What Dayton, Ohio Should Do to Become a Model City
John H. Patterson speech given March 19, 1896


What Dayton, Ohio, Should Do to Become a Model City.

 

An address delivered by Mr. John H. Patterson, President of The National Cash Register Company, at the Dayton Centennial banquet at the Beckel Hotel, March 19, 1896, together with a letter recently written by President Patterson to the president of the business Men’s Boosters’ Club of Dayton.

 

“Our country calls not for the life of ease,

 but for the life of strenuous endeavor.  Let

us therefore boldly face the life of strife,

   resolute to do our duty well and manfully;

resolute to uphold righteousness by deed

and by word; resolute to be both honest   

and brave, to serve high ideals, yet to use

practical methods.”

           Theodore Roosevelt

 

 

What Dayton, Ohio, Should Do to Become a Model City 

 

New York, Jan. 17, 1907

 

Mr. J. Russell Johnston, Dayton, Ohio

     Dear Sir: I see by the Dayton papers that the Booster Club proposes making some kind of a demonstration or a visitation on my return home, and I note that you are president of the club.  While I wish to thank the club for its kind intentions, I must positively decline any reception, demonstration or resolutions.

 

Proposed Removal a Serious Matter

 

     The proposed removal of our plant from Dayton is too serious a matter to treat lightly.  It is a business proposition and we place Dayton in the same position that we place other cities; that is, we will be pleased to show the business people of Dayton through our plant, and let them judge of the value it is to Dayton, and after they have seen it, we will be pleased to have their propositions as to what they will do to have The. N.C.R. Company’s offices and factory remain in Dayton.  I must say, however, that there are so many reasons why we should leave Dayton, and so many advantages in locating the plant in other places, that it will be almost impossible for Dayton to retain it.

 

Things Dayton Should Do

 

     Now there are certain things that the Dayton people can do and which they ought to do regardless of whether The N.C.R. Company remains in Dayton or not.   If the business men and others in Dayton are as earnest in their protestations as they appear to be from the newspapers which have been forwarded to me, they will commence at once to improve conditions in Dayton, because works and not words will count now.  The people of Dayton should do these things in their own interest and because it is right to do them, and not solely to retain our plant.  It is not necessary to wait until I get home to start to do them.

 

Dayton Has Poor Labor Market

 

     Unless Dayton can outbid other cities she will lose our plant.  The chief disadvantage in Dayton is our inability to secure the right quality and quantity of labor at the proper cost for our making and recording forces.  This applies especially to skilled mechanics and toolmakers, machine hands, first-class stenographers, office men and heads of departments.  The kind of men we want refuse to come West to a small town because if they lose their positions they would have to move away from Dayton in order to secure other places just as good.  Hence we have to pay extra inducement to get people to come to Dayton.  They not only dislike to go to a new place where they are unknown and have to make new social acquaintances, but they refuse to go where are so few attractions as Dayton has to offer.

 

What the Gossipers Do

 

     Then if we do succeed in getting them to come to Dayton, they are told by many who are regarded as leading citizens, that they would be discharged from our Company without just cause, and many of the ideas for running our business are erratic and crazy, and it is only a question of time until the Company will be bankrupt.  That kind of talk has reached many good men whom we have tried to employ, and has prevented them from accepting the offer we made to them.

      Now, what the citizens of Dayton ought to do for their own benefit is to cause its citizens not to discourage people whom we propose to employ; nor to discourage these people after they are employed, not only for our Company, but for any other factory or business in Dayton.  The Booster Club should have some means of knowing who these people are who do that sort of thing, and to make it known to the public that these people are working against the interest of Dayton.  Besides this, people we want to come with us claim that the climate of Dayton is bad on account of the heat and sultry weather of July, August, September and part of October.

 

What Cooler Climate Would Do

 

     It would be worth a good deal to our Company to be located in some city where it is not so hot in summer, as it naturally affects the work of our people, for they cannot do as much work or effectual work, as they could in a cooler climate.  This amounts to considerable loss to the Company, where nearly six thousand (6000) people are employed.

     Then, we have no parks or playgrounds for these people or their children.  There is no place in Montgomery County where a family can eat their dinner under a tree without fear of molestation.   The fair grounds should be changed into a park, and other and better grounds provided for fair grounds.  Other grounds should also be purchased by the city for park purposes.

 

What Dayton Can Do for Railroads

 

     Dayton should welcome all railroads at surface grades.  It is ridiculous for a town of the size of Dayton to build a wall around itself, and say they cannot come into it, except overhead or under ground.  Nothing will make Dayton grow so fast as more railroads.  Transportation and publication make the world progress more than anything else, and just in proportion as a country, a state or a city has these things, will she progress.

      Dayton seems to have gone to extremes on this question of grade crossings, and nothing that the citizens can do could hurt the town as much as to have these reports scattered broadcast that not another railroad could come into Dayton at surface grade.  Capital is not going to invest in railroads when such conditions exist.

