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Great Days In Dayton
Government Comes of Age


“Great Days in Dayton”


Reproduced on these pages is the full script of a “Great Days in Dayton” broadcast. All music and sound effect “cues” are indicated just as they appear on the working scripts used by the cast. The sponsor hopes that you will find interesting these dramatized episodes from the life story of your city.


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[Theme. Starts fortissimo, then fades behind . . .]

ANNOUNCER: “Great Days in Dayton!”

MUSIC [ Swells and fades behind . . . ]

ANNOUNCER:  The events which appear to serve a community’s immediate needs, or to solve its immediate problems, are frequently those which lead toward a better community future. We have seen many such events during the presentation of these dramatized chapters from Dayton’s history. And always we have seen that at the head of each such community movement there have been citizens who foresaw at long-range the welfare of the city. It is this conscious desire to build for the future which may truly be called civic spirit. It has been the moving force in Dayton’s development for nearly a century and a half; it will bring about whatever real advancement our city enjoys in the future. It is the hope of our sponsors, The Dayton Power and Light Company, that this spirit among Dayton people may be strengthened by the presentation of these historical dramas, which record our past community achievements. (PAUSE.) Now . . . here is your narrator, Mr. Charles McLean, who will introduce the play we present today.

MUSIC  [Swells and fades behind . . . ]

NARRATOR: Many of our plays have dealt with situations of critical importance to early Daytonians. We have seen the struggles of the first settlers in the wilderness, the establishment of churches, schools and a free press, the coming of the stage coach, the canal and the railroads, the excitement of early political campaigns, the trials of the Civil War, and the beginnings of the town’s industries. Meanwhile there was taking place the slow growth and development of city government. It was a process marked at many times by apparent inefficiencies, but always the popular will brought about changes, which were of lasting benefit of the whole community. It is with some of these changes, spread over the better part of Dayton’s first century of history, that we deal today. (PAUSE.) Previous to 1802, the officials of Dayton township had been appointed by the territorial governor and the courts, but in that year the citizens elected their own officers. In the same year Ohio became a state, and in 1803 Montgomery County was formed. Colonel George Newcom, one of the earliest settlers, became the first sheriff. His house, the famous Newcom Tavern, became the first seat of government.

MUSIC [Fades out.]

[Mixed men’s voices. Laughter.]


RITTER: [Angry.] It was your cow, all right, Tom Hanley, tramping down my whole garden patch. I want you to keep her out of there!

HANLEY: [Angry.] Who are you, Will Ritter, to be telling me where my cow can go? Why don’t you fence your patch?
RITTER: No call for me to do that. Decent folks in Dayton stake out their cows.

HANLEY: That ain’t so. Stock runs loose all over town. And what do you mean by saying that the Hanleys ain’t decent folks?

NEWCOM: Now, now, boys, quiet down. If you want to come to my tavern for a sociable time you’re welcome, and you know it, but I’m not going to have any quarreling.

RITTER: But, George, Hanley’s cow ruined my whole garden.

HANLEY: No, it didn’t. And I tell you that decent folks . . .

RITTER: That’s once too often. I’ll show you, you . . . [Fight sounds. Shouts. Scuffle.]

NEWCOM: [Angry.] I told you two that I wouldn’t have any fighting here. Now, you’re going to be locked up, both of you.

HANLEY: You’re not going to lock me up, George Newcom.

RITTER: Or me, neither.

NEWCOM: Oh, yes, I am, even if I have to whip both of you. And I can do it. Will, you’re going into the corn crib. Tom, you’re going down the dry well. And both of you are going to stay there until tomorrow, when court convenes. You’re lucky you won’t have to stay any longer. You come along with me and . . . [Fade out and in.] [Mixed voices.]


VOICE: O yez, O yez, this court is declared open for the administration of even-handed justice, without respect to persons; none to be punished without a trial by their peers and in pursuance of the laws and evidence in the case. (PAUSE.) This court here is assembled at the house of George Newcom, in Dayton, as properly prescribed by the superior courts of Ohio. The honorable justices and court officers are designated as follows: President of the court, the Honorable Francis Dunlevy. Associate justices, Isaac Spinning, Benjamin Archer and John Ewing. Prosecutor, Daniel Symmes. Clerk, Benjamin Van Cleve. Sheriff, George Newcom. Coroner, James Miller. [Voice fades on last of above.]

