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Great Days in Dayton
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“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!”


ANNOUNCER: The Dayton Power and Light Company again presents a thrilling chapter from the history of your own city . . . Dayton. Here is Mr. Charles McLean, your master of ceremonies, who will set the scene for today’s drama.



NARRATOR: During the past six weeks we have followed the story of Dayton from its founding through the early years when it was a thriving frontier settlement. Within those years Ohio came into statehood and population increased greatly. Thousands of acres of fertile farm lands were cultivated. New towns and villages came into being. Throughout the rich Miami Valley, flour mills and small factories began operation. Products of the soil and of man’s labor were abundant. Yet there was no true prosperity, for Dayton’s products had no easy access to the markets of the outer world. Roads were poor; transportation by wagon-train was very costly. The river was navigable for only a short time each year. Thus Dayton was choked with its own abundance, apparently doomed to stagnation. How these bonds were broken . . . how Dayton earned its rightful share of the fruits of commerce . . . this forms the theme of the drama we present today. (PAUSE.) Our play opens on a night in the spring of 1821. Dayton is shrouded in darkness save for a few faintly lighted windows. Rain pours steadily into the muddy streets. Two weary and sodden figures plod through the mire, coming at last to the darkened home of James Steele, member of the pioneer merchant firm of Steele and Pierce.



[Knock . . . repeated louder.]


STEELE: [Off.] Who’s there?

BURNS: It’s me, John Burns, Mr. Steele. Me and young Bill.

STEELE: [Off.] John Burns! (PAUSE.) All right, I’ll be down.

BURNS: Pretty cold, ain’t it, son.

BILL: [Shivering.] I can stand it, dad. [Door opens.]

STEELE: Why, John, you look half drowned; and the boy, too! Come in, come in! [Door closes.] Here, hold this lamp while I stir up the fire. (PAUSE.) Now, John, what in the world . . .

BURNS: [Despairing.] We lost the boat, Mr. Steele. Ten miles below town, it was. Rocks . . . and a log jam. Smashed her all to bits. We swum for it, me and young Bill here.

STEELE: But you’re both alive and safe! That’s what counts!

BURNS: [Dully.] We couldn’t save nothing, Mr. Steele. All the flour, pork, lard and lumber . . . everything you and Mr. Pierce shipped . . . it’s all gone. And so’s every dollar I had in the world. I scrimped and saved on everything to git the boat built this winter.

STEELE: [Slowly.] John, I’m afraid shipping on the Miami is coming to an end. The floods get worse each year as the forests are cut away. It’s dangerous . . . for you and for your boy, too. Bill’s only seventeen, isn’t he?

BILL: I can handle a sweep as well as a man, Mr. Steele.

BURNS: Don’t be braggin’, son. (PAUSE.) You say river tradin’s goin’ out, Mr. Steele? I won’t know what to turn to. I been a river man all my life, most of it on the Miami. Young Bill’s the same; he’ll follow along after me. If I could have a good luck a couple o’years runnin’ . . .

STEELE: Maybe you can have good luck, John . . . every year. And young Bill along with you. (PAUSE.) You come over to Reid’s Inn, on Main Street, tomorrow night. I’ll have my partner, Mr. Pierce, there, along with some other men. I have an idea that can bring luck to all of us. [Music. Fades in and out.]


STEELE: Well, gentlemen, you’ve all heard John Burns’ story. The boat’s lost . . . with nearly five thousand dollars worth of goods. That means a loss for me and Joe Pierce, and for the rest of you who shipped with John.

GEORGE: But, Jim, a lot of boats do get through, clear to New Orleans.

STEELE: Suppose they do, George. They dump their cargoes on the market with the hundreds of other boats that have come down on the spring floods. That makes prices so low that the shipper might as well give his goods away. Understand . . . I’m for trading by water; it’s the cheapest kind of transportation there is, but it can’t be profitable unless it’s safe and steady.

HENRY: We can’t expect that, Jim. With all the mill dams and fish traps, it takes the high spring water to get the boats down the river.

STEELE: I’m not talking about the river now, Henry. I’m talking about a canal . . . a canal from Dayton to Cincinnati! [Buzz of comment.]

GEORGE: A canal! Why, Jim, it would cost a quarter of a million dollars to build it. Where’s the trading profit in that? [Laughter.]

STEELE: It would cost twice that, George . . . half a million, anyway . . . but it would be worth ten times its cost in lower shipping charges and higher profits. [Buzz of interest.] Wait a minute, all of you. Flour’s selling here now for two dollars and a half a barrel, but it’s selling for eight dollars in New York. Here in Dayton grains are twenty cents a bushel; beef and pork, three cents a pound; whiskey, twelve cents a gallon. We could double and triple those prices in outside markets if we had cheap water transportation. And we’d make the same savings on everything we ship into Dayton. [Buzz of interest.] Now . . . I suggest that we form a committee from this meeting . . . you, Horation Phillips, and you, George Smith, and Alexander Grimes and Judge Crane . . . and let’s go to every merchant and shipper in the whole Miami Valley and show our common interest demands this canal.

