History

The past that made Ohio the place it is today

1920 primary

In summer of 1920 the United States Congress had just proposed the 19th Constitutional Amendment, giving women the right to vote, and was waiting for the states to ratify it. In the mean time the presidential election was still in full swing. Through out the states no candidate earned major support. Both parties had to go to their conventions without a major front runner.

Republicans:

The republican party was Had many front running candidates during the state primaries. The least of which was Warren G. Harding. He only won his home state of Ohio. Many other candidates, including Hiram Johnson, Leonard Wood, and Frank Lowden, had gotten more popular votes and won more delegates. By the time of the June 8th convention no candidate had won a majority of the delegates.

Over nine ballots the party was deadlocked. As the story goes in a “smoke filled back room” of the Blackstone Hotel the republican leaders decided to nominate the Senator from Ohio to make sure and win that state away from the democrats who were expected to nominate Ohioan James Cox. Being the 3rd largest number of electoral votes Ohio was a major battleground state. On the tenth Ballot the next day the republican party had chosen a candidate. They hoped a former newspaper editor from western Ohio could win them the office. The man they chose was the  Senator from Ohio, Warren G. Harding. His running mate was Massachusetts Governor, and future president, Calvin Coolidge.

Democrats:

The Democrats at the time held the White House with Woodrow Wilson, who had beaten Ohioan William Howard Taft. Having won the Great War, Wilson had tried to stop the next major war by forming the League of Nations ( an early version of the United Nations.)  The stress of the war and the fight for the League exacerbated the president’s health problems.  On October 2, 1919 he suffered a stroke. By February of the next year it was publicly known. Wilson believed he was a shoe in for a third term. Democratic officials knew they needed a new candidate for president.

After a weak showing in the state primaries no candidate was a front runner for the office by June 28th.  Wilson was still hopeful and blocked candidates hoping to make himself the default choice. Democrats considered  William Gibbs McAdoo and  Alexander Mitchell Palmer, both in Wilson’s cabinet. After 44 votes the party finally decided on a candidate. They hoped a former newspaper editor from western Ohio could win them the office. The man they chose was the Governor of Ohio, James M. Cox. His running mate was the assistant Secretary of the Navy, and future president, Franklin Roosevelt.

More information: 

The Library of Congress collection on 1920 elections has many a great selection of memorabilia and recordings from the candidates and campaigns. The songs, sample ballots and speeches are a great way to see how elections were held in the past.

Patterson Homestead Plaque

Patterson Homestead

https://www.daytonhistory.org/visit/dayton-history-sites/patterson-homestead/

1815 Brown St, Dayton, OH 45409

Before Ohio could become a state it needed residents. Before settlers would arrive there needed to be someone to explore the area and decide on a good place to settle. Along the Ohio river in what is now southwest Ohio that group was American Revolutionary War Col. Robert Patterson, Israel Ludlow, John Filson, and Matthias Denman. They bought a portion of land from the Symmes Purchase and founded the city of Losantiville, which was later renamed Cincinnati. After all his fighting and founding Patterson decided to settle down in the newly formed city of Dayton in 1804. He would stay there until his death in 1827. The homestead he left would go on to house 3 generations of his family, including John Patterson, the Industrialist and founder of NCR.

At one point the homestead covered 3 sq miles and was a major fixture of the city. The house is a small 2 story structure located on top of a hill. It has three rooms on each of its two floors. At the time of its construction it was adequate for it use. The majority of the family’s life would have been spent out on the large farm.  Over the years that farm became the University of Dayton, NCR national Headquarters, and many other places in the city.

Today the homestead is a museum and event center near the University of Dayton. The house is open once a month during most months of the year for a free open house and tours. Tours are given by well informed guides and only take an hour. The house is not much different than other historic homes of the era. While it is a simple home tour, the nearby Woodland Cemetery , where Robert Patterson and many of his family are buried, can make a full day of Dayton history.