HETTY: Maria, I’m ashamed of Will. Your cow didn’t do so much harm. I don’t see why they had to get into a fight.

MARIA: I know, Hetty. I fell just the way you do. Think of their fighting, right here in the tavern, and in front of almost everyone in town.

HETTY: Will thinks he’s been put upon, having to spend the night in Colonel Newcom’s corncrib, and I suppose he’ll feel more so after the trial. But there’s nothing to what he’ll feel when he gets a piece of my mind.

MARIA: And Tom, too. I told him to stay away from here last night, because I knew Will was mad. But Tom said he was a free-born American and could go wherever he liked. No one was going to trample on his rights, he said. Well . . . you just wait until I get him home. [Fade out and in.]

DUNLEVY: Since both of you have waived trial by jury, it devolves upon this court to find, in accordance with the evidence and with the laws of the State of Ohio. That both of you are guilty, the one by deliberate provocation and the other by striking the first blow, is clear from your own testimony. I, therefore, fine each of you the sum of six dollars and fifty cents and order that you shall pay the costs of this action. [Mixed voices.]

NEWCOM: If the court please . . .

DUNLEVY: Sheriff Newcom.

NEWCOM: Your Honor, when it comes to cash, we folks here in Dayton are pretty hard up. Now, I know both of these defendants well, and except for the trouble they had last night they’re good, law-abiding citizens. But . . . neither of them can raise six dollars and a half in cash to pay a fine. So, if it ain’t contempt of court, or whatever, I’d like to request that these two men be allowed to pay out their fines in deer skins, corn, salt pork, or something else that have to use for money here.

DUNLEVY: Your request appears a reasonable one to this court, Sheriff. Will Ritter, can you pay one deer skin as a fine, and a pair of coon skins to cover the costs?

RITTER: I sure can, Your Honor . . . soon as I can get out and do some shooting.

DUNLEVY: How about you, Hanley?

HANLEY: Well, now, I don’t know, Your Honor. You see . . .

NEWCOM: Tom Hanley’s got a likely-looking barrow pig that would just about make out the fine and costs.

HENLEY: Now, wait a minute, George. That pig . . .

DUNLEVY: It is so ordered. The clerk will call the next case. [Mixed voices.]

HETTY: Will Ritter, you get out and get that deer skin before you’re a day older, or I’ll . . .

RITTER: Now, now, Hetty, you know I’m perfectly willing to . . .

MARIA: And don’t let me hear you complaining about that pig, Tom Hanley.

HANLEY: But, Maria . . .

MARIA: Don’t you “Maria” me. You get that pig and turn it over to Colonel Newcom before night. [Music : Fades in and behind . . . ]


NARRATOR: Such crude but effective methods of maintaining law and order prevailed throughout most of the first decade of Dayton’s history, but, once the town was made the county seat, its growth became more rapid and the various complications of town government made their appearance. Through the perseverance of Daniel C. Cooper, who had become a member of the State Legislature, Dayton was granted a charter in 1805. New problems in town management were to be faced. We find Mr. Cooper and other citizens discussing them. [Music : Fades out.]


COOPER: In the new plat of which our charter is based, you will see that we’ve allowed ample room for Dayton’s expansion. Our town limits now extend from the river southward a distance of about two miles, and east and west about a mile and a half. That takes in all the ground lying within the main bend of the Miami River.

THOMPSON: Seems like we’ll never grow to fill all that space with streets and houses, Dan.

COOPER: Yes, we will, Sam . . . faster than you think.

NEWCOM: Then we’ll have to do something about making Dayton people tax themselves.

VAN CLEVE: The money’s beginning to come in, George.

NEWCOM: Not fast enough, Ben. We can’t get folks to meet and vote the taxes. We called a meeting last August and five people showed up. Called another one two weeks later, and no one showed up. Had to get them in by summons in January. Well, when we got them, all we wanted was seventy-two dollars. But they voted against that. Now, here’s the new jail building. How do you figure we’re going to pay for that?
THOMPSON: How much will it cost?

