Interesting Dayton Facts

During one of our research sessions at the library, we found a great book, For the Love of Dayton: Life in the Miami Valley 1796-2001, that was published by the Dayton Daily News in 2001. The book chronicles the history of Dayton year-by-year in little blurbs, and there were a lot of fascinating facts that we just had to share!

  • 1803 – Colonel George Newcom became the first sheriff, serving until 1809. He took little pity on lawbreakers, lowering alleged offenders into his empty well, where they remained until trial.
  • 1866 – Reynolds and Reynolds – Lucius D. Reynolds was a thrifty printer who thought, “why couldn’t the Gardner & Reynolds print shop outsmart its competitors by printing large quantities of standard business forms – and then sell them in small quantities to local businesses?” Business took off, and the print shop near First and Main became Reynolds and Reynolds. Today, it’s North America’s fifth-largest supplier of stock continuous forms.
  • 1878 – Dayton’s first hospital – St. Elizabeth – 2 Franciscan nuns from Cincinnati approached local physician, Dr. John Reeve and asked him to help them start a hospital in Dayton. By July 2, they were scrubbing and disinfecting walls and floors in preparation. By July 25, they admitted their first patient, a railroad brakeman with a crushed arm. St Elizabeth’s Hospital, which accepted the indigent sick, was dedicated August 15th. The sisters cared for 187 patients that first year, and nearly 100 after 3 years. The hospital soon had seven physicians, and Dr. Reeve remained Chief of Staff for 30 years.
  • 1900 – The Great Dayton Fire – The fire started in the back of the JP Wolf and Son Tobacco warehouse at First and Foundry Streets and spread quickly, fueled by the tobacco. The blaze began February 1st at 6:25 am, and by noon, help came in from Springfield, Cincinnati, and Columbus and got the fire under control. The damage was $600,000. Firefighter George Coy, injured when a burning wall fell on him, was asked how he felt after regaining consciousness. “Better than 10 dead men” he replied.
  • 1910 – “Because newspapers don’t make money, that’s why” – direct quote from Valentine Winters to James Cox, explaining why he rejected the loan request to build a larger DDN building.
  • 1910 – Pay As You Enter (PAYE) boxes were installed on Dayton Street cars to prevent dishonest conductors from pocketing fares.
  • 1932 – 16 streetcars and two buses burned in the August 24th car-barn fire at the Dayton Street Railway Company at Lorain and Pritz Avenues. With its oil-soaked floors and wooden roof beams, the barn went up fast. The blaze devastated Dayton’s street car business, which was already reeling from strikes, rising expenses, and of course, the automobile.
  • 1943 – Keeping the grass mowed at Woodland Cemetery was a perpetual job. Once the mowing was finished, it was time to start again. In April, About 100 sheep were turned loose on Woodland’s lawn. Unfortunately, the sheep had a taste for the exotic trees and plants and it made them sick, and in some cases cause erratic behavior. By July, administrators gave up on the idea.
  • 1950 – Town & Country Shopping Center in Kettering opened.
  • 1950 – Ohio Supreme Court ruled that the half-percent city tax was invalid. Dayton citizens did not like this ruling and took to the streets, collecting signatures and had the issue put back on the ballot. Voters passed the tax increase by a whopping 75% majority. Dayton became the first city to restore a tax formerly declared illegal.
  • 1951 – Ronnie and Donnie Galyon – Dayton’s own Siamese twins – were born on October 28. Doctors decided against separating the two, who were joined at the abdomen and spent some of their youth touring with a circus before settling down in Dayton.
  • 1954 – Believe it or not, minks were what inspired Paul Iams, a self-taught animal nutritionist, to create what he called the first nutritionally-complete dog food. Visiting a mink ranch, Iams noticed the glossy coats and vitality of some dogs there. When he learned the pooches were eating the same food as the minks, he went to work – eventually developing a premium dog food and founding the Dayton-based Iams Company.

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2 thoughts on “Interesting Dayton Facts

  1. I came across this book recently when doing some Dayton research. Was a great read with a lot of facts spanning diverse time periods. I like the ones you’ve chosen to highlight here!

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