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Dayton Memories > Bye Bye Forest Park
Bye Bye Forest Park
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490 posts
Mar 22, 2013
4:17 PM
I heard a rumor that they were tearing all of the Forest Park Shopping Center down.
Man a lot of memories there - the She and whatever else it was called and of course Parkmoor up on the corner although it was never really a true part of the plaze. BUT spent many nights and drank many cokes sitting and crusing through there in 1967 to about 1970 when they made it into a Ponderosa. I probably wore tracks in the road driving from there to Frisches on Keowee and back several times every night on the weekends.
460 posts
Mar 23, 2013
7:13 AM
Yep, they've started tearing it down. They're starting at the south end and working north. I don't know if all of it will be torn down but they might as well. The last store moved out around 6 months ago.

Last Edited by driver62 on Mar 23, 2013 7:14 AM
luv my dayton
259 posts
Mar 23, 2013
9:08 AM
Years ago it actually started out as an amusement park. Don't know when Frankies Park disappeared but next came the shopping center which in its hayday did great as did that whole area. What the heck will go in now have no clue as nothing has worked in that area for years including the back side where all the apartment complexs that are also sitting empty. Could be part of an up and coming highway expansion, you know the highways to nowhere.
69 posts
Mar 23, 2013
11:17 AM
When I was in high school back in the early '40's, there was the Circle Ballroom there. They had big name bands and all the high school kids could be found there on Saturday nights in the summer as the ballroom was an open pavilon. Also one of our friends at Stivers High School (Hattie Gantner) was killed on the way home from there, when the car she was riding in with several other kids hit a telephone pole on North Main Street. After my husband and I were married, we were involved with The Dayton Pleasure Car Club that held races at the race track there. In between races, you could find us riding the ferris wheel and roller coaster at the amusement park. Oh what good times we had at Frankie's Forest Park!

Last Edited by Syxpack on Mar 23, 2013 11:20 AM
89 posts
Mar 23, 2013
12:36 PM
The Forest Park I remember was back in the early 70s. There was a J.C. Penney, Gallenkamp Shoes, an S&H Green Stamp redemption store (I think)might have been a Top Value. An Olen Mills studio. Had more then a few family portraits done there. I forgot exactly where. But nearby was the old Dayton Rollerdome. Had an actual organist up in a booth that played for the skaters. Several other small shops in the plaza that have faded from memory. Somewhere in the middle of the shops was a breezeway of sorts that had a small fountain running down the middle. Its depressing to see what it all looks like now. Remembering what once was.
134 posts
Mar 23, 2013
3:50 PM
Went to dance a lot of times at Forest Park back in the mid 60s,it was called the Caverns back then,everybody refered to themselves as the Klan that went there back then,no,not as in Klu Klux
491 posts
Mar 24, 2013
4:31 AM
Just learned from the Beavercreek Facebook page that it was also called the Golden Lion. I thought the hame had Lion in it but wasn't sure after all these years. Was it Lion, Cavern then She or Cavern, Lion then She??
Someone posted some current pics of the inside and outside of the She on the Facebook Growing Up in Beavercreek page if you are interested. Sure brings back memories.
1 post
Mar 31, 2013
5:05 PM
My parents used to have a flea market booth over there. There was some guy who was the caretaker for the whole complex. I can't remember his name, but it he was from the middle east and had that kind of name.
This guy was a real thief. He would break into stores after hours through the roof. He would break into the flea market and steal from the booths. A real dirtbag he was.
465 posts
Apr 03, 2013
12:10 PM
I drove by there today and it's about half gone. They're up to the main entrance now. I guess we'll have another vacant area in Dayton.
16 posts
Apr 03, 2013
8:47 PM
Things like tearing down buildings are all over the U.S.... you know why..well follow the money, taxes,insurance,etc. are less on empty lots vs.buildings. It certainly is a different world out there for sure..that is why I like to come in this space and remember a different time.
424 posts
Apr 03, 2013
10:56 PM
I mainly remember the She as the club where a fight started that ended up with four of my classmates fleing an El Camino full of guys from Northridge who were shooting at them. They were fleeing for Huber, and they got stuck at the light at Needmore and Troy Pike. My classmate Bill Hilgeford was driving, and the El Camino pulled alongside and the one of the occupants riddled him with bullets before they took off.