NEWCOM: Dave Squier says it will be about three hundred dollars, with his time and all. But it’ll be a good jail. Twelve-inch logs throughout, thirty feet long, sixteen wide and twelve high. There’ll be two cells, both with barred windows.

REID: That seems like a pretty big jail, George.

NEWCOM: No bigger than we’ll need, Dave. With people coming in from all over the county on Saturdays, and maybe having too good a time, it’s got so my corncrib won’t hold all of them.

THOMPSON: Dave, how about your part of the town work? Can’t we get some more of the streets cleared?

REID: It’s coming on, bit by bit, Sam. A year ago Main Street was full of hazel bushes and saplings. We’ve got it cleared now as far as Third Street. And the deep gully at Third and Main has been filled with logs and dirt, so a man isn’t like to break his neck every time he crosses it.

VAN CLEVE: It seems to me you ought to get more help, Dave.

REID: I should. The town ordinance says that every able-bodied citizen has to give two days a year, working on the roads. That’s not much time, but you’d be surprised how many men come down with the ague or some such complaint just when it’s their turn. Whatever’s wrong with them doesn’t keep them from tramping all over the country with a squirrel gun, but it seems that working on the roads is something different.

NEWCOM: There’s a dollar fine for not doing road work, isn’t there?

REID: Sure, there is. But what good’s that? Monday and Tuesday a man’s supposed to help me clearing the streets. Well, Monday there’s just no telling where he is, and Tuesday he’s out with a gun, and Wednesday he comes in with a coon skin and pays his fine. But that don’t’ get the streets cleared. [Laughter.]

COOPER: The trouble is, gentlemen, that Dayton is suffering from growing pains. We’re a town now, instead of a frontier settlement, and we’re beginning to have a town’s responsibilities. If we think it’s a problem to raise three hundred dollars for the building of a jail, just remember that the plans for the new courthouse allow a cost of more than four thousand dollars.

NEWCOM: Whew! Where are we going to get all that money, Dan?

COOPER: We’ll get it, George. People are going to get used to the idea that it costs money to run a town or a county. We have an established town organization now . . . seven trustees, an assessor, a collector, a supervisor, and a fire marshal. Bit by bit, you’ll see our town departments working . . . see more streets cleared, more public buildings put up. I don’t think it’s ever going to be easy to get taxes voted, or to collect them after they’re voted, but they’ll come to be a regular part of living in Dayton, and you’ll find that people will pay them, no matter how much they grumble. Now . . . I wonder if we can’t . . . [Music : Fades in and behind . . . ]


NARRATOR: During the first hundred years of its existence Dayton went through many changes in the form of its governmental administration. The State Legislature made many changes in the acts governing city charters, but gradually there developed the so-called “federal” form of city government . . . consisting of a council made up of representatives of the several wards, a mayor, and boards placed in charge in public safety and public works. However, Dayton, like all American cities, was to go through a period when the political spoils system ruled almost unchallenged in community government, because ablest citizens devoted too little of their time to public affairs. City administration was lax and inefficient, and more than once it took the force of tragic events to bring needed changes in the basic public services. One of these occurred in Dayton during the middle part of the last century. [Music : Fade out.]


WILLS: I think that covers all the details, John. And I’m sure we can borrow what money we need from any of the banks. We should have our new factory running in a month. (PAUSE.) And now, it’s late; I must be getting home.

MITCHELL: You’re sure you won’t stay for another cigar, Bob?

WILLS: Thanks, no; it’s past eleven.

MITCHELL: Well, then . . . [Movement. Door opens.]

WILLS: John, it’s awfully dark down here on Second Street. You and the other property owners should put in the new gas lights.

MITCHELL: I’ve been trying to get them to, but there’s always someone who holds out.

WILLS: Yes, I know how that is. Well, good-night.

MITCHELL: Good-night, Bob. [Door closes.] [Footsteps continuing to . . . ]

VOICE: Hold on, there, a minute.

WILLS: Who are you? You startled me, coming up from behind that way.

VOICE: Sure, I came up from behind. And that’s a pistol you feel against your ribs. Now, just keep still and hand over your money.

WILLS: I’ll not! I’ll not be robbed within a block of my own house. [Struggle.]

VOICE: Hold still, or I’ll shoot.

WILLS: Help! Help! Watch! Watch!

WATCH: [Far off.] Watch ho!