 

Mistake to Repair the Canal

 

     The people of Dayton should use their influence to have the state stop expending hundreds of thousands of dollars repairing the canal, which can never be of any value.  It should be converted into a railroad bed, the railroad paying the proper compensation to the state for the right of way.  When I was in China I noticed that they were making railroads of the canal beds.  When I got back to Dayton I saw that we were taking dirt out of the canal and dumping it on the railroad tracks along side of it.  Just think of the absurdity of the thing—taking mud out of a canal and dumping it on a railroad track.

     We want our plant to be connected with at least two railroads, and in case we move away from Dayton, this will help your club to induce other factories to come to Dayton and occupy the buildings which we are unable to move away from Dayton.  This would include our old office building and one or two others not constructed of steel.

 

What the Boosters Should do

 

     The Booster Club should stop the extension of the city limits.  Dayton has the reputation of being the worst governed city of the state, and many of its people seem to be proud of the reputation.  The government of the city and county should be taken out of politics, the citizens to vote for the best men regardless of party; the newspapers of Dayton to support in this movement to nominate a “Citizens’ Ticket,” instead of supporting party tickets.

     Another thing clearly needed to be done is to demand the resignation of certain seven or eight members of the Council who are a detriment to the city.  I understand that the Council reorganized a few months ago and that seven or eight members are in control of all the important committees, and one man boasts that he controls eight members of Council, and that these men defy public opinion, and have pledged each other to stick together for the passage of certain measures which are not for the best interests of  Dayton.  The members of the Booster Club know who these men and should demand their resignations.  How long can they remain in office if the people of Dayton are sincere about wanting better officials?

 

Things the Vigilance Committee Can Do

 

     Organize a vigilance committee which will look after the interests of the city and see that fair play is given to everyone—this committee to prosecute unfair officials and to make public wrongful acts of these officials.

     The mayor should appoint an investigating committee to investigate the actions of the City Council and other public officials.  I will pay one thousand ($1000) dollars personally toward the expenses of such a committee.

 

What the Police Can Do

 

     More effort should be made to put down crime in Dayton.  We should have and could have the most efficient police force of any town in the country.  Our county and state officials should co-operate to punish criminals and we should not have the awful spectacle we have had recently of county and city officials not working together to locate and punish criminals.  I learn that there are more murders in Montgomery County than in any other county in the state, and that there are three men now awaiting execution in Columbus for murder committed in Montgomery County.

 

What the School Board Can do

 

     It is cheaper to form the characters of young than to try to reform the adults.  We need a higher public sentiment in Dayton.  We need better schools and a greater variety of practical things taught in them, such as domestic economy in all its branches, cooking, laundering, marketing, gardening, home decorations, commercial and manual training.

     Free baths in connection with public comfort stations should be erected in different parts of the city.  These are necessities.  Neighborhood houses should be maintained in each ward of the city the same as the N.C.R. House of Usefulness and the Rubicon Extension House.

     Ludlow or Perry Street should be extended south of the Cincinnati pike, at a point near the Jewish burying ground, and it should be protected by a levee on the west side; the property owners paying their share of the expense of the levee.

         To avoid back water and to open up a large tract in the southern part of the city for manufacturing purposes, the old channel of the Miami in the southern part of the city should be vacated.  I mean that part lying west of the fair grounds and the bluffs down to Miller’s Ford bridge.

     More sewers should be built and all who can connect with them should be compelled to do so for the sanitary effect.  It would be cheaper to contract for sewers than to pay the penalty of ill health, as many are doing at the present time for lack of sewers.

 

What Council Can Do

 

     Stewart Street should be extended from Wayne Avenue to Edgemont.  This should have been done a long time ago, but because certain people thought that The N.C.R. Company wanted it , it has not been done.

     The streets of Dayton should be repaired and should be kept in good condition.  It should be the duty of the vigilance committee to see that the streets are repaired.  We certainly have paid enough to have our streets in first-class condition.

 

Told Dayton’s Needs Eleven Years Ago

 

     About eleven years ago at the anniversary of Dayton, I gave a talk on what should be done to improve Dayton; this talk was afterwards printed by the board of Trade.  (Attached please find copy.)  I had hoped that the churches would take it up and at least make some effort, but they have not done so.  They should be aroused now to correct public feeling in favor of all good things which would help Dayton, and to put down all things which would hurt Dayton.  If they would only do what Christ would do if He were to come to Dayton, Dayton would occupy a different position in the public mind.

     Now if Dayton business men are sincere in their desire to improve the city they should start at once to do all of the above as quickly as possible.  It is their duty and to their interest to change Dayton regardless of whether our Company remains in it or not.

 

Do Right for Its Own Sake

 

     Even though all these things should be done we will not guarantee to remain in Dayton.  These things should be done, first, because they are right and, second, because it will pay the Dayton people to do all of them whether The N.C.R. Company remains or moves away.

     The time of my return home is uncertain.  I hope to make it as early as the first part of February.  By that time I will be able to give your committee further information in regard to making our Company a proposition along other lines than I have here specified.