CRYPTOZOHIO: Creepy Columbus

Cryptozohio - Stories from the Depths

We have talked about a lot of creepy places across the city before. The ghosts of OSU, the creepy graves of Green Lawn, the creepy creatures of the Ohio History Center, or the most haunted government building. Here are a few more creepy places:

Camp Chase:
During the Civil war space was needed to train soldiers. Space was also needed to house prisoners of the war. Camp Chase was such a place. Unfortunately not all the prisoners made it to the end of the war. The training grounds are gone but the graves remain in the Camp Chase Cemetery. A lady in grey is said to be found from time to time searching the grave markers for her lost love. Soldiers have also been reported come back to the site.

Ghost Trolley:
Just outside Columbus is a little hidden gem of a museum. The Ohio Railway Museum. While most of the state may not know of the place, come October it is crowded with people hoping to get a ride on the Ghost Trolley. Aimed at younger kids, riders are given a short ride then the lights are turned out and the story of the Ghost Trolley is told.

Chief Leatherlips:
Chief SHATEYORANYAH was a Wyandot leader. He was well liked by most and was given the name “leatherlips” because he always kept his promises. He was also one of the signers of the Treaty of Greenville. He was also worked with the American settlers. This angered many of his people, including his brother Roundhead. He ordered Leatherlips executed for witchcraft.  He was buried in Dublin, Ohio.

After his death the site was untouched until 1889 when a monument was built. As the story goes when it was built workers unknowingly had the correct location and disturbed his bones. The bones were replaced and the headstone was lovingly placed. All was good. A local golf tournament that is held nearby is said to be cursed however for bringing to much traffic and noise to the area. Almost every year the event is rained on, with it having to be shortened some years.

In a near by park is a larger statue honoring the man. This statue is more well known and is where most people visit. The head is large and an overlook is on top it. The face seems to be staring off in to the distance.

Otherworld:
Otherworld (https://otherworldohio.com) is a permanent art display in an abandoned shopping center. It is a strange place with things everywhere, but unlike an art museum this place is open for touch. Half of the exhibit is just figuring out what is interactive and what is not. There is no description to the story and the visitor must find out what is going on on their own. All that is known is

“You have volunteered as a beta tester at Otherworld Industries, a pioneering tech company specializing in alternate realm tourism. But upon arrival at the desolate research facility, you’re left on your own… Exploring restricted laboratories inevitably leads you to discover a gateway to bioluminescent dreamscapes featuring alien flora, primordial creatures, and expanses of abstract light and geometry…”

The whole place is well themed and trippy. While the place is not haunted it is very creepy. The artists did a great job of theming the location. Every room is different but fit well together. A great place to have a night out and be creeped out, without worrying about bringing anything strange back with you.

Kahiki Supper Club

Kahiki Supper Club

Long ago in the land of Columbus was a special place where visitors could take a journey to a far away land and experience the magic of the Island life, all with out leaving Ohio. The place was the Kahiki Supper Club. The largest Tiki themed restaurant in the country and it was a sight to see.

In the late 1940’s Servicemen returning from the war in the pacific brought back idealized stories of the island life. As the 1950’s economic boom spurred on the consumer culture, people began looking for things to do. With Hawaii on track to become a state, and the stories of the servicemen becoming more romanticized, Tiki culture was born. For a few dollars average citizens could escape to a far away island.

Lee Henry and Bill Sapp were looking to cash in on this cultural trend. They decided not only to make a themed restaurant, but to make one of the largest. The Kahiki Supper Club, 3583 E Broad St, Columbus, OH 43213, was a landmark. The building was designed to look like a traditional men’s meeting house of new Zealand, but much, much larger. From the street the the complex looked like a Las Vegas resort. The building was at the center with a driveway leading past it to a parking lot. The light up signage was in a faux polynesian font. The landscaping was low and framed the building. To enter the restaurant guest passed to massive Heads. Beyond them was a moat and a small bridge. By the time visitors had even stepped inside  they were already being transported away.