VOICES: That’s a good idea . . . I agree with that . . . I’ll help.  [Music : Fades in and behind . . . ]


NARRATOR: In other Ohio communities, too, the canal idea took hold. Within the next four years, despite considerable opposition, the Legislature passed acts authorizing not only the Dayton-Cincinnati canal, but a complete system of waterways connecting Lake Erie with the Ohio River. The Dayton merchants raised funds with which engineering surveys were made to determine the course of the canal. John Burns worked hard to persuade the farmers up and down the valley that the canal would benefit them. [Music : Fades out.]


BURNS: Now, Silas, here’s how the canal will cross your land. She’ll come in ‘way over there by them willows, run straight through this bottom stretch and cross your south line right over there where I’m pointin’.

DALEY: There ain’t no use talkin’ an’ pointin’, John. I tell you I ain’t goin’ to have no canal crossin’ my best bottom land.

BURNS: Si Daley, you’re stubborn as a mule. Let me ask you something. How much did it cost to ship your last load of hogs the fifteen miles to Dayton . . . ship ‘em by wagon?

DALEY: Didn’t cost nothin’. I drove ‘em in on the hoof myself.

BURNS: But that took a lot of your time.

DALEY: I didn’t have nothin’ else to do, and neither did the hogs.

BURNS: That ain’t the point, SI. You can’t drive a cord of wood or a load of corn to town on the hoof. It costs money. Two dollars to ship a barrel of flour to Cincinnati by wagon. And everything else according. And you pay them shippin’ costs in the lower prices you git for your stuff. Same way with stuff comin’ in. You pay high shippin’ charges on a new plow, or whatever you buy. Now . . . when the canal runs through here, them charges won’t amount to much. You’ll take in more money, and you’ll pay out less.

DALEY: Sounds like there might be some sense to it, John. Still and all, I don’t want no canal . . .

BURNS: Listen, Si Daley! Suppose you was able to load your wheat, rye and hogs on a canal-boat right here in your pasture.

DALEY: You mean I could ship right from my own farm?

BURNS: You sure could! Unless you’d rather have George Hawker shippin’ from his farm across the way.

DALEY: Let’s see that there map again, John. H-m-m-m. Now, just where did you say the canal would run when she hits my land? [Music : Fades in and behind . . . ]


NARRATOR: In July, 1825, DeWitt Clinton, Governor of New York, who was largely responsible for the Eric Canal, came to Dayton with Governor Morrow, of Ohio. They were entertained at a large dinner at Reid’s Inn. Judge Joseph H. Crane acted as toastmaster. Addresses were made by James Steele and Colonel Robert Patterson. Governor Clinton responded by congratulating the people of Dayton, and of Ohio, on the progressive spirit evidence by the canal movement. [Music : Fades out.]


CLINTON:  . . . and so I can assure you that nowhere will the Ohio canal development be more heartily welcomed than in the State of New York. Our own great canal there, extending from the Lakes to the Hudson, will lie open to the fruitful products of Ohio, coming from your inland farms and factories to the eager markets of the Atlantic Coast. The vastly lower cost of such transportation must bring about a swift increase in commerce, profit, prosperity for all of us. (PAUSE.) Yet, commerce and prosperity are not all. By means of this greatly improved trade and travel between our states, our peoples shall be drawn more closely together. Inevitably we shall be drawn, all of us, more intimately into the great American family, the union of the United States. [Applause.] [Crowd sound continues behind . . .]


STEELE: That was a fine speech, John.

BURNS: It was that, Mr. Steele.

STEELE: You know, John, it was your long work on the river, even the loss of your boats that really started the canal idea in Dayton. And now I think you ought to profit by it. Let’s go over to my house and talk things over. Bill, you come along, too. [Crowd sound out.] [Music : Fades in and out.]

STEELE: Now, we can be comfortable. Sit right there, Bill. (PAUSE.) John, there’s a lot of money to be made out of the canal, and I’d like to see you make some of it.

BURNS: Well, of course, I figure to build and run boats.

STEELE: That will be just a part of it, John. Dayton is going to be the main canal port for all of southwestern Ohio. Goods will be shipped in and out of Dayton for this whole valley. Hundreds of boats will start and end their trips right here. They’re going to build a big basin up beyond the Cooper common, running clear from First to Third street. There’ll be warehouses and docks. Trade, John, and profits . . . big profits for the traders and shippers who do a big business.

BURNS: But I tell you I’m just a boatman. I ain’t had the education to succeed at trade, Mr. Steele.