 

Uncertain What the N.C.R. Will do

 

     I can make no promise and do not wish to leave much hope that we will remain in Dayton.  Other cities offer us such inducements as to make it almost impossible for us to accept any proposition which the citizens will make.  However, we want to extend the same opportunities to Dayton business men as we have accorded to representatives from other cities who are competitors for our plant.  We will show them the advantages and disadvantages of our remaining in Dayton and advantages and disadvantages of our going to another city.

     All that I have suggested in this letter is for Dayton’s benefit, and what will be required to hold The N.C.R. Company will be determined by what other cities offer.

     I wish to say again that this is too important a matter for Dayton and for The N.C.R. Company to waste any words in compliments or in resolutions, in music or speech-making, and I insist that all of these things be eliminated, as things of that kind will not influence the situation one way or the other.

 

 

Work for the Benefit of Others

 

     When anyone obtains sufficient capital by which he can live comfortably on the interest of the same, and he continues to work, he does not work for himself—for the more he gets after that, the more work it requires on his part, and all of this work is for the benefit of other people.  It is not beneficial for a man to leave much money to his children.  After a man gets a competence, he only acts as a servant to the community.  He cannot wear any better clothes, eat any better food, and therefore all of his efforts must be for the benefit of employes and other people.  “He is the greatest servant who serves the greatest number.”  I have tried for many years to influence people of Dayton, including our own people at the factory, to do many things which would help the city, but I have been unsuccessful, and my efforts have been ridiculed.

 

Doing Good Gives Pleasure

 

     Doing good gives us more pleasure than anything else that we can do, and all the suggestions I have made have been for the purpose of doing good to Dayton and her people.

     Now, I think it is my duty to go to some other city where the public sentiment will be more easily influenced for good and make it possible to accomplish more good.   I have been unable to get people to agree with me in Dayton, or exert sufficient influence to get the people to do what they should do for the interests of all of her people.

     I feel that this letter is due to the Booster Club and the citizens of Dayton, and I trust it will be received in the spirit in which it is written.

Sincerely,

John H. Patterson (his signature)

 

Dayton’s Commercial Life:

The Future

 

[The following is the address referred to in Mr. Patterson’s letter to Mr. Johnston.  It was delivered in Dayton, March 19, 1896-11 years ago.  It was printed in the Dayton newspapers and many thousand copies circulated in different parts of the United States]

 

     What ought the Dayton of the future to be?  Does its greatness depend upon the matter of its population?  If it does, then Peking, with all its squalor and vice, is a great city.  To become really great, however, our city must accomplish the largest amount of good for the largest number of her citizens, uniting all the best things which exist in other cities into an ideal city.  Does she do this now?  No; and why not?  Because we are not educated sufficiently to realize our most urgent needs.  We have no definite municipal ideas.  Before we can have a great city, we must learn what a truly great city should be.  We must first educate the people.

 

The Value of Education

 

     There is a commonwealth on the eastern shore of this country whose area is less than one-sixth of that of Ohio, whose soil is sandy and rocky with few alluvial valleys, making it necessary for its people to be most industrious and economical.  With resources so meager that Daniel Webster said her people were compelled  by necessity to be so mean as to  make the water work all the way from the mountain down to the coast, where they froze and sold it, she has, nevertheless, raised the most profitable crop of any state in the Union.  This crop has been sent all over the civilized world, and has brought back larger returns than any other crop in America.  This was not a crop of vegetables, but a crop that continued to yield for fifty years, without replanting, the best crop in the world—a crop of men and women.  And what was the secret of the wonderful crop?  I will answer in two works: Harvard University.

     Now it is of vital importance that our children shall be as well educated as those of Massachusetts.  We need protection, not so much from our inferiors as from our superiors.

 

What the Board of Education Can do

     The Dayton of the future will choose for her bulwark greater schools.  The schoolhouses will be built on hygienic principles.  Children will study in an atmosphere of beauty, amid good pictures and statuary.  All schoolbooks will be sold at cost by an agent of the state, and will not be changed every three months.  We shall commence with a large number of kindergartens, the influence of which will eradicate the bad and upbuild the good in our children.

     Evening sessions of our schools will be held for those who cannot attend during the day, and we shall found a large number of scholarships for study and travel.  The news of each day will be bulletined in the schoolhouses, so that the scholars may be kept posted in current events.

     In the future, such men as Edward W. Davies, Robert W. Steele and Henry L. Brown, of honored memory, will again lead our school processions.

 

What the Teachers Need

 

     Today our schools are deficient.  This is no reflection upon our teachers, because they are far in advance of their constituents.  They are crying for improvements, the necessity for which the people do not at present realize and the “bosses” will not admit.  Our schools are sadly hampered.  Give more information and more money; send delegations of teachers and members of the School Board to educational conventions and to model schools, and the same results will appear as are now shown in the public schools of Brookline, Massachusetts.  The number of graduates from our high school will then be five times as large as at present.

