money for the meeting house’s new windows and donated several furniture reproductions of pieces owned by Whitewater that the organization could use.
Somehow we lost touch with the organization, and the crop of editors at the magazine at the time was scattered to the winds.
Today a group of us returned to Whitewater to get acquainted again and see the progress during the last decade. It was as inspiring as the day I first set foot in the village, and it was nice to see some important improvements (public bathrooms!) and lots of mechanical repairs that will help ensure the buildings last.
It was also great to see the organization’s furniture collection again, which is now organized and interpreted for visitors. Whitewater specialized in making brooms and seeds, so there likely wasn’t furniture made there on a regular basis. But there are some nice Shaker pieces that have come from villages all over the country.
It is definitely worth a visit. If you are interested in seeing a Shaker village in the early stages of restoration, keep your calendar clear for September 2018. There will be two days when the village is open to the public – Sept. 9 and Sept. 30. You can see the organization’s complete calendar here.
Though I’m not a magazine editor anymore and don’t have same influence, I hope to continue to help Whitewater in some smaller way.
— Christopher Schwarz
Next up, I’ll write a bit about the unusual workbench stored at the village.