- In 1920, Dayton had no unsolved murders.
- During WWII, Lieutenant Harry Zavakos was reported MIA and presumed dead after his plane was shot down over China. He was actually found by the Chinese and slowly moved across the country to be returned to his unit. During the time the Chinese transported Zavakos, they continually fed him fried chicken.
- Flight personnel gave Dayton the moniker “The Popcorn City” due to the popcorn sold at Wileswood Country Store. Some ground crews would refuse to work on aircrafts if the flight crews did not return from a trip to Dayton with “Dayton popcorn.”
- In 1979, while excavating for the Gem Savings headquarters, the skeleton of an adult male was discovered. The site was originally the location of Dayton’s first cemetery. Since the bodies had never been moved from the location, one theory is that this particular skeleton was John Davis, an early Dayton pioneer.
- Dayton’s most successful professional sports team was the Dayton Gems, a hockey team that played in Dayton from 1964 to 1977.
- Electricity was introduced in Dayton in 1882, when the first electric light turned on in the Dayton Morning Journal office.
- Ponderosa Steakhouse, which was founded in Indiana, moved its headquarters to Dayton in 1968, where it flourished for decades.
- During WWII, there was such a drastic labor shortage in Dayton, that a job draft was considered to fill the positions.
- Of the original purchasers of the land for Dayton, Jonathan Dayton’s name was chosen because it was considered the most pleasing name to grace the township.
- Dayton’s first hanging took place on a gallows east of the river, where Sinclair Community College is now located. This fact is the basis for the storied hauntings of the campus.
- Dayton’s flood of 1866 cost the city a quarter of a million dollars and left only the corn crops standing in its wake.
- Dayton born Daniel Denison Bickham pitched for the Cincinnati Reds in 1886 for one game. He returned to Dayton when his father called him home because he felt baseball was “not a gentlemanly sport.”
- Charles Bickham, Daniel’s brother, was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor in 1904 because he “crossed a fire-swept field, in close range of the enemy and bought a wounded soldier to a place of shelter.“
- Father to Daniel and Charles Bickham, William Bickham, was Dayton’s leading newspaper editor. After the riot that burned the office of the Dayton Journal, Bickham arrived to revive the paper and return it to financial stability.
- The Wright brothers built their first glider for about $15.
- The expression “You’re fired” dates back to John Henry Patterson, founder of NCR. Patterson was reported to have terminated an employee by having his desk taken outside and set on fire.
- The name of the horse in the statue with John H. Patterson in Hills and Dales Park is Spinner.
- The Ohio accent is the basis of the accent taught to newscasters – The Ohio accent is considered to be so bland that you don’t hear the accent, just the words.
- The group Stars of Joy was the first local African American gospel group to air on WHIO TV.
- Possum Run Creek got its name from the great number of possums being caught in the lowlands.
- John H Patterson urged the city to build a road over the canal, and that’s how Patterson Boulevard got its name.
- The Thomas Clegg house on the corner of First and Jefferson is Dayton’s oldest continuously occupied home. Downtown used to be a glamorous place for the rich to live in young Dayton, but the 1913 flood and increasing noise of streetcars and traffic made downtown living less appealing. The house was renovated in the early 2000s for condo use.
- The Wright Brothers purchased Spruce from Requarth Lumber in Downtown Dayton for the second and third Wright flyers.
“April 1, 1796. Landed at Dayton, after a passage of ten days, William Gahagan and myself having come with Thompson’s and McClure’s families in a large pirogue.”
– Benjamin Van Cleve, in his journal.
“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.
Founder’s Point at Riverscape. Underneath the canopy, there are some footprints in the concrete simulating the steps of the settlers. Also, there is an etching stating, “On April 1st, 1796, the first settlers of Dayton, led by Samuel Thompson, came ashore near this spot. The party included the first Daytonian, Benjamin Van Cleve. According to one account, the first person to set foot on shore was Catherine Van Cleve Thompson, great-great-grandmother of the Wright brothers.”
Howard Burba, a well known Dayton Daily News reporter in the early 1930s, wrote many stories centering not only around Dayton events, but Dayton itself. One of which was an article he found from the New York Daily Graphic, October 29, 1878. Quotes from this article describe Dayton as seen through the eyes of C. H. Miller, a New York journalist.
Here are some excerpts from the article he wrote:
- “Dayton, the county seat of Montgomery Co., is universally conceded by visitors to be one of the most beautiful cities on the continent. And its surroundings are equally attractive. It is notable for its broad, clean, smooth avenues, its uniformly comfortable and numerous elegant residences, its admirable public school system and school houses, its handsome church architecture, its numerous and large manufacturing establishments and the general air of thrift and solid comfort which pervades the community. It is indisputably one of the most delightful of inland cities for a home, and as reliable in its established wealth and credit as any fortunate city in the Union. These are features which impress all strangers, and the well-contented people of Dayton are pardonable for the pride they take in their most enviable city.”
The plot of Hamilton follows the life of Alexander Hamilton, which ended after a duel (or affair of honor)with politician Aaron Burr. Burr was later implicated in traitorous plots against America, along with one of Dayton’s founders, James Wilkinson, who was also Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. Army at New Orleans. Burr and Wilkinson conspired to commit treason by using their positions and working with both France and Spain at different times to take land for themselves to establish a separate country.
In 1806, Burr wrote Wilkinson a “cipher letter,” and Wilkinson panicked, double-crossed Burr, and sent a letter to President Jefferson, telling him of Burr’s activities. This letter led to Burr’s arrest for Treason. Wilkinson then testified in court, heavily emphasizing Burr’s role in the acts of Treason. Burr was later acquitted of the crimes.
Edward Andrew Deeds was born on a farm in Granville, Ohio on March 12th, 1874. Deeds graduated as valedictorian from Denison University in 1897 and came to Dayton in 1898 to work as an Electrical Engineer for the Thresher company. In the same building was the headquarters of NCR, and in 1899, Frederick Patterson offered Deeds a position at “the Cash.”
In 1854, two Jewish immigrants named Isaac Pollack and Solomon Rauh began a business partnership dealing whiskey and wine in Dayton from a warehouse on West Third Street.
Eight years later in 1862, Pollack served as a corporal in the civilian Squirrel Hunters during the Civil War and was regarded as a hero after the Squirrel Hunters successfully defended Cincinnati from an attack by the Confederate army. At the end of the war, Pollack and his friend Rauh started to build two identical homes on West Third Street.