 

Cities Constantly Growing Larger.  Improved Machinery Driving in the People from the Villages

 

     Among a progressive people the old order changes, giving place to the new.  So rapid and radical is the expansion of city life everywhere that statistics grow obsolete before we fully collect them.  We must watch and guide these changes.  The eternal vigilance which is the price of liberty is needed to direct the future of our city.

     For twenty-five years the villages in the older farming communities of our Western States have been declining in population, and the cities are receiving their increment.  The factory has thrown out of employment the country blacksmith and wagon-maker.  The factory makes horseshoe nails, horseshoes and wagons better and cheaper than the blacksmith.  The industry that these men supported is gone and they, with their families, are driven to the cities.  The women of the villages no longer spin flax, make soft soap, or salt-rising bread.  Improved machinery has taken their occupation from them.  Farm machinery has lessened the number of people required to cultivate a given number of acres.  A man can now break the ground, prepare the soil, plant the seed, harvest the crop, and deliver it to the elevator without stepping on the plowed ground. 

     Our cities are surfeited, therefore, with unskilled men and women.  On one hand they are confronted by competition with cheap labor and cheap products from across the seas, and on the other hand with that of the high-priced, because high-skilled, labor which has enjoyed the advantages of manual training and industrial schools.  We cannot hope that the cost of transportation will protect us from foreign competition.  The freight rate from Bremen to New York is the same as from Dayton to New York.

 

Night School Man Wins

 

     A college graduate of high character, with no trade, applied for a situation with us.  He had no specialty, and, although he had Latin and Greek, we had no place for him.  Soon afterwards a lady called and showed some colored drawings made by a young man attending night school.  He had not the proper clothes to make a good appearance, and she called in his behalf, saying: “I know nothing about him excepting his ability as shown in these few drawings.  He has not had even a common-school education.”  We gave him a suit of clothes and work.  The first young man has been out of employment ever since, and the second has been promoted twice during the last year.

 

What Trained Women Can do

 

     Machinery has compelled large numbers of women, as well as men, who have no special training, to change their work.  And to these new women is open the household.  We will elevate domestic work by teaching it as a science in the schools and by influencing rich and well-to-do people to make it fashionable by teaching it to their daughters, who will lend a helping hand to the house-maid, as they do today in England.  At the Kensington cooking school in London I saw a class of pupils busy in a model kitchen made up exclusively of daughters of English nobility.  In the Dayton of the future no kind of work will be looked upon as ignoble, for a high grade of education will be required of all, whatever class of work may be pursued.   Cooks and house-maidens will rank with the stenographers and the clerks.  They will have limited hours for work and many other privileges which they do not now enjoy.  After a course of lessons in cooking and housekeeping, pupils who are proficient will be given diplomas, which will be as valuable in obtaining positions as recommendations from the last employer.

 

Domestic Labor should Be Dignified

 

     St. Bartholomew’s Church, in New York City, has a six-story institution for the betterment of the people, which gives lessons in cooking to one hundred persons per day.  There are thousands of women who would be happier and better off in homes, if domestic labor were considered dignified, who now prefer to work in factories, often under the direction of men who are not fit to herd swine.  There are about twelve million families and but two million house servants in the United States.  The latch-string is out at the kitchen doors of half the homes in our land, but so long as the term “servant” carries with it a stigma, the great army of unemployed women will clamor for work in shop and factory.

     Another avenue which will be open to young women, as well as to young men, will come through manual training in scientific schools, which will enable them to meet the competition of the better educated.  The saying of the Talmud is still true: “When a man teaches his son no trade, it is as if he taught him highway robbery.”

 

Manual Training A Necessity—Classical and Scientific Universities Not in Themselves Sufficient

 

     There are plenty of opportunities for the young to study one of the learned profession in classical, scientific and theological universities, but the poor boy who wishes to train his hands to earn an honest living finds small provision made for him.  Yet ninety-five per cent. of our people work with their hands and not with their brains.  Proper provision to fit this vast majority for their life work ought not to be left to chance philanthropy.  The city should take charge of the work.

 

What the Schools Should Teach

 

     Our schools of the future will have courses in designing patterns for carpets, wall paper, and dress goods, for freehand drawing and illustration, glass decorating, feather, flower, and bead work, architectural drawing, and ornamentation of a useful and artistic nature.  They will teach landscape gardening and scientific farming.  There will be classes in health, ethics and finance.  The boys will be given opportunity to study salesmanship, politics, philanthropy, and the principles of statesmanship and sociology.  The girls will be taught cooking, dressmaking and food chemistry, which are now picked up at haphazard and in many cases never learned at all.

     With manual training schools, we shall be able to create a home industry in all the toys and bric-a-brac which we now get in foreign countries, and for which millions of dollars are sent abroad annually.  We shall keep this money at home by teaching our own people to make goods for which it is now sent abroad.

