On April 1, 1796, only seven years before the admission of Ohio to the Union, the city of Dayton was founded. Twelve settlers known as “The Thompson Party” ventured up the Great Miami River and discovered the area. In 1805, the city was named after American Revolutionary War Captain Jonathan Dayton who happened to own the land.
Dayton is nicknamed the “Gem City” and for three decades was advertised as “The Cleanest City in America.” Ohio’s nickname “Birthplace of Aviation” is seen throughout Dayton for it is the hometown of the Wright Brothers, Orville and Wilbur.
Dayton is considered one of the forerunning cities in regards to Ohio industrialization. It continued to prosper throughout the twentieth century until the Flood of 1913. This natural disaster caused significant loss of life and property and temporarily halted the city’s growth. However, the people of Dayton recovered and rallied together to create the Miami Conservancy District to limit future flooding.
Dayton has been the site of some very noteworthy historical events. On November 29, 1964, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered a speech to over 6,2000 people at the UD Field house (presently the Thomas J. Frericks Center) on the University of Dayton campus. Additionally in 1995, The Dayton Agreement, a peace accord between the parties in Bosnia-Herzegovina and the former Yugoslavia, was negotiated in the Dayton area. This event hailed Dayton with the phrase “temporary center of international peace.”
Dayton’s city structure is unique for its area. The streets are broad and straight downtown with two or three full lanes in each direction. This was due to Dayton’s early history as a marketing and shipping center. The streets were wide enough to enable wagons drawn by teams of three to four pairs of oxen to turn around.
Today Dayton is a metropolitan hub of arts, culture, technology and healthcare with a strong sense of history and a community sense of pride for the city’s roots.
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