VOICE: All right, you asked for it. [Shot.] [Cry of pain.] [Running footsteps.] [Shouts off.]

MITCHELL: [Coming on.] What’s the trouble here? Watchman! Watchman!

WATCH: [Coming on.] Here I am, sir. I came a-running as soon as I heard the shot. Here he is, lying on the sidewalk. Looks like he’s hurt bad, too. [Other excited voices on.]

MITCHELL: Let’s see him. (PAUSE.) [Shocked.] Why, it’s Bob Wills. He left my house not five minutes ago. Here, get him indoors. You lift his head. Someone go for a doctor.

VOICE 2: I’ll go. I’ll get one. [Fade out and in.]

MARTHA: There, there, Helen, don’t cry. The doctor is with him now. I’m sure it will be all right.

HELEN: It won’t. I know it.

MITCHELL: Martha, you’d better get Mrs. Wills some brandy. I’ll go upstairs and see if the doctor can tell us anything yet. (PAUSE.) [Door opens.]

MITCHELL: Well, Doctor . . .

DOCTOR: There was really nothing I could do, Mr. Mitchell. He was almost gone when I got here.

MITCHELL: Mrs. Wills is here. You’ll tell her, won’t you?

DOCTOR: Yes . . . yes, I’ll tell her.

MITCHELL: It doesn’t seem possible . . . that a man could be held up and killed in the very center of Dayton.

DOCTOR: It is, though, and it will continue to be until the town has enough watchmen. I suppose the council will take action about it some day. [Fade out and in.] [Mixed voices.]


MITCHELL: Mr. Mayor! Mr. Mayor!

MAYOR: Mr. Mitchell.

MITCHELL: I suppose I’m like most other citizens. I don’t pay much attention to the needs of the town until they’re brought home to me, somehow. Well, this one has been. Robert Wills was my good friend and business partner. And he’s dead today because Dayton has no adequate force of town watchmen.

MAYOR: There are two watchmen, Mr. Mitchell.

MITCHELL: That’s just the trouble . . . two watchmen for a town of twenty thousand population. They can’t possibly patrol the whole town. What Dayton needs is a regular police force.

ROSS: Mr. Mayor.

MAYOR: Mr. Ross.

ROSS: Mr. Mitchell doesn’t understand, I’m afraid. This council has no authority to establish a police force.

MITCHELL: It’s Mr. Ross who doesn’t understand, Your Honor. I know that Dayton has been restricted by the Legislature, just as every other town has, but a month ago there was an act passed giving Dayton its own free police powers. Perhaps Mr. Ross hasn’t heard of that, even if he is a member of the council.

ROSS: Well . . . no . . . I hadn’t. But I don’t see that such a force would be a great improvement over our present system.

MITCHELL: You don’t? Then, I’ll tell you. During the last two years Dayton has had an unusually large number of robberies and burglaries . . . more for its size than Cincinnati or Columbus. That’s because there aren’t police here, because robbery and burglary are easy in Dayton.

HIMES: Mr. Mayor.

MAYOR: Mr. Himes.

HIMES: Mr. Mitchell doesn’t realize, I’m afraid, that what he’s proposing is far beyond the funds available in the town treasury.

MITCHELL: Then taxes should be increased. There has been enough actual cash and personal property lost in Dayton during the last year to pay all the expense of an ample police force. I don’t’ say that it will be easy to increase taxes . . . it never is . . . but this is a matter of protecting the property of our citizens. It’s more than that; it’s a matter of protecting the life of everyone in Dayton.

MAYOR: I think, Mr. Mitchell, that in spite of some objections we’ve heard here tonight, the council might be disposed in favor of your idea. How large a force do you think we would need?

MITCHELL: At least twenty men.

ROSS: Twenty policemen? That’s impossible.

HIMES: The taxpayers would never stand for that. They think the town expenses are too high now.

MITCHELL: But we need that many. And they should be organized under a chief, who would be just as much a city official as the mayor or any other town officer.

ROSS: You’re talking about an army.

MITCHELL: Maybe I am . . . a peace army. But I’ve made a study of this thing and I know what I’m talking about.

HIMES: Do you actually think, Mr. Mitchell, that the people of Dayton will pay for all this? Twenty policemen and a chief?

