“The boat party was the first to arrive. Rounding the curve in the river, where for so many years since then it has been flowing under the Dayton View bridge, the pioneers perceived before their eyes the swift current of Mad River emptying itself into the main channel, just as it had been described, and saying to each other (so we may imagine), ‘Yes, this must be the place,’ they tied the pirogue to a tree at the head of St. Clair Street and led by Mrs. Thompson, all clambered ashore.
At that moment DAYTON came on the map!”
– Charlotte Reeve Conover, The Story of Dayton.
Two hundred and twenty-one years ago tomorrow, Dayton was founded. To honor this occasion, we decided to share some of our favorite pictures we’ve taken around Dayton.
Also, please send us your favorite picture you’ve taken around Dayton, and we’ll feature it in a future blog post! You can send it to our email at email@example.com – and be sure to provide your name for photo credit!
- 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.
Curious about the early roads of Dayton, and their namesakes?
- The following streets were named after the towns they went to: Troy, Bellefontaine, Wilmington, Belpre, Germantown, Xenia, and Salem (later changed to Clayton).
- King – William King, an early settler of Dayton.
- Mad River, the former Wayne Township (now Huber Heights), Wayne High School, and Wayne Avenue are all named for Major General “Mad” Anthony Wayne.
- Abraham Lincoln credits the first mention of his presidential race to Dayton, Ohio.
- On March 30, 1901, the Dayton Daily News was run by a women-only editorial staff. Local historian Charlotte Reeve Conover approached James M. Cox and asked him to allow the Young Women’s League to run the paper for one day to raise money for a new building. Despite predictions of failure, the paper not only went to press on time, but the demand was so high, they had to work overtime to compensate. The ladies received a check for $1,800 for their efforts.
- Walter Stebbins High School was originally Mad River Township High School, where Stebbins was the superintendent from 1943 to 1960. After his death in 1960, the school was renamed in his honor.
- Dayton was home to many burial mounds. There was one found on the corner of Mound Street and 5th street, one on Dayton Street, one north of the head of Central Avenue, one of Huffman Hill, one on Neibert Farm, and one in Oakwood. Most of the mounds were removed for city expansion.
- Woodland Cemetery had a record 225 burials in 1848, due to the cholera epidemic.
- The construction of Huffman Dam required moving the entire village of Osborn from the location that was to become a flood basin. It was joined with the village of Fairfield and is now known as Fairborn. Huffman Lake was created when soil was removed to build the dam.
- First Girls’ School – Opened in March, 1815, by Mrs. Diomecia Sullivan on the west side of Main Street, south of Third Street.
- First Show – A display of “wax works and figures,” on February 13, 1815.
- First Fire Engine – Came from Philadelphia and through Cincinnati, and arrived in Dayton in the spring of 1826.
- First Milliner – The first millinery store was opened by Ann Yamans in June 1815. She advertised her supply of goose feathers, and announced that military gentlemen could find her shop on Main Street, south of Second Street, with a full stock of plumes and decorations.
- First Masonic Lodge — The Masonic Lodge, and the first fraternal organization here, was St. John’s Lodge No. 13, the charter of which was granted by the state Grand Lodge at Chillicothe on January 10, 1812.
- First Bank — The first banking institution in the city was known as the Dayton Manufacturing Company. It was incorporated by the legislature in 1813, and began business on December 13 of that year, in a building at the first alley south of Monument Avenue on Main Street.
- First Stone Residence — About 1813, William Huffman built the first stone residence at Third and Jefferson. It served as both dwelling and store.
- First Workman’s Association — Formed at McCullum’s Tavern on Saturday, March 15, 1813, and known as “The Workman’s Association.”
- First Regular Ferry — Charles Tull opened the first regular ferry in Dayton at the head of Ludlow Street in December, 1814.
- First Big Fire — Grist mill, fulling mill and two carding machines operated by Colonel Robert Patterson near the present site of NCR burned on Oct. 7,1815.
- First Market House — It occupied a frontage of 100 feet on Second Street, extending west from Jefferson and was formally opened on July 4, 1815.
- First Laundry — The first laundry in Dayton was started by John Williams on Second Street, west of Main Street, in about 1870.