Katharine Wright Haskell

The youngest of the seven Wright Children, Katharine Wright Haskell was an amazing person and she needs more credit.

When Katharine was 15, her mother Susan died of tuberculosis, leaving Katharine to care for her entire family on her own. Katharine was the only surviving daughter and the responsibility for caring for the household fell to her. Despite the amount of work she had to do at home, Katharine persisted in her studies at Central High School and attended Oberlin College. She graduated in 1898 as one of the few co-ed students in the US at the time and the only child of Susan and Milton to have a college education. She took a position teaching Latin at Steele High School and hired a maid to help with household chores.

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Street and Bridge Honorary Designations

Perhaps you’ve seen the blue street signs above the regular street signs with names on them. Did you recognize the names? Did you wonder who they were or what they did? Here’s a list of many from around the Dayton area.

This list is thanks to the book Hidden History by Tony Kroeger, with a small amount of Googling on our part.

  • Page E. Gray Jr. Way (Liscum Drive) – Gray was the first African American to hold a position other than custodian at NCR. He was a parts inspector and later became an assistant design engineer during the 1960s.
  • Mick Montgomery Way (Patterson Boulevard) – Montgomery owned Canal Street Tavern.
  • Betsy B. Whitney Way (Wilkinson Street) – Whitney was a philanthropist and volunteered for many causes, including the YWCA, which is located on Wilkinson.
  • Paul Deneau Way (Fourth Street) – Deneau was an architect of several Dayton buildings, such as the Grant-Deneau Tower at 40 W. Fourth Street and the Lakewoods Tower at 980 Wilmington Avenue.
  • Ambassador Richard Holbrooke Memorial Bridge (Salem Avenue bridge) – Holbrooke was an American diplomat and a leader in the development of the Dayton Accords in 1995, which helped bring an end to the war in Bosnia.
  • Erma Bombeck Way (Brown and Warren Streets) – Bombeck was a writer whose humorous column and books were widely read. Bombeck grew up in Dayton and is buried at Woodland Cemetery.
  • Mike Schmidt Parkway (Riverside Drive) – Schmidt played in Major League Baseball for eighteen seasons for the Philadelphia Phillies, where he was three-time MVP and 12-time All-Star. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1995.

Fun Facts about the Van Cleves

One of the first settlers to Dayton and one of the big names as well, how much do you know about Benjamin Van Cleve? Here are some facts about Benjamin, and his son John.

Benjamin Van Cleve (1773 – 1821)

  • His marriage to Mary Whitten was the first marriage registered in Dayton. They had one son, John.
  • Benjamin accompanied the first party of settlers to Dayton.
  • Benjamin established Dayton’s first library, post office, and school, all in his log cabin.

John Van Cleve (1801 – 1858)

  • He was a child prodigy. At 16, he was teaching Latin and Greek and translating plays from German and French.
  • He contributed collections to Dayton’s first natural history museum
  • Helped found Woodland Cemetery
  • Was reportedly over 300 pounds and very sensitive about his appearance. He refused to marry and would not sit for portraits or photographs.

Edith Deeds

Edith Deeds was born in Spring Valley in 1869, to Samuel and Mary Walton, and was the older sister of William Walton. In her early life, Edith studied music, painting, and languages at Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana. Though her father Samuel was a Quaker, the family attended the First Baptist Church after moving to Dayton. It was there that Edith met Colonel Edward Deeds. Edith and Edward married on June 5, 1900. Throughout their marriage, Edith assisted her innovative husband and the infamous Barn Gang by performing office work and participating in the development of the automobile self-starter.
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Windows of Woodland

Have you ever visited the mausoleum at Woodland Cemetery and seen the beautiful stained glass windows all throughout the building? We highly recommend going in person! Also make sure to pick up the brochure with more information about these gorgeous works of art!

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Dayton Sights: Wright Brothers Benches

It wasn’t luck that made them fly; it was hard work and common sense; they put their whole heart and soul and all their energy into an idea and they had the faith.” – John T. Daniels, who witnessed the first flights.

There are reportedly nine identical benches sculpted by David Evans Black, located all around the Dayton area. On the edge of the seat on the front, it reads, “Dedicated to the immortal spirit of Daytonians Orville and Wilbur Wright…” and continues on the back seat-edge with, “whose gift of powered flight lifted our world forever skyward.” The bench is designed to be reminiscent of the bench shown in the famous photograph of the Wright brothers’ first flight.

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Going Out With a Bang: My God, I’ve Shot Myself

Clement Vallandigham (July 29, 1820 – June 17, 1871)

It was going to be the biggest case of his life. Fifty year old Dayton Attorney Clement Vallandigham was to defend Thomas McGehan, who was charged with murder for a barroom brawl turned deadly in Hamilton, Ohio. Having been unable to find a jury un-swayed by newspaper reports in Hamilton, the trial moved to Lebanon.

Vallandigham and his partner, Daniel Haynes, formed a practice that had become “one of the best and ablest in the West”, with stories of Vallandigham making final pleas so persuasive that the jury was left in tears. Nobody researched more than he did, and he was adept at anticipating the rebuttal arguments of the opposing lawyers.

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Winter in Dayton

With all the snow we’ve been getting lately, we wanted to share some of our favorite pictures from this winter, and winters past!

Also, if you have any great winter pics to share, please send them to us at daytonunknown@hotmail.com and if we may just share your pictures too! Please make sure to provide your full name for photo credit!

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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.
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