Before that, I do believe it was called "the Golden Lion", and I remember Stan Kenton was a frequently featured performer there, as announced on WHIO and in the Dayton Daily News.
16 posts
Apr 04, 2013
9:18 AM
It must have been about 1981 when me and a friend went to see Steppenwolf at the She, how we got in I don't know because we were seniors in HS. I remember the ceiling above the stage was all tore up and we asked one of the workers about it. He said Iggy Pop had played the night before and got a little rowdy on stage.Lol
I aso remember going to the pool hall, plenty of characters in there, and of course as a kid growing up in the 60's all the nice stores that were mntioned.
joey m
47 posts
Apr 05, 2013
10:17 AM
i remember it being called wink's. wink was the old guy who owned it .you could always get a game there, day or night. had friends who played there . good memories!!!
55 posts
Apr 05, 2013
12:58 PM
Wink owned it when it was down by the Jammer. It became really big when Joe Burns moved to the other end of the shopping center: still around back though.
Mike Harris
joey m
48 posts
Apr 05, 2013
1:30 PM
mike h do you know a guy named don hartzel?
Riverdale Ghost
333 posts
Apr 05, 2013
2:34 PM
I'm interested in what happened in the Hilgeford case, too. A long time friend and cohort was a Hilgeford by marriage (for a while). We lost contact in the 70's. No such thing came under discussion.

I did a little searching and it would seem that family may not have lived in Huber Heights very long as Huber Heights wasn't mentioned in his mother's recent obituary. The name's probably well known in that area of town as there's a street named Hilgeford somewhere out that way.

As for Forest Park, there's been a lot of trouble in that general area, maybe not in the shopping center itself but nearby. I'm not surprised it's being flattened.
Avatar 1 Honest Communications Is The Foundation of Civilizations.
425 posts
Apr 05, 2013
2:59 PM
I was trying to jog my memory a few years ago and searched the net for possibly omethng in the DDN archives.

Bill's family lived in what was then Wayne Township and they were very well known, yes there is a Hilgeford Drive in Huber. Possibly the reason Huber was not mentioned in the obit is that the Hilgefords - like many of us - scattered across Ohio and the country after the parents passed away. Bill's little brother Eric is a lawyer (or something, I forget) somewhere in the Miami Valley.

One local celebrity who was involved in the tragedy is attorney Jose' Lopez, the man who was appointed special prosecutor in the investigation of the Dayton police back in the early 80s. He was one of the boys with Bill when he was shot.

I was completely surprised to find that one Hilgeford from Dayton gained - well, I can't really be so unkind as to say "infamy", from the accounts he was a decent enough guy. Call it "alternative fame". This guy was born in Dayton, and chopped the "Hilge" off his name and adopted the name of "Leo Ford". He was an actor in what I will call "Alternative Adult Entertainment". A few years ago, he retired and was killed on his motorcycle as he was delivering meals to AIDS victims. So in the end I guess Leo's Dayton roots showed through. May he rest in peace.
56 posts
Apr 05, 2013
4:11 PM
Hey Joey M. Yep, I know double digit Don :-)
Mike Harris
426 posts
Apr 06, 2013
9:40 AM
Syxpack: Scroll about six posts up and you'll find it.