MITCHELL: I certainly do. This town will see the day when policemen are numbered in the hundreds instead of the twenties. But what’s needed right now is action by this council, and I intend to go before the voters at the next election . . . [Music : Fades in and behind . . . ]


NARRATOR: It is interesting to note that since the first organized citizen demand for an established police force in Dayton that force has increased a hundred fold. In place of the two watchmen who patrolled the streets of early Dayton, there is today a police organization numbering more than two hundred. In addition to uniformed patrolmen, the present chief has the assistance of an inspector, five captains and twenty-eight sergeants. Thirty-two patrol cars cover the entire corporation area, instead of the downtown streets formerly policed. Two-way radio provides instant communication between headquarters and all patrol cars . . . a single instance of the greatly increased use of scientific equipment in our modern methods of crime prevention and detection. (PAUSE.) And now we return again to the middle years of the last century, to observe the development of another public service. [Music : Fades out.]


SARAH: Just the same, Walter, I think it’s a shame that they disbanded the volunteer fire companies. They gave wonderful parties every year. All the wives miss them.

WALTER: I suppose so, Sarah. But that was the trouble. The companies became clubs rather than fire-fighting organizations.

SARAH: But they did put out fires.

WALTER: Y-e-s, I know. They couldn’t very well help that, with six hundred members in all the Dayton companies. But they didn’t put out all the fires. When the Journal building was burned by the mob in 1863, not a single company turned out at first. They were afraid that the mob would smash their engines and cut their hose.

SARAH: And they would have, wouldn’t they?

WALTER: Of course they would, but the fire might have been put out. As it was, the whole Journal plant was destroyed. Besides, the rivalry between the companies had been getting pretty bitter . . . a lot of near-riots . . . so after the Journal fire the council ordered the volunteer companies disbanded, bought three steam engines and some horses, and hired some full-time firemen.

SARAH: How many are there?
WALTER: Fifteen or twenty, I think. I haven’t paid much attention to the fire-fighting since the companies were disbanded.

SARAH: But, Walter, I shouldn’t think twenty men could fight fires as well as six hundred.

WALTER: They can’t, my dear. But six hundred volunteers didn’t cost the taxpayers anything, and the twenty regular firemen do. Fifty dollars a month for the engine-men and thirty-six for the hose-men. Then, there’s all the rest of the department expense.

SARAH: Well, I should think the town council would just appropriate a lot more money.

WALTER: From where? You can’t appropriate money that isn’t in the town treasury . . . at least, not indefinitely. And the council doesn’t want to raise the question of higher taxes.

SARAH: Why not?
WALTER: Because no town council . . . Say, am I going to sit here and deliver a lecture on town government, or are we going to the concert at the Opera House? I thought were you so crazy to hear that Russian pianist.

SARAH: I am. We’ll start right away.

WALTER: All right, I’m ready, [Sighs.] though how I ever get through an evening of classical music, I don’t know. [Fade out and in.] [Music : Last bars of impressive number.]  [Long pause.]


SARAH: Walter, I smell smoke.

WALTER: Nonsense, my dear. [Crowd murmur off.]

SARAH: I tell you I do, Walter.

WALTER: H-m-m-m, maybe you’re right. I wonder . . .

VOICE 1: [Off.] Fire! Fire! [Crowd sound up.]

WALTER: The fool! Does he want to start a panic?

VOICE 2: [Off.] Be calm, please, everyone! Be calm! No one is in danger. Please more slowly to the doors. Slowly, please!

WALTER: Come on, Sarah, hold onto my arm.

SARAH: Oh, Walter, I’m so frightened.

WALTER: That’s all right, dear. Everyone will get out. [Crowd sound up. Some screams.] [Fade out and in.]


[Fire sound.] [Fire engines coming on.]


MARKEY: Get that No. 2 engine closer in on the First Street side! And bring up another hose reel! Barnes! Barnes!

BARNES: Yes, Chief.

MARKEY: What’s the matter with the ladder truck?
BARNES: Broke an axle, turning in from Third Street.

MARKEY: Well, tell them to carry the ladders . . . drag them if they have to! You men on that hose line at the corner! Play your stream into the second-floor windows! Get hose lines on those other engines and get them going. Parker! Parker! Where’s Parker? [Fade out and in.] [Fire sound and shouts.]

