Dayton, Ohio – The Gem City
As the sixth largest and fourth most populated city in the state of Ohio, Dayton covers an area of approximately 56 square miles that is situated along the Great Miami River. Located in Montgomery county Dayton is home to 166,179 people, according to the 2000 census. Dayton is best known for its historical affiliation with aviation. Known as the birthplace of aviation, Dayton was the home of the Wright brothers, Orville and Wilbur, who invented powered flight. The city is also the location of the National Museum of the United States Air Force and Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, one of the largest employers in the region.
The city has a rich history of inventions and innovations and holds the record in the number of patents per capita. In addition to the Wright brother’s first powered airplane, inventions that have come out of Dayton include the cash register, microfiche, the movie projector, parking meters, gas masks the parachute, and the pop-top beverage can. The city of Dayton offers residents a diverse selection of cultural attractions, exciting outdoor activities, a host of sporting events, and a large selection of dining and night life
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The History of Dayton
In 1796, a group of twelve settlers who were known as “The Thompson Party”, traveled from Cincinnati on the Great Miami River to discover a camp inhabited by Native Americans. It was there that they settled along with two other groups that arrived days later. The location of this settlement is now Dayton’s historic St. Clair Street. Eventually, the majority of the settlement land was owned by Jonathan Dayton and in 1805, the city was named Dayton and was incorporated.
Due to the elaborate canals and waterways that were constructed in the early 1800’s, Dayton became one of the most prosperous and largest Ohio cities until 1913 when the city was devastated by the Great Dayton Flood, which is the largest natural disaster in the history of Ohio. The flood culminated from a series of winter storms and the failure of surrounding levees that managed the Great Miami River. In the aftermath of the flood, more than 350 people were killed and parts of the city were engulfed in 20 feet of water. As a result of the flood, many of the city’s historic buildings were lost and replaced with more modern buildings and architectural styles. Because of this, Dayton appeared to look more like a newer Western city than a city that founded in 1796. It is not entirely clear how Dayton came to be known as “The Gem City”, although most believe that the name came from a famous 1845 article that was published in the Cincinnati Daily Chronicle in which the author called Dayton “...the gem of all of our interior towns.”
Life in Dayton
Dayton, Ohio is a thriving Midwestern city that provides its residents with a reasonable cost of living; 23 percent lower than the U.S. average, and a median home price that is considerably lower than the national median home price.
In 2008 and 2009 Dayton was selected by Site Selection magazine as the best mid-sized metropolitan area for economic development. In 2010 Dayton was given the honor of being the best place in the U.S. for a college graduate to find employment according to Bloomberg Business Week. Although Dayton has had its share of crime, in recent years, the officials of the city have been successful in dramatically lowering the crime rates of Dayton and have reported a steady decline in crime since 2003. In fact, targeted crimes in the city of Dayton declined 39 percent over a five year period of 2002 through 2007. Additionally, surrounding suburbs of Dayton boast some of the lowest crime rates in the state.
Dayton Job Market
The economic outlook in Dayton is relatively diverse. The city was ranked as the best medium sized city in the U.S. for economic development. What does this mean? It means that Dayton has a lot to offer potential businesses that choose to relocate to the city. The rising numbers of companies that are calling Dayton home are largely a result of the teamwork and dedication of city officials who strive to grow the Dayton economy. Because of this growth, Dayton was also named one of the best places in the U.S. for a college graduate to get a job in 2010.
Wright-Patterson Air Force Base is the fifth largest employer in the state of Ohio and employs over 27,400 residents. In addition to Wright-Patterson, several major corporations including Reynolds and Reynolds, CareSource, Cargill, NewPage Corporation, Huffy Bicycles, LexisNexis, Kettering HealthNetwork, Premier Health Partners, and MeadWestvaco are headquartered in Dayton and are some of the area’s largest employers. Future employment in Dayton will be impacted by the work currently in progress by state officials who are working to make the Dayton region a leader in the area of Unmanned Arial Vehicle (UAV) research and manufacturing. Wright-Paterson Air Force Base has been in the forefront for development of UAV technologies and private sector companies who are clamoring to be a part of this industry are looking at the Dayton area.
The dining scene in Dayton is as diverse as the city’s history. From pizza to burritos, you will find it in the downtown Dayton area. Some of the more notable local favorites include: Cassano’s Pizza King – A locally owned and operated franchise that serves signature pizzas, subs, salads and other noteworthy Italian foods. Marion’s Pizza – With seven locations throughout Dayton, Marion’s has become renowned for unique pizzas and has received the “Best Pizza” award 23 times.
