The Yellow Spring

What exactly causes the Yellow Spring to be yellow? In a nutshell, iron.

A spring is defined as water overflowing from an aquifer. In this particular spring, the water underground is clear, but turns yellow when it hits the air. The iron in the water becomes rust when exposed to air, and turns into the well-known yellowish orange color that gave Yellow Springs its name. Experts theorize the water may run through an iron deposit underground (called a vugg) or the geology of the area could just contain excess iron.

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Liberty Tower

After the flood of 1913, Second Street faced a new frontier. As it had previously been occupied by mansions and apartment buildings, the flood pushed residents away from downtown, moving them to Salem Avenue and Far Hills Avenue. This created the prime opportunity for development.

Planning for the Liberty Tower started in 1929, and construction started the next year. It took 11 months to create what was Dayton’s tallest building at that time. Liberty Tower was the tallest building in Dayton from 1931 until the construction of the Kettering Tower in 1969. The Mutual Home Building, as it was known then, was built out of concrete and steel and 23 stories tall. Attendants manned the garages and state-of-the-art elevators, giving an air of elegance.

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Interesting Street Names

  • Cline Street – Once known as Zigzag Street because it ran along an open ditch, called Seely’s ditch, but has long since been straightened.
  • Hoover Avenue – Not named for the president, but for local residents and the Hoover Park plat developed in 1917.
  • Demphle Avenue – named for Sebastion Demphle, a local stove dealer.
  • Babbitt Street – A T.S. Babbitt lived at First Street and Bridge Street, later Stratford Lane.
  • Kiefaber Street – named after Warner Harshman Kiefaber Sr, who graduated from St Mary’s Institute class of 1905 and later founded the W.H Kiefaber Company on Keowee Street and Monument Avenue in 1920.
  • Oxford Avenue, Yale Avenue, Harvard Boulevard, Otterbein Avenue, and Wittenberg Avenue – Named for colleges.
  • Shaw Avenue – named for George Shaw, and early settler of Dayton
  • Best Street – named for Ed Best, a local jeweler.

Water you doing, Dayton?

In the late 1800s, sinks had 3 faucets. Far left was hot rainwater, far right was cold, and the middle was Holly Water. Also known as drinking water, Holly Water got its name because the first city waterworks used Holly’s Patent Elliptical Rotary Pumps to get water from two wells. The rainwater came from cisterns in people’s yards, collected from roof runoff and brought into the house via pumps.

Before Holly Water, residents drank well water, benefiting from the filtering effects of the porous sub-soil. By the 1860s as more and more people moved into Dayton, those water sources became compromised, with an increasing amount of cesspools infringing on the borders of these wells. This led to the first Board of Health being created in 1868. A Committee was formed to address the issues, ultimately choosing the “Holly System.”

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Oddball Street Names

A few odd street names in the Greater Dayton Area – some with an explanation, some just explain themselves!

  • Chicken Bristle Road, Farmersville: bristle is short, stiff hair. Chickens have bristle feathers.
  • Rip Rap Road, Huber Heights: Rip Rap is stone used to protect shore lines from erosion.
  • Grinn Drive and Barrett Road, West Chester: make up the intersection “Grinn and Barrett.”
  • Sweet Potato Ridge Road, Brookville
  • Dotcom Drive Troy: Named after the internet term.
  • Eaton and Cereal intersection in Hamilton: make up the intersection, “Eaton and Cereal.”
  • Experiment Farm Road in Troy.
  • Fishworm Road just outside Cedarville in Greene County.
  • Turkey Foot Road off Upper Bellbrook Road.

Farmersville Bottle Farm

“I would live by my wits while my brothers live by the sweat of their brows.”– Winter Zellar (Zero) Swartsel, Grandfather of Pop Art

Tired of the hard-working routine of Farmersville, Zero and a friend decided to bike first to New York City, head west, then travel the world, collecting items along the way. Later, his home in Farmersville and also his yard would be decorated extensively with these items. His twenty-two acre farm soon became a canvas for his art, using glass he collected from “wasteful” people.

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Source: Remarkable Ohio

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More Interesting Dayton Facts

  • Susan Koerner Wright, mother of Wilbur and Orville, enjoyed making things for and with her children. Reportedly, her husband Milton could not hammer a nail straight, and she was the handy person in the family. She often made toys for the children, and even put together some small appliances to make her household chores easier.
  • In 1900, Dayton listed more inventions than any other city in the United States.
  • John Patterson could not stand Charles Kettering, and would often fire him from his company, NCR. Edward Deeds would always hire him back.
  • During rainy seasons, carriages would get stuck in the mud. To remedy this, huge logs were buried under the mud, lining Dayton streets in a “corduroy” fashion, preventing wagons and animals from sinking.
  • Dayton has a history of big floods. In 1847, the levee broke as a result of residents near the river taking dirt from too close to the levee to fill potholes.
  • James M. Cox, founder of Dayton Daily News, served two terms as Governor of Ohio. He also unsuccessfully ran for President of the United States in 1920.
  • No unsolved murders occurred in Dayton in 1920.
  • Julia Shaw Patterson Carnell believed Dayton should have an art museum. She opened one at St. Clair and Monument in 1920, with 3 exhibits being permanent. Seven years later she offered the city a large, Italian villa style building, finished in 1930. Julia paid the operating expenses for the Dayton Art Institute until she died in 1944.
  • In the late 1950s doctors at WPAFB were given an assignment – to pick out astronauts. Unsure of what astronauts were, they discussed with the government until they concluded that they were something like test pilots. Of the men recruited, they picked men who fit their criteria, arbitrary items such as age, size, height, etc. When the government reviewed the list, they asked why there was no marine on the list. The doctors had picked one out, but he was slightly older and slightly taller than their cutoff points. That man was John Glenn.
  • The David Bernie family was listed in the Guinness Book of World Records in 1976 for having the most physicians in a single family. In the 1930s, General Practitioner David Bernie met Helen Kuhr. Helen’s brother Abe was a family doctor and his wife Hortense specialized in Pulmonary Medicine. Helen and David wed and had eight children. Of the three daughters, all three married doctors, and one became a doctor herself. All five of the boys became doctors. Of their fifteen grandchildren, about five of them became doctors.
  • Washington Presbyterian Church Cemetery, located at the corner of Miamisburg-Centerville Road and Southwind Drive (next to Midas), holds 89 graves, including Revolutionary War General Williams Dodds. The graves range in dates from 1830 to 1898.
  • Reverend David Winters organized the first reformed church located on Ludlow Street. For 17 years, he preached sermons in both English and German, with crowds so large that extra benches would be brought in for accommodation. Many couples wanted him to perform their wedding ceremony, as there was popular belief that any marriage over which he officiated would be prosperous. In his ministry, he married over 5,090 couples. Over time, he retired from the Ludlow Street church to focus on more rural churches until approached by a group of his friends, requesting that he help them found a German Reformed Church. Together with an Evangelical Lutheran Congregation in the neighborhood, the two denominations joined together to build a church. To honor their minister, they named the church David’s Church.