Hunt: Yes, the perps were caught and prosecuted. I believe the shooter got 25 years for manslaughter and his two pals got ten years each for complicity. And by the way, hunt, THANKS.
14 posts
May 11, 2013
2:07 PM

I can shed some light on the Hilgeford shooting at the She.
I played in a rock band with Bill and 3 other guys in junior high school.
That band split up after our freshman year, and since I started attending Patterson Co-op in my sophomore year I didn't see too much of Bill.
I do remember when that night happened and a lot of the details that came out following that night through the trial and conviction of the shooter, who I believe was named Dominguez.
That night Bill, and 4 other guys, Mickey (Jose) Lopez, Steve Staford, Tim Lipovsky, and Mark Walhay went to the She with fake IDs.
When they were leaving they got into a verbal ruckus with Dominguez and the other boys.
Dominguez was in the back of an El Camino and started chasing and shooting at Hilgeford who was driving.
I've heard different versions of how Bill ended up getting shot, but the one that seems to have been reliable, was that Hilgeford slammed on the brakes hoping the El Camino would go flying by them, and when it did, Dominguez shot into the car and hit Bill.
I was at Bill's funeral and it was the first one I ever attended where it was someone my age and a friend of mine! Very tragic and hard to deal with.
If my memory serves me, Dominguez ended up plea bargaining to manslaughter and got 5 or 6 years, got out and ended up getting shot and killed at a bar himself! Poetic justice?
Forgiven, forgotten, set free!!
103 posts
May 12, 2013
3:31 PM
Jack, yes, poetic justice at work. Serves him right, he didn't serve nearly enough time. What goes around, comes around. Perfect example of karma! Thanks so much for the info.
5 posts
Jul 06, 2013
8:27 PM
My memories of Forest Park was the Dayton Roller Drome and Putt-Putt Golf. Spent many Fri. & Sat nights skating in circles.

Putt-Putt had dollar days on Mondays. They had three 18 hole courses. My Mom would take me and a friend or two and drop us off and we would play until it got dark.
112 posts
Jul 07, 2013
9:39 AM
I have a cousin who grew up in Northridge. Been living in Texas after retiring from the Air Force. He was in town this week for a funeral. We took him out to Northridge and around where Forest Park was. He was just floored when he saw the way it is now. He remembers it in its hayday. All of the places everyone has been posting about.
luv my dayton
307 posts
Jul 07, 2013
10:04 AM
That used to be a great, older part of Dayton. Maybe when the clubs started coming in and the kind of crowds they can draw from all over was the starting of the demise of the area. A friend of mine lived on Nottingham in an apt building that is now infamous for drugs and prostitution. I would shop at Pennys, eat at Frisches and get ice cream at Sherers. Theres still a part of Northtown plaza that is still functioning and seems like there was a theatre in there at one time.
96 posts
Jul 07, 2013
2:21 PM
My Dad had a Furniture store Northtown plaza, Ames Furniture. I use to walk to the Theater from my Dads store, and there was a Burger Chef across the street and old hickory just past the Theater. I remember the A&P on the other side of the plaza with Frisches across the Street. My dad lived in a Apt right behind Forest park.
luv my dayton
312 posts
Jul 12, 2013
1:30 PM
Was out that way yesterday and nothing left of Forest park.From Main st you can see over to Riverside where all the apts are. Still some nice little houses around so not all has gone down hill.
76 posts
Jan 15, 2015
5:56 AM
Has this placed been leveled completely? Are they putting anything in its place?
546 posts
Jan 15, 2015
7:41 AM
Jack - It's flat as a pancake. There's nothing but dirt and the parking lot left.
175 posts
Jan 16, 2015
5:13 PM
I learned to drive there. Stop signs, parallel parking, turn signals and all that. I remember when it was built. Big news for the Dayton area. Great place. Sad to see it go. The stores there have struggled for years. Parkmoor was my haunt all through high school and after. So many wonderful times there.
71 posts
Feb 14, 2015
7:36 PM
Some of my earliest memories are family trips to Forest Park's Woolworths, the little amusement park, the putt-putt and, at Christmas time, the xmas tree lot that had live animals in its nativity scene. I remember either screaming or crying when one of the animals i thought was fake started moving. I must have been maybe 3, or 4 at most...
Then years later, I took guitar lessons at Dayton Band, across the road from Forest Park. Also nearby was the original Forest Book and Records head shop, which then moved to its more famous location in south dayton, near the old Todd Art theater, Wayne Ave, etc, if memory serves...

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