Hot Head Burritos – A favorite place for locals to get an authentic taste of Mexican food. Pine Club – Known as the best steakhouse in Dayton, the Pine Club gained some notoriety when Vice President George Bush was made to wait in line for a table as the restaurant does not take reservations. The Oakwood Club – A selection of culinary delights including Midwestern beef that is aged to perfection, unique seafood entrees, and large choice of wines.
From music festivals to aviation museums, there are many activities to keep you busy and entertained in Dayton. The National Museum of the United States Air Force is next to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and is the biggest and oldest military aviation museum in the world. More than 1.3 million people visit the museum each year. Rated one of the top ten art museums in the U.S. for children, the Dayton Art Institute houses more than 20,000 objects that span 5,000 years of art and archaeological history.
Celebrate the lives and achievements of Dayton’s aviation pioneers Orville and Wilbur Wright and Paul Laurence Dunbar at the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park. Do you remember the Packard car? Then you may want to visit America's Packard Museum. This is a fully restored Packard Dealership that has more than 50 restored Packard vehicles and artifacts from the Packard Motor Car Company. The PNC Second Street Market located in downtown Dayton is a local shopping favorite. The Market includes vendors selling fresh produce, baked goods, and a variety of arts and crafts.
If you are looking for a music venue, the Fraze Pavilion is located in the suburb of Kettering and hosts many world renowned musicians. Additionally, the University of Dayton Arena, home of the University of Dayton Flyers, hosts various concerts and sporting events. History and art are combined in the Oregon District, a historic residential and commercial neighborhood that houses art galleries, pubs, nightclubs and coffee houses. Among Dayton’s annual festivals, the Dayton Celtic Festival held in July is the most anticipated of the year. The Dayton Blues Festival and the Dayton Reggae Fest are also events that attract a large number of visitors.
Dayton and the surrounding suburbs provide a variety of clubs, bars, and restaurants that are sure to satisfy everyone’s style. Hammerjax is a large club that is located on East Fourth Street in downtown Dayton. The huge dance floor and three bars are only upstaged by the great lightshow and sound system.
Lotus, The Gather Place is Dayton’s place to see a jazz band, taste wines, and see art shows. The bar seats 110 and the outdoor patio seats 60. The club caters to professional groups. Sloopy’s is a favorite place for bachelor/bachelorette parties and has nightly drink specials. Gilly’s, located on Jefferson Street in downtown Dayton, is open all night and features live music and an upscale atmosphere.
The historic downtown area of Dayton is filled with shops and boutiques that carry interesting and unusual gifts, art, antiques and clothing. If you prefer national chains set in shopping malls, Dayton has that as well. Dayton Mall offers shoppers over 160 different stores that include several major department stores.
The Mall at Fairfield Commons provides aver 170 stores set in a two-level ultra-modern mall. Town and Country Shopping Center is home of over 70 upscale retailers and a favorite shopping destination among locals. Located on the Montgomery Fairgrounds, Treasure Barn Antique Mall showcases over 40 of Dayton’s best antique dealers. Feathers is an interesting shop that is a favorite to local Dayton shoppers. At Feathers, you can find everything from antique mirrors to vintage clothing, and sunglasses to glassware.
Healthcare in Dayton
Many Dayton area hospitals are nationally recognized in the healthcare industry. In fact, US News and World Report gave several Dayton hospitals top ranking in their “List of America’s Best Hospitals”. Kettering Health Network was also ranked as one of the top ten hospital networks for clinical excellence in the U.S. The highest rated hospitals in the Dayton are the Miami Valley Hospital and the Kettering Medical Center.
In addition to Dayton’s high level of hospital care, the city is also home to several medical institutes and centers including the Center for Tissue Regeneration and Engineering at Dayton, which is known as a leader in the science and development of human tissue regeneration. Dayton also is proud to be the location chosen by the National Center for Medical Readiness (NCMR). This facility is houses Calamityville, which is a training facility for disaster readiness and is responsible for creating a large positive economic impact to the city of Dayton. Dayton healthcare also includes the Neurological Institute at Miami Valley Hospital. This highly rated institute focuses on the diagnosis, treatment, and research of neurological disorders.
Dayton offers visitors a welcoming variety of hotels in all price ranges and styles. Visitors can choose from many national chain hotels that cater to the business traveler including Marriott, Holiday Inn, Red Roof, and Residence Inn. Families will enjoy the amenities of such hotels as Comfort Inn, Fairfield Inn, and Residence Inn.