 

Trade Instruction is Needed

 

     Instead of working in the various factories our children should learn this kind of work.  They would then receive twice the pay of unskilled labor, which is all they are now capable of earning.  The young people of Dayton have now to fear the competition of the graduates of the trade schools of this country, as well as those of France, Germany and England.  In France trade-teaching is reduced to a science, and the government has taken a keen interest in it.  This cake of French soap, cost seventy-five cents, the extra cost being mostly added on account of the ornamentation of the package, which was done by a graduate of one of the French manual training schools.

 

Traveling Scholarships in France

 

     Every year the French Minister of Commerce awards a number of traveling scholarships in foreign countries to graduates of their industrial schools.  In some cases the money value amounts to $580.  The choice of country to be visited and the industry to be studied is left to the scholar, who reports the results of his observations quarterly to the Minister.  The Bon Marche, the largest dry goods house in the world, provides every evening instruction in its various branches for those of its employes who desire it, and gives prizes to the most meritious.  These sometimes take the form of a six month’ residence in London.

     It is a fact well known to those who have studied industrial education in Europe and in this country that an academic education and skill in the use of tools may be imparted a the same time, not only without detriment to either, but with advantage to both.

 

What is Being Done

 

     The attention of wealthy philanthropists is working in the direction of industrial education in this country.  The great good Armour, Pratt, Drexel, Rockefeller and Lincoln are doing for the country is incalculable.  We all want such schools, in a smaller way, for Dayton.  How are we to get the money to pay for them?  We will get it by saving the money that is now being wasted through lack of ability on the part of some of those in charge of public affairs.  No one realizes how much money Dayton might make from the sale of its franchises, rents and street privileges.  In the future our people will see to it that every privilege which is granted increases our revenue.  When this is done we shall have not only the benefits of education, but many necessities and conveniences which our taxes are already large enough to cover.

 

Dayton, the City Beautiful—Parks and Landscape Gardening Will Lend Their Aid

 

     In Dayton of the future the city proper will be given up to business life, while our homes will be situated in beautiful suburbs.  Our greater Dayton will extend its radius for miles in every direction over its circlet of beautiful hills.  Special rates of fare will be given to workingmen during certain hours of the day to encourage their residence in the suburbs.  The working day will be shorter, necessitating the employment of more workmen; a more general system of education will create better workmen, so that wages will increase rather than diminish, and the living necessities of this class would now be considered luxuries.  It follows that there will be a market for all products, and that the law of supply and demand will govern as they do today.

 

What the Employers Should Do

 

     Employers in the Dayton of the future will come more in personal contact with their employes, and will teach them their methods of earning and saving money; they will become social missionaries, acting for the good of the city, and will teach their men so to live that they may get the largest amount of happiness from life.

     In the future women employes will be permitted to discontinue work one-half hour earlier than the men in order that they may avoid the rush for street cars.  This practice has paid our Company well.

     In this new Dayton all wires and all pipes will be under the streets in large sewers, so that repairs to them can be made without tearing up the streets.  Franchises for all private enterprises which in any way occupy the streets will be sold every twenty-five years to the highest bidder, and from this source the city will gain a large income, which can be used in making beautiful her thoroughfares.

 

More Extensive Library Facilities

 

     The new Dayton will have not only one library, but a system of libraries scattered through the different wards.  One of the greatest aids to increase cultivation will be the fact that the library will seek its readers.  Our children will read good literature, because it will be accessible.  We shall have a free conservatory of music, a free art school and art gallery, and those who own valuable collections of paintings will get up loan exhibitions, where even the poorest may enjoy their treasures at certain times in the year.  Free lecture courses will also be given.

 

Better Sanitary Regulations Needed

 

     We shall have a competent board of health to attend to our sanitary condition.  In case an epidemic should break out, whom should the poor woman who sits by the sick-bed blame?  Not herself, but the city, and it will pay all loss occurring to the private individual in such cases.

     The city will provide comfortable houses of reception, where families may be entertained for a day or more as the city’s guests at such times as it may be found advisable to remove them from their homes for disinfecting purposes.  In London a house of this kind is now in constant use.  It is found to be very convenient for the health department to have at its disposal, and the danger of epidemic is greatly lessened

 

Streets Will Be Kept Cleaner

 

     Iron boxes, with hinged lids will be sunk in the sidewalks, next to the curbing, to contain street sweepings.  The streets will be washed down and the debris removed at night, as at the World’s Fair.  The street-cleaning department will scavenge and disinfect all back yards and cellars, as well as the streets and roads.  We have much to learn from the sanitation of foreign countries.  Boston lost one hundred and fifty children last year who would have been saved had they been born in London.

     Glasgow has more than a million dollars invested in municipal hospitals for infectious diseases, and no expenditure could be more profitable, for epidemics destroy valuable life, paralyze trade and industry, and cause great pecuniary loss.