STONE: Chief Markey.


STONE: I’m Bob Stone, of the Journal. How does it look to you now. Do you think you’ll get it under control?

MARKEY: You can see it, can’t you? Four hours it’s been burning, and it’s worse than ever. We’ll lose the buildings on both sides, and we’ll be lucky if the whole block doesn’t burn to the ground. [Fade out and in.]


ROSS: Major Bickham, Mr. Himes and I have come to see you because we think that the Journal is being a little hard on the town council.

BICKHAM: You do, Mr. Ross? And do you and Mr. Himes and the other council members know what happened night before last?
HIMES: Well, of course, Turner’s Opera House burned down. A very unfortunate occurrence, and . . .

BICKHAM: You call that an occurrence?

HIMES: I know. Your editorial referred to it as a disaster and a disgrace. But we don’t feel that the council is to be blamed . . . or . . . that is, in full . . . since we . . .

BICKHAM: You can just save all that for the next council meeting, gentlemen. And you’ll need it to answer the citizens who appear to ask questions. The Journal has been investigating the fire department for months, and we’re going to publish the facts. We know that there isn’t enough equipment, and that what there is is out-of-date or second-class to begin with. There are not enough men, and not enough horses. Why, do you know that this town actually spends less than twenty thousand dollars a year on fire protection?
ROSS: But even that’s a lot of money, Major Bickham.

BICKHAM: What is it, compared to five hundred and fifty thousand dollars? That’s what this fire cost . . . the biggest fire loss Dayton has ever had. Chief Markey is all right, and his men are all right, but they can’t work with one hand tied behind them. The trouble is with the council, and you know it. And as far as the Journal’s editorial policy is concerned, you can bet your bottom dollars that . . . [Music : Fades in and behind . . . ]


NARRATOR: It is notable that within a period of about twenty years, from 1850 to 1870, there came into being in Dayton most of the public services which reflect the relationship of a city’s government and its citizens. Greatly improved police and fire services, as we have seen, made their appearance during that time. Street railway franchises were granted and lines put into operation. Street paving saw its beginning. Gas lights were installed on some streets and in some houses. There was already talk of electricity. And one other great public service also saw its inception within the same two decades. [Music : Fades out.]


HALL: Dick Wilson, you’re the stubbornest man I’ve had to talk to yet. I could have persuaded ten other voters while I’ve been arguing with you.

WILSON: All right, Bill Hall, why don’t you? I’ve only got one vote.

HALL: But you have a lot of property. And every bit of it will benefit if the city puts in a water system.

WILSON: It will increase my taxes, too, and the more because of what property I do own. You can’t tell me about city water. I’ve heard about it for years; in fact, they were talking about it when I was a boy. Away back in 1826 the town council appointed old John Van Cleve to look into the idea of bringing water in from Mad River. Nothing came of that. Then, a few years later, someone organized the Dayton Water Company, and every little while the council would pass a resolution about what the company was to do and how to it. But nothing ever came of that, either.

HALL: Something has come of all of it now. The council has passed a resolution submitting a two-hundred-thousand-dollar bond issue to the voters at the next election. And all that money is to go into a city water system.

WILSON: That surprised me, too . . . the council taking the bull by the horns that way. Usually they’re afraid to open their mouths about bonds or taxes.

HALL: Not so much any more. They’re learning that the public is willing to pay for the things a modern town should have . . . things like a good police force and fire department.

WILSON: Well, maybe . . .

HALL: And speaking of the fire department, that in itself ought to swing your vote.

WILSON: How’s that?

HALL: If this proposal goes through, the city will lay twenty miles of pipe the first year and install nearly two hundred fire hydrants. What does your property depend on now in case of fire? Wells . . . if they’re close by and running full. If not, it’s a matter of laying hose lines to the canal or the river. A piece of your property might burn down while they were doing that.

WILSON: None of it has yet.

HALL: All right, all right. Let me put it another way. How much do you care for your family’s health?

WILSON: As much as any man does, of course.

HALL: Then you can’t vote but one way on this bond issue, Dick. The day of safe drinking water from a well in your back yard is passing in Dayton. Any doctor will tell you that typhoid fever is increasing here. And they say it comes from impure drinking water.

