Dayton’s 225th Anniversary

“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.

imageFounder’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.”

This Day in History – November 6th, 1967

Phil Donahue’s talk show premiered November 6, 1967 on WLWD-TV in Dayton. The first guest to appear on the show was atheist Madalyn Murray O’Hair.

Considered to be a pioneer of the genre, Donahue’s show included controversial topics and had audience involved in the story, interacting with the host and guest and often asking questions.

Born and raised in Cleveland, Donahue moved to Dayton to host a phone-in radio show called Conversation Piece. This show aired from 1963 until the start of his show in 1967.

The Phil Donahue Show was later syndicated and went on to be the most watched syndicated talk show in 1980. The show won twenty Emmy awards and was inducted into the national Television Hall of Fame. The show ran in syndicate for twenty-six years, finally dipping in rates when other talk shows chose more inflammatory topics, while Donahue strayed away from the shock tactics. When the show ultimately went off the air in 1996, it had aired nearly 7,000 episodes in total.

This Day in History – October 3rd, 1920

On October 3rd, 1920, the Dayton Triangles beat the Columbus Panhandles in what was the first game of the NFL.

The American Professional Football Association, renamed the NFL in 1922, was formed in Canton, Ohio on September 17, 1920. The first game was played right here in Dayton, Ohio.

Workers from local factories such as Dayton Engineering Laboratories Company (Delco), Dayton Metal Products (DMP Co), and Domestic Engineering Company (Deco, later renamed Delco-Light) made up the roster of the team. The three factories formed an industrial triangle, which lead to the name of the team.

The first game was played at Triangle Park. During that game, Triangles Player Louis Partlow scored the first touchdown of the NFL and Triangles Kicker George “Hobby” Kinderdine kicked the first extra point. The other touchdown of the game was scored by Francis Bacon, with another kick by Kinderdine. With a 14-0 victory, the Dayton Triangles won the first game of the NFL.

This Day in History – June 24th, 1955

Happy 65th Birthday, Kettering!

On June 24, 1955, an official proclamation from the Ohio Secretary of State elevated the Village of Kettering to an official city.

A few facts about Kettering:

  • Kettering has two sister cities: Steyr, Austria and Kettering, England.
  • Kettering was named after Charles Fitzgerald Kettering, a resident of the community and prominent inventor and innovator.
  • According to the 2010 census, Kettering has 56,163 residents.
  • Continue reading

This Day in History – February 2nd, 1923

On February 2, 1923, the first leaded gasoline was sold in Dayton, Ohio.

Thomas Midgley, a chemist, worked with Charles Kettering at General Motors Research Corporation. Kettering had modified an internal combustion engine to produce greater horsepower, but it resulted in “engine knocking.” Midgley added tetraethyl lead to the fuel, which eliminated the problem. Kettering named the mixture “ethyl gas” and they first sold it at a station owned by Kettering’s friend, Willard Talbott. The gas was a success.

Unfortunately, leaded gas was toxic to humans and the environment. Workers in plants producing the gas were exposed to lead poisoning. Many died and others went mad. The gas was eventually phased out in the 1970s when the federal standards became stricter.

This Day in History – September 22nd, 1942

On September 22, 1942, Tony Stein enlisted in the Marine Corps. Tony graduated from Kiser High School in 1939 and worked for General Motors in the Delco Division before enlisting.

As Dayton’s only WWII Congressional Medal of Honor Winner, Tony earned the honor by his heroic actions during the Battle of Iwo Jima. While in battle, Tony went from one enemy pillbox to the next, killing 20 enemy soldiers. His gun was shot out of his hands not once, but twice. When Tony ran out of ammunition, he ran back to the beach for more, carrying a wounded fellow soldier with him. Tony removed his shoes and helmet to help him move quicker. When Tony dropped the soldier off at the beach, he grabbed ammo and ran back into action, dropped off the ammo, then returned with another injured soldier. Tony repeated this cycle many times, ultimately rescuing eight soldiers. The Marine Corps still honors him through the Tony Stein Workout.

Tony died on March 1, 1945. He was killed after volunteering to locate enemy machine gun placements that pinned down his company at Mount Suribachi. Tony was buried with honors in Calvary Cemetery in Dayton.

For the full story, check out our story Tony Stein – Dayton’s Superhero.