 

Free Baths for the People

 

     Lavatories and water closets will be provided free in our streets, as in modern European cities, and shall have a system of free public baths similar to that in eastern and foreign cities.  New York City, although it has a number of public baths, has just decided to put up one of the finest in the world, costing $150,000.  London has more that $6000,000 invested in public baths.

     In fifty years from this time the changed condition of things will so lessen the work and worry of life that with improved sanitary cooking and careful instruction in health given in the public schools the demand for medicines will be lighter.

     In a thousand years from now there will be no deaths except from accidents and old age.  Our streets will be paved with asphalt, and all vehicles will be provided with pneumatic tires, so that we shall not suffer from the ordinary noises of a great city.

 

What Improvement Associations Should Do

 

     In the future Dayton improvement associations will flourish, and a desire for home and landscape adornment will be encouraged.  Beauty of homes and communities will be fostered, a general plan of harmonious house and architectural painting will be followed, ornamental trees, shrubs, vines and fountains will grace our city, and our homes, churches and public buildings will be clothed in green.  The sidewalks on Main Street will be narrowed, and a park of trees and flowers carried through the center, as was originally intended by Dayton’s founders, so that it will excel Unter den Linden, the famous street in Berlin.  Furthermore, the parking of Main Street in the center will make it much cooler.  The beautiful trees around public buildings will not be cut down, as was done a few years ago, because they interfered with telegraph wires which should have been placed underground.

 

Parks All Around City

 

     We shall have parks on four sides of the city.  A forester will be placed in charge to encourage the care of trees and public grounds.  The Miami River will form a lake and the river banks will be turned into parks.  We shall have a zo-oligical garden and a botanical garden, and free concerts will be given by the city on Saturday afternoons during the summer.

     Within three years London has expanded its park area fifteen hundred acres, and these parks are distributed through the various portions of the metropolis.  Spacers which were anything but attractive have now come under the magic touch of the landscape gardener.  Cricket and football grounds by the thousand have been laid out, and tennis courts and golf and hockey fields have been provided.

 

Playgrounds Needed for the Children

 

     We should make it assured that the growth of Dayton will never shut off the children of future generations from access to the grass and trees and open-air sports.  All vacant lots which now disfigure the city will be used for children’s playgrounds or flower gardens, or will be leased gratis to the poor for vegetable gardens, as in Detroit and New York City.

     In this Dayton of the future, dogs and cats which now harbor and spread diseases, together with horses, will be found only in museums.  Philanthropists will operate the pawn-shops, protecting the poor borrowers from exorbitant charges, while at the same time increasing their own revenues.  Our markets, in which are now sold the best of meats, vegetables and fruits, will be continued without the interference of the middle man.  Dayton will continue to be a city of homes.  The fact that a vast proportion on our people own their own homes is evident when we consider that we have in Dayton the largest building and loan association in the world.

 

Horse Has the Best Show—Fair Grounds Belonging to the People, Given Up to Beasts

 

     A horse may play in the fair grounds, but a mechanic has no place in this county where he may take his family and eat his Sunday lunch under a tree without fear of molestation.  Horses and mules have for twenty years trampled down the grass and reclined under the shade trees of the fair grounds, which are owned by the people.  It would cost nothing to tear down the fences and let the people in to enjoy their own property.  Truly, the servants are turned masters and the masters servants.

     In the future our city will be better illuminated, for light will be cheaper; the excess paid by the city to secure proper lighting will be regarded as a legitimate outlay for public protection, the same as for police.  The doorways of our dark and gloomy houses will be illuminated in the evening with colored lanterns.  No smoke will defile the city, for gas will be make at the mines and electricity at far-away water-powers, and will be supplied at low prices.  In those days there will be no monopoly in light and heat, any more than in coal and bread.

 

What the Preachers Can do

 

     Our churches will follow the example of some of the New York churches in reaching out to the people.  The day has gone by when it is the main duty of the pulpit to tell how wicked the world is and how good the church is.  The time has come when the pulpit knows, and the churches are solving, the problems of the world.  The church admits its willingness to be judged among men by what it does, not by what it says; by what its members now are, not by what they hope to be hereafter.

     It is not necessary that the churches should fight the old ideas; they will be swept away by the new ones.  Let the church teach the right way; it will then take care of itself.  Dead leaves never stay on a tree when the new life of spring begins to clothe it afresh with green, even if they have been able to stick through the opposition and storms of winter.  Death is in favor of the right; it has its eye on every old fogy idea.  Go for the young.  Teach them the truth.

 

     The drama will be elevated.  Instead of the demoralizing plays which we now have, the people will demand high-class productions and will make them educational aids.  The press, the pulpit and the pedagogue will do much toward bringing this about.

 

Suburban Branch Libraries

 

     In the suburban libraries, winter series of social entertainments will relieve the tedium of humdrum life.  Stereopticon views will be shown, and social science problems will be discussed.  Saturday half holidays will be given to labor, so that people will be sufficiently rested to attend church on Sunday mornings.