WILSON: I know; that’s what they say.

HALL: And they know, too. So there you are. From the standpoint of health, fire protection and improved property values, you’ll just have to vote for this bond issue.

WILSON: Well, now, I don’t know, Bill. You see, the way I figure it . . . [Fade out and in.]


VOICE 1: As chairman of the special committee appointed by this council, I am pleased to report that our work is very neatly completed, and in a much shorter time than was anticipated. Less than a year ago, on April 5, 1869, the people of Dayton voted to issue municipal bonds in the amount of two hundred thousand dollars for the erection of a city water system.

VOICE 2: We haven’t done it for that, have we?

VOICE 1: Not quite. The excess will amount to about thirty thousand dollars. But (PAUSE.) I’m sure this council is used to the fact that expenditures sometimes exceed budgets. [Laughter.]

VOICE 2: Go on! Go on!

VOICE 1: Two acres of ground were purchased at the corner of Keowee and Ottawa Streets for five thousand dollars. The pumping plant was erected there because it provides easy access to wells sunk deep below the bed of Mad River. Water from these wells can be supplied to the pipe lines already laid throughout the city, at a rate of twenty-two million gallons a day, which is far in excess of the city’s present needs.

VOICE 2: Won’t we have to build a reservoir?

VOICE 1: No. Dayton is particularly fortunate in having a very abundant water supply that is free from any possible contamination. Many cities are dependent upon water from neighboring rivers, which is always of questionable purity. Others are forced to use open reservoirs. But Dayton, for as far ahead as any of us can now see, is assured of plenty of pure water. This alone means that every cent of the two hundred thousand dollars invested will be repaid many times over in a better health for the whole community, and for many generations to come. [Fade out and in.]

HALL: What did I tell you, Dick? The city water system has helped every piece of property in town. Fire losses are way down for this last year, and real estate prices are going up steadily. And all on account of a good water supply.

WILSON: Speaking of water, Bill, have you noticed the river today? It will be over its banks by night, and we’ll have water in the streets, the way we do every spring.

HALL: I know. We have high water year after year, but it’s been a long time since we’ve had what you could call a flood.

WILSON: But we have had them, and bad ones. That means we can have them again.

HALL: Dick, you’re a pessimist; that’s your trouble.

WILSON: Well, I’ll admit I don’t take up with new ideas right away, though I did vote for your water bond issue in the end. Sometimes, though, this river of ours worries me. You can’t vote the water down when she’s rising in the spring, and I’m afraid if it can run in Main Street a foot deep, as you and I have seen it, it might run ten feet deep some day.

HALL: I tell you you’re a pessimist, Dick.

WILSON: I certainly hope I am about that. [Music : Fades in and behind . . . ]


NARRATOR: We shall have occasion again, during the presentation of our plays, to return to early days, perhaps the earliest days, in Dayton’s history. But the main thread of our story is now approaching the end of our city’s first century of life. You may be sure that civic-spirited Daytonians observed that anniversary during the year 1896. And so, next week, we shall present a play dealing with Dayton’s hundredth birthday . . . a celebration which you are cordially invited to attend. [Music : Swells and fades behind . . . ]


ANNOUNCER: The march of the years in our city’s history has been marked by romance and drama, by also by the sound and steady growth which alone can assure a community’s future. Our sponsors, The Dayton Power and Light Company, are proud to have had a part in that growth during the many years when they have supplied natural gas, electric light and power, and city steam, to the homes, businesses and industries of Dayton. They will take the same pride in continuing to supply those services, and thus in sharing in Dayton’s further advancement. (PAUSE.) These programs originate in the auditorium of the Dayton Art Institute, where a large guest audience assembles each Sunday afternoon to see as well as hear a “Great Days in Dayton” broadcast. We shall be glad to have you, your family and friends as members of that audience. Tickets are free, and may be obtained at the ground-floor offices of the Gas and Electric Building, 25 North Main Street. (PAUSE.)All dramatic parts in these productions are played by members of the Dayton Civic Theatre professional company. Your narrator was Charles McLean. Your announcer is Morton DaCosta. Be sure to tune in at five o’clock next Sunday afternoon, over Station WHIO, for another broadcast of “Great Days in Dayton!”



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