Kahiki Menu Picture

The lobby housed a fountain, with a gift shop and restrooms around the sides. George, the fountain, is now on display at Grass Skirt Tiki Room. Once inside the main dining room the true vision of the owners could be seen. The room was set up like a small Tahitian village. The lobby, bars,  and side seating areas were separate buildings. One wall was aquatic with many fish tanks. The other wall was a rainforest with a thunderstorm brewing outside. Watching over the whole place was a giant tiki head fireplace. The fireplace became the icon of the restaurant ending up on menus, and almost anything it could be placed on in the gift shop.

One of the main aspects that drew people to tiki culture was the drinks. In traditional pacific culture rum was not used. In American Tiki culture the Caribbean island staple was added to almost every drink. The drink menu at the Kahiki was as large as the fireplace and as vast Pacific itself. The restaurant had not one but 3 bars, The Maui Bar and Cocktail lounge, The Outrigger Bar, and the Music Bar, where the Kahiki Beachcomber Trio would preform. They even recorded an album there.

Kahiki drink menu

In the 1970’s Tiki culture started to wain. Restaurants and buildings were starting to get old and in need of updating. Many tiki places were lost. The Kahiki was a landmark of Columbus and Ohio. It stayed strong. In 1988 the owners decided to sell to Michael Tsao. Tsao wanted to expand the brand and started a line of frozen food. Eventually in the late 90’s the building was in need of repair. The neighborhood had changed and the tiki culture was dying. Tsao decided to sell the land. He had hoped to rebuild in a new location, but died before any plans could be made. The Kahiki was torn down and a chain drugstore was put up in its place.

As the Tiki culture, and having a night out as an adventure, makes a comeback citizens of columbus and Ohio fondly remember back on the great restaurant of the islands.

 

Day Trips in the Dayton Area

Have a day to spend in Dayton? Want something to do, and You’ve already done The National Museum of The United States Air Force. Here are a few day trips you can take.

History of Dayton

  1. Carillon Historical Park – Website – The historical Museum of Montgomery County. A great place to learn about what made Dayton a worldwide name. Well worth a visit.
  2. Woodland Cemetery – Website – Where all the most famous citizens of Dayton are laid to rest.
  3. Pine Club – Website – The best steakhouse in the area. Has an old school feel. Does not take reservations, and is cash only, but is worth it.

The Birthplace of Aviation (Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park)

  1. Wright-Dunbar Interpretive Center – Website – The starting point of the National Park. Tells the early life and times of the brothers and the area. Has a recreated Bike shop next door.
  2. Paul Laurence Dunbar House – Website – The house of famous poet and friend to the Wright Brothers.
  3. Huffman Prairie Flying Field Interpretive Center – Website – teaches about the field in which the Wright Brothers perfected flight.
  4. Huffman Prairie Flying Field – Located on an Air Force Base and can be closed at times – The field where the Brothers made flight a reality and the oldest flying field in the world.

Sports!

  1. Wegerzyn Gardens Metro Park – Website – a neat garden with many things to do and see
  2. Triangle Park – Website – Site of the First ever NFL game.
  3. Taqueria Mixteca – Website – A very authentic Mexican Joint
  4. Fifth Third Field – Website –  Home to the Dayton Dragons. The only field that has sold out ever game it ever has had (over 1400).

The Arts

  1. Dayton Art Institute – Website – celebrating the visual arts in Dayton for over 100 years. A great place to take kids
  2. Dayton Metro Library – Main Branch – Website – A really big building dedicated to educating the community. Has great art, books on art, and a little bit more inside and all around.
  3. The Benjamin and Marian Schuster Center – Website – Dayton’s largest theater in the preforming arts district. Almost always something to see.

This is only a small idea of things to do in Dayton. As with most all in Ohio there is way more to do than can probably be done in a week.

Dayton Metro Library’s New Branches

Locations: http://www.daytonmetrolibrary.org/locations

http://www.daytonmetrolibrary.org

We previously mentioned that the Dayton Metro Library has a plan to change and update all of its branches. But how has that plan turned out?