     Dayton has already established an enviable reputation for the superior quality of all work done here.  The fact that no shoddy is used in her products is known wherever they go.  The great variety of manufacturing done here will make in comparatively easy to start new industries.  Skilled artisans are at hand, and the fact that Dayton is located very near to the center of population, together with other natural advantages, makes her material prosperity assured.  We must see to it that her progress in other directions is equally great.

     All the improvements and suggestions made above have been realized in various municipalities of this and other countries.  We propose to unite all of the best things which have been done in other cities , and thus make Dayton the ideal city.

 

Where Shall We Get the Cash?  By Adopting Business Methods in the City Government

 

     How shall we get money to accomplish all these changes?  The officials today control revenues which are sufficient to bring them about.  Who prevents the people from controlling these revenues?  The politician: the “boss”, who never makes a speech, has no views on the public questions, and whose emotions are those of mercenary calculation only.  It is the  “boss” who lines up delegates, and depends upon row after row of dutiful henchmen to vote as he directs.

     A poor system in the city will do more for the public good with an able and honest, self-dependent council at the head of it than the best system with a political “boss” at the helm.  An unworthy head at once devitalizes a city government.  This is true, no matter what the clime, race, confusion of races, or form of government.

 

“Boss” Must Be Abolished

 

     Woe to the city whose officers, even though honest themselves, are the creatures of the “boss” of its political slums.  No public officer can serve two masters, and there never was, and never can be, good government through “boss” rule.  The “boss” does not nourish resentments; he never looks to the newspapers for praise; he is heedless of their criticism.  We must abolish the “boss.”  It is as much our duty to do it as it would be to drain a swamp and protect the health of our city.  This is the right thing to do; it ought to be done; the people will say it shall be done.

 

What American Cities should Do

 

     Mr. Herman Christman, former American consul and president of the consolidated street car lines of Berlin, said to me that the reason that German cities are so far in advance of our own is that royalty takes care that baseness does not thrive, and that in competency and lack of integrity do not come to the front in their management.  He believes that American cities are so badly managed because they have no substitute for this watchful care, and that “what is everybody’s business is nobody’s business.”  He said that English and German cities are managed by councils elected by the people, who do not receive pay in any form.  As a result, they attract the best class of talent, and it is considered a high social honor to be called to office.  The detail work is done by paid employes.

     In the city of Glasgow a council of seventy-eight has complete authority, and nobody obtrudes a veto.  They appoint and remove officials, and have entire charge of all municipal administration.  The location of responsibility is perfectly definite, and the tax-payers hold every member of the council responsible for his vote.  The system is as simple as the American system is complicated.  American cities defeat their own ends by their checks and balances, dividing up the responsibilities and giving great opportunities for the game of “hide and seek.”  The mayor of Glasgow has no appointive power, no right of nomination, no veto. and only votes in case of a tie.  He does not make up council committees, nor embarrass the council by dividing responsibility.  The most important official is the town clerk, who draws a large salary and holds his office during good behavior.

     We have in Dayton but two public departments which are conducted practically in accordance with the best ideas found in the government of Glasgow, Berlin and other advanced European cities.  They are our water works and our fire department.  The high class of these departments is due to the fact that the insurance companies watch them jealously, thus acting as monitors over them.

 

Need for a Monitor System

 

     Mr. Christman told me that, in his opinion, American cities will never be successfully governed until some kind of a monitor system is adopted; and he spoke truly.  What shall this monitor be?

 

     It is a small matter to manage a city, for we have nothing to do but to spend money; whereas, in a large business we have not only to spend money, but to spend it is such a way as to make money in return, which increases the difficulty tenfold.  We expend in our business about $2,000,000 a year; the city of Dayton spends about $1,000,000.  A city is a great business enterprise whose stockholders are the people.

 

Politicians Rule the City

 

     In our city one hundred organized politicians have overcome seventy-nine thousand disorganized citizens.  These politicians have appointed themselves the managers of this enterprise, and the people in many cases want a change.  The next question is, How shall we bring it about?

 

     Here you must pardon me for illustrating from my own personal experience.  We have found a monitor cash register machine system, which organizes the business of retail stores and brings order out of chaos.  It does not prevent wrong-doing; it does not prevent mistakes; but it tells the proprietor after they have occurred, and he can thus guard against similar errors.

 

What the N.C.R. Has Done

 

     We have applied this system to our factory and business, in which one thousand five hundred people are employed.  Here two of the stockholders took the place of the monitor machine, and acted as guardians and advisors of the Company.  Experts have pronounced ours the best system of factory organization in the world.  As a result of it the product of the Company has increased in quantity and improved in quality, while the cost has been lowered.  If this system has succeeded in the modern factory, why should it not succeed in the city, where the problems to be solved are not one-tenth as difficult?

     This monitor should be a self-appointed body of men, who have sufficient ability and integrity to inspire the people with confidence, and might be called a monitor club.  Five good, active men ought to accept this trust.  The majority of the committee should rule, and they should rotate the chairmanship.  Each of these five members should act as chairman to a sub-committee, composed of himself and four others to be appointed by him, thus making twenty-five members in all.  For example, the health division might be divided into five committees—sewerage, water, bath, hospital, and house sanitation.  We should thus have twenty-five committees, each composed of one man.

