Dayton Firsts Part 10

Time for some more firsts!

  • First Canal boat – The first canal boat built in Dayton was christened the Alpha and was launched on Saturday, August 16, 1828, at 2 p.m. The first canal boat to arrive in Dayton with the formal opening of the canal was the General Brown. It arrived at the landing near the present site of the main branch of the Dayton Metro Library on January 26, 1829.

  • First Mayor – In 1829 a new charter went into effect in Dayton. Under it, the chief executive of the city became referred to as the Mayor, instead of the President of Council. Under the new charter John Folkerth was made the first Mayor of Dayton.


  • First Catholic Church – Robert Conway and family moved to Dayton from Baltimore in 1831, and were the first Catholic family in Dayton. Conway brought Reverend Father Collins up from Cincinnati to Dayton to lead services. With the arrival of Irish and German settlers in 1833, services were conducted in a one-story bakery building on St. Clair, across the present site of the main branch of the Dayton Metro Library. Their building was erected in 1837, on the present site of the Emmanuel Catholic Church.

  • First Board of Health – Organized in 1832 when the Cholera Epidemic swept the town when the disease was brought in by a canal boat full of German immigrants.

  • First Telephone – The first telephone was installed in 1878, with 10 subscribers. The first exchange was located over what was then the Kiefaber Fruit Store, at 118 E. Third Street.

  • First Electric Light—The first electric light in Dayton was turned on on Friday evening, February 16, 1883.

  • First Laundry – The first laundry in Dayton was started by John Williams on Second Street, west of Main Streen, in about 1870.
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