The Main Public Library:

The new main branch from the outside seems completely different. As if the old building was torn down and a new one built. This is mostly the case. The main structure was saved but the building was rebuilt. The building was enlarged to almost 4 times it’s previous size. Administrative offices and services for the entire system were given their own building freeing up even more room. The difference is very noticeable.

Parking was always a problem in the busy downtown area around the library. A new underground parking garage was added and eliminated a lot of the problem. From the garage, or the street, patrons now enter into a large open “lobby”. Where as the old branch had an entrance / checkout area, the new branch has a large 3 story entryway with an inviting staircase topped by a new art installation. The entryway is the first taste patrons will get of the much more open design.

“Fractal Rain” an art instillation at the Dayton Metro Main Branch

The open design is also evident in the shelves themselves. With the new focus on community space, and less on physical media, the materials the library offers are integrated into the openness without being any sort of a focus. Somehow they feel both hidden and easy to find at the same time. The collection shares space with the technology available for use. The computers, digital microfiche machines, seating, and tables all take up space through out the building with no single dedicated space.

The new building is not just one open space however. On the first floor are two exhibit rooms. They are used to show of community works, traveling exhibits, or any of a variety of other things. There is also is a multi-use lecture hall, The Eichelberger Forum performance space . Where the old buildings hall and spaces were hidden, the new building makes them a focal point. One wall of the Forum can be opened for an inviting space, or closed for a more formal hall. Upstairs there is a black box theatre, a green screen room and the technology to use it, a Dayton History room, and a quite outdoor patio with nice views of the city.

Through out the branch are space for the community to come and interact, or to be alone. There are many small group rooms, each equipped with a large monitor / TV, a desk, and comfortable seating. These reservable spaces can be used as a meeting space for professional or recreational use. There is a large quiet reading room to get away from the noise. Like to cozy up to a fire and read a good book. They have a few of them with plush seating too.

Local Branches:

The new local branches are just smaller more community centric versions of the Main branch.  Instead of cookie cutter branches the Dayton Metro Library built unique places that reflect the spirit of the local area, while delivering to the needs of that community. Each building is adorned with art work inspired by pieces of art, selected by the community, from the Dayton Art Institute’s collection. They have a 24 hour lobby with self check in and hold lockers. No longer does a late night worker have to worry about the branches hours to get and return items. The local branches also all have computers, laptops, tablets, and more available, with friendly staff to assist any needs. Like the main branch the focus has turned away from the physical collection and more to the community. The shelves are smaller and more tucked away, but still easy to navigate. The extra space has been given to small group study areas, quiet reading rooms, fireplaces and comfy chairs, and a single large Community Room. The community rooms even have outside entrances for after hour use.

The Dayton Metro Library’s goal in the system wide update has changed the feeling of the branches from grab and go to a place to stop and relax. All this has been done while they have been able to meet the needs of each community, from a need for more computers in some areas, to more community space in others.

As this is written more and more branches open. Not all branches are finalized and we are excited to return sometime and see how the new ones look. 

Dayton Metro Library’s History of Change

Locations: http://www.daytonmetrolibrary.org/locations

http://www.daytonmetrolibrary.org

The first library in the Northwest Territory was a small library Israel Putnam started at Belpre in 1795. In the early days patrons paid a fee to use the library. Many libraries came and went with the needs, and economy, of the area. Eventually taxes were used to fund more permanent libraries and in 1901 The Brumback Public Library in Van Wert, Ohio, was dedicated as the first county library system in the nation.

Dayton’s first library service was founded, in 1805, not long after the city. This library was not to last and all the books were sold in 1820. in 1847 a new library was founded. It was housed in “two rooms of the second floor of the Steele Building on Main Street“. In the 1880’s a permanent building was needed. A plot of land deeded by Daniel Cooper as a park to the citizens of Dayton was used. In the 1960’s, almost 100 years later, a new building was built. During that time many of the local branches had been built.