 

What the Monitor Club Should Do

 

     The monitor club should be provided with a typewriter and a clerk.  It should be vigilant, aggressive and ruthless for the public good.  It should keep the public advised at all times of attempts to infringe its rights, and, with the assistance of the press and pulpit, call attention to public corruption and suggest remedies.  Frauds will  not come in if they know they are gong to be watched and all imperfection shown up to the people.

 

Bulletin Board for Public Inspection

 

     The monitor club should use a bulletin board for public inspection, giving the name of each department, with colored checks upon it so show its condition, each color indicating a different degree of excellence, so that those who run may read. 

 

     There should be, in addition to the twenty-five active members, a large number of associate members, both men and women.  The club should be extended until it includes all the good people in the city, both young and old, who will form a triumphant army with flags and banners, marching in the interests of good government.

 

Members to Serve Without Pay

 

     A monitor club would make more and more of the men brought under its influence, while the “boss” makes less and less of the men with whom he is associated.  The members of this committee should not be stockholders in any public concern which uses the streets, such as transportation companies ,gas, electric light and telephone companies.  The members of this committee of twenty-five should be sworn not to accept pay for any office to which they might be elected in the city government.

     Our municipal affairs would be placed upon a strict business basis and directed, not by partisans, either Republicans or Democratic, but by men who are skilled in business management and social science; who would treat our people’s money as a trust fund, to be expended wisely and economically, without waste, and for the benefit of all citizens.  Good men would take an interest in municipal government and we should have more statesmen and fewer politicians.

 

What the Clerk Should Do

 

     The principal duty of the clerk of this monitor club would be to make himself familiar with the doings of the offices and to attend the meetings of the Board of City Affairs, Board of Trade, School Board and other public boards, and to keep the committees posted in regard to their various interests.  He should also attend the opening of the sale of bonds.  Each member of this committee of twenty-five should be supplied with two scrap-books, one for clippings of interest to his department and the other for instructions from the committee.  The monitor club should have no executive authority, but should simply report to the proprietors of the city (the  people) all that occurred and solicit information, complaints and suggestions from all citizens.

     Such a club would have called the attention of the public in advance to the South Ludlow Street sewer.  They started to build a stone arch about a mile long over the open creek, which contained nothing but surface water.  It was plainly so much larger than the requirement that I called the attention of the authorities to the matter, and the work was stopped, the rest of it being constructed of the proper dimensions.  This arch will probably stand for one thousand years as a monument to those city officials.

 

“Publicity Corrects All Abuses”

 

     Large amounts of money should not be spent for any purpose until the amount and manner of expenditure had been previously announced through the press or in some other public manner, and those who take public contracts should not be allowed to sublet them. 

     I have talked over this monitor system for cities with some of the best thinkers of New York, all of whom heartily endorse it.  I believe that it will enable us, if it is adopted in Dayton, to accomplish all we so much desire in the future.  By it a healthy public sentiment will be cultivated, which will hold in just execration the man who misplaces the trust of the people and causes them to lose large benefits.

     We need to aid us public-spirited papers which will “call a spade a spade.”  The New York papers spend five editorial lines in denouncing the “boss;” on another page they illustrate a banquet given to him, and the rest of the page is taken up in describing his horses, his retinue of servants, and the trip which his family is about to take abroad.  Under the monitor system such things will be held up to ridicule and contempt, and we will rather honor him who, at the risk of unpopularity, points out wrong-doing among those in power.

 

Reform Spirit Would Be Aroused

 

     I venture to predict that after five years of service the monitor club will practically cease to exist, for the spirit of reform will be aroused, and the press, pulpit and pedagogue will never allow it to die out.  With the political “boss” a thing of the past, with good schools and a government of the people, we shall make the future of Dayton a glorious one.

    We are living in the center of the Miami Valley, the garden spot of the world.  We have the energy of the North, with the products of the South.  One can live better here on a moderate amount than in any other city of like size in the world.  Our people are endowed with remarkable industry.

     When the prehistoric inhabitants of the eastern coast of America were rated at zero in civilization, the mound builders of Ohio were rated at seven.  Let us keep up this ratio.  Let us trust that Ohio captains of labor will accomplish as much in the war for bread as Sherman, Sheridan and Grant did in the war for the right.

 

Dayton Employers Should Set Example

 

     Let the employers of Dayton set the example by bettering the conditions of their employes, by lightening their labor, and by giving them more time for education and recreation, thus bringing the two extremes of society together and wiping out  mutual misunderstandings.  Let us make this centennial year the dawn of a great future, adopting as ours the motto of the Swiss Republic—“One for all, and all for one.”

 

“The end of government is the happiness of the people.”

                          Macaulay

 

 

“No gains without pains.”

                       Franklin