If you are looking for more unique accommodations, try Crowne Plaza or the Doubletree located in historic downtown. The English manor Bed and Breakfast is known for its charm. The beautiful English Tudor style mansion provides visitors a tranquil stay in rooms that are comfortable and wonderfully furnished. If staying close to the airport is important, there are plenty of options that will fit any budget. Visitors can choose from Hampton Inn, Drury Inn Suites, Courtyard by Marriott, Comfort Inn, Best Western, and America’s Best Value Inn.
The Dayton public school system in made up of 34 different campuses. Together, these schools educate 16,855 students. Among the more noted schools are Paul Laurence Dunbar High, Thurgood Marshall High, Meadowdale High, Belmont High, Stivers School for the Arts, and Ponitz Career Technology Center.
Private education in the Dayton area is provided by 35 private schools all located in the city limits. Private institutions include Archbishop Alter High School, Chaminade-Julienne Catholic High School, The Miami Valley School, and Carroll High School. Dayton also has its share of Charter schools and is rated as the nation's top charter school district with 33 charter schools to choose from. As for higher learning, Dayton was ranked the 10th best metropolitan area in the United States for higher education by Forbes. Dayton is the home of two major universities. The University of Dayton is the largest private university in Ohio and ranks in the top ten of all Catholic universities in the United States. The second major university in the Dayton area is Wright State University, a public institution that is a known leader in biomedical research.
Other Dayton colleges include Sinclair Community College, which is one of the nation’s largest and best community colleges, Miami-Jacob's College, an International School of Broadcasting, and Dayton School of Medical Massage. There are also several s schools located just outside of Dayton. These include the Kettering College of Medical Arts, DeVry University, Clark State Community College, and the Air Force Institute of Technology.
Getting Around in Dayton
Public transportation in Dayton is managed and operated by the Greater Dayton Regional Transit Authority (RTA). The RTA operates all of the city bus routes for the Dayton metro area making Dayton a very easy city to get around. The RTA not only uses traditional diesel-powered buses in their bus routes, but they also utilize electric power. Several electric trolleys run daily throughout the city in addition to the standard diesel-powered buses.
The electric trolleybus systems have been operating in Dayton, Ohio since 1933 and are one of only five remaining electric trolleybus systems left in the entire country. Since 1888, Dayton has continuously operated some form of electric powered transit in the city. The city also has a Greyhound Station that supplies inner-city busing in and out of Dayton. The Greyhound station is located in the Northwest Hub of the Greater Dayton Regional Transit Authority.
The city of Dayton offers a sports enthusiast a full range of games and venues. Baseball - The Dayton Dragons are a minor league baseball team that is the affiliate to the Cincinnati Reds. The team is so popular that they are the only minor league team that has ever sold out an entire season.
Collegiate – NCAA basketball is hosted by the University of Dayton whose home team is the Dayton Flyers. Wright State University also hosts NCAA basketball and is home to the Wright State Raiders. Hockey – The International Hockey League’s Dayton Gems play at Hara Arena. Football – Dayton is proud of its historical affiliation with football. In 19020, the Dayton Triangles played the Columbus Panhandlers in what is now considered one of the first professional football games ever. Today, Dayton teams include the Dayton Flyers and the Dayton Diamonds. Golf – Dayton is well known for its golf courses and clubs, most notably the Miami Valley Golf Club, Moraine Country Club, NCR Country Club, and the Pipestone Golf Course. Four PGA Championships have also been held in Dayton as well as the 1986 US Women’s Open and the 2005 US Senior Open. Rugby Union – As the administrative home to the Dayton Area Rugby Club, Dayton hosts games from three different squads at Eastwood Metropark.
What’s Around Dayton?
The areas around Dayton offer visitors many activities and excursions including tours of historical sites and some of the best views of nature in the country. Cyclists take part in the annual Covered Bridges tour that starts in Dayton and covers up to 105 miles of routes that showcase ten covered bridges. The event takes place in early summer.
In the early 60’s, workers excavating land to build a sewage treatment facility, uncovered the Native America Fort Ancients settlement. Now called Sun Watch Indian Village, this site is believed to have been constructed in the 1200’s and is on the National Register of Historic Places of 1974. While strolling through this partially reconstructed village, visitors experience the ancient tribe’s way of life through artifacts and exhibits. Just off SR 725 is Miamisburg Mound. This 65 foot tall knoll hill is an ancient burial mound of the Adena Indians. Originally constructed in 800 – 1000 AD, the site is now surrounded by a 37 acre park that allows visitors magnificent views as well as the chance to learn about the Adena Indian’s way of life.