Fast forward to the present. Few new branches had been built and many of the older branches were showing age and straining to keep up with the advances in technology and population growth. The main branch was crowded and falling apart. It still had bomb shelters from its cold war days. With the advent of digital technologies, the internet, and home video, libraries around the world had changed. More than just an upgrade to the buildings was needed.

Around 2008 The Dayton Metro Library decided to upgrade everything, not just renovate buildings with more abilities. This plan, called Facilities For Results, was to be a renewal of the entire system. The old libraries were small and as more technology and materials were added they became cramped. All buildings were to be rebuilt or expanded, some relocated to nearby spaces with more room. Some where closed and the branches realigned.

With the use of paper reference materials, books and encyclopedias, giving way to the ease of access and speed of updates provided by the internet, libraries have less need for shelve space and more need for open / multi use areas. The new branches have more space for computers, digital technologies, reading spaces, and dedicated youth areas.  Instead of being just collections of books, they are dedicated to meet all informational needs of their communities.

No longer just dedicated to giving they are now places for makers to make, groups to meet, and the community to be a community. Each branch sits in and serves a different community and the Library has taken this to heart. What might work in one place, might not bee needed in another. Each branch is designed for the area it serves. Locations with more youth have larger children and teens sections. Some have more need for computer space, some for quiet reading areas.

Because of the work the Library took to plan not just for each branch but for the system as a whole, the Dayton metro Libraries new branches are a welcoming, innovative, and unique space  ready to change with and meet the needs of its patrons for years to come.

 

Victoria Theatre

Victoria Theatre

138 N Main St, Dayton, OH 45402

https://victoriatheatre.com/venues/victoria-theatre/

Theater has a long history in the Buckeye state. in the early days it was preformed in city halls, churches, and living rooms. After the Civil War there was an explosion of theaters across the state and the country. The industrial revolution had made cities larger and with more people came more need for entertainment. Dayton was no different. In 1866 the Turner opera house opened.

After a few years it burned down and was rebuilt. This new theater lasted changed names a few times but lasted into the 20th century. In 1913 heavy rains flooded the city and the Victoria Theatre. The theater was rebuilt but only 5 years later a fire gutted it. After rebuilding again the theater found fame. Housing plays, orchestra concerts (even creating The Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra in 1930), and movies, the theater was in its prime. With the spread of the suburbs in the late 1960’s the theater, and downtown Dayton, faced economic decline. In 1970’s it was scheduled to be torn down. Dayton citizens, with their history of saving classic old buildings, found a way to save the building by founding the Victory Theatre Association. In 1988 the Arts Center Foundation acquired the theater and after $17.5 Million in renovations opened it as the Victoria Theatre. The organization did so well in bringing theater back downtown that it was able to open the Benjamin and Marian Schuster Center across the street.

The Victoria Theatre is one of the state’s classic old theaters. Updated slightly, and modernized with new equipment, the feel is still that of the 1988 renovation, which harked back to the original look of the place. The lobby houses a small bar / concessions area and restrooms. At the end of the lobby are the doors to the main floor of the theater and the stairs to the upper lobby and balcony. Inside the theater the seats are comfortable and the view decent. The older style seating can lead to obstructed views depending on the people sitting in front of one. The 1154 seats themselves are comfortable and not to small. The balcony has a steep rise and most seats have a good view from it. The stage is large enough to not feel out of place in the venue.

The theater is smaller than some of the other venues in the state. While the Broadway touring productions have moved across the street to the large Schuster Center. The intimate size is not as well suited for the larger productions any more, as the shows get grander and grander. The venue is great for the smaller shows the theater preforms. Small musical groups, one man shows, and family theater are housed there and do quite well. The theater even returns to it’s movie palace heydays in the Summer with the Cool Film Series.

From its early days after the Civil War to its revitalization to its modern use, The Victoria Theater has become a main stay of the Dayton, and even Ohio, theater scene.