STEELE: Bill has, in our Dayton schools. How old are you, Bill?

BILL: I’ll be twenty-one this fall, Mr. Steele.

STEELE: Fine. Now, John, I want you to get some land from the Cooper estate right on the edge of the new canal basin. Have a warehouse and dock, as well as your boat-building shop. You’ll be shipping, trading, making money in a business of your own.

BURNS: Sounds might big, Mr. Steele, but you know how it’s been with me . . . losin’ boats most years. I couldn’t buy the land, let alone build warehouses and docks. I ain’t got the money.

STEELE: You don’t need money, John. For years you’ve carried the goods of Steele and Pierce in your river boats, risking your life every time. Now, if there’s any risk, I’ll take it. I’m going to lend you all the money you’ll need.

BURNS: I . . . I dunno what to say, Mr. Steele. ‘Course, it’d be fine to be in business with you. Steele and Burns, shippers. That’d sure sound might good to me.

STEELE: But that’s not it, John. I’ll be what’s called a silent partner. You’ll have your own firm name . . . you and Bill. John Burns and Son. How would that sound? [Music : Fades in and out.]


BURNS: Sally, Sally, wake up!

SALLY: Yes, John.

BURNS: Me and Bill have just come from Mr. Steele’s house. You know what, Sally? Mr. Steele’s settin’ us up in business, tradin’ an’ shippin’ on the canal. John Burns and Son, we’ll be called. Warehouses, docks, an’ a whole fleet o’boats. Think of it, Sally!

SALLY: Oh, John, I’m so glad! Now you can get off the river. Every year you’ve been gone down I’ve been so frightened. And ‘specially these last years when you’ve taken our Bill with you. You will quit the river now, won’t you, John?

BURNS: Soon as the canal’s built, Sally. And that won’t be more’n two or three years now. [Music : Fades in and out behind . . . ]


NARRATOR: The construction of the canal was put under contracts in the spring of 1827, with more than six hundred bidders clamoring for the work. Where Patterson Boulevard now runs, east of the Public Library, a great basin was dug, and on its far side land from the Cooper estate was platted for warehouse and dock sites. Work went ahead swiftly. Meanwhile many farmers took over construction contracts where the canal was to cross their lands. [Music : Fades out.] [Crowd sound.]


VOICE: One at a time, one at a time! The commissioners are letting these contracts by sections. You’ll each get yours where the survey shows the canal crosses your farms. Let’s see. Who’s next, now? Silas Daley! Silas Daley!

DALEY: [Coming on.] That’s me!

VOICE: All right. Here’s your contract section on this map. You’ll build from here to here. Your contract’s ready to sign.

DALEY: Now, see here, neighbor. Why can’t I git the buildin’ o’the sections each side o’ my farm? I been talkin’ an’ workin’ for this here canal from the very first. Fact is, you might say it was my idea. John Burns come to my farm one day an’ I say to him, John, I says . . .

VOICE: Never mind what you said to John Burns, Daley. You can’t have a contract except for your own land. And here’s something else. You’ve got to pay your hired labor thirty cents a day, sunup to sunset.

DALEY: Thirty cents a day! Why, them’s highwaymen you’re talkin’ about, not laborers.

VOICE: Those are the wages set by the commissioners, Daley. There’s plenty of profit for the contractor. And there’s ten contractors bidding for every section. If you don’t want the work on your land, there’s plenty who do.

DALEY: All right, all right! Give me that there pen! [Music : Fades in and out.]


[Rumbling, hammering, shouts . . . off.]


BURNS: Look at them teams a-movin’ the dirt, Mr. Steele. Must be fifty of ‘em. They’ll finish the whole basin in another month. We’d ought to git the water in by midsummer.

STEELE: Yes, I think so, John, And they’re keeping pace building the warehouses and docks. Bill, how are you coming on with your own building here?

BILL: Fine, Mr. Steele.

BURNS: Bill, you go over an’ see can we hire another hod-carrier.

BILL: All right, dad.

BURNS: Mr. Steele, I’m sure mighty proud o’ young Bill, the way he’s took hold o’ this job here. He’s got a head for it. He’ll be the one to stay here at the warehouse and run the trade end o’ things, while I run the boats. Sally’s as proud of him as I am. (PAUSE.) An’, Mr. Steele, I’ll never git over bein’ thankful to you for the chance you’ve given me an’ mine.

STEELE: That’s all right, John. I’m glad to do it. And I’m glad you’re quitting the river.

BURNS: So am I. I’ll take my last boat down river in a week or two. This time next year the canal will be runnin’.

STEELE: Why don’t you give up this last trip, John? You don’t need the money, and there’s plenty you can do here.

BURNS: No. The shippers here have depended on me to run boats for ‘em all these years. I gotta make the trip, long as the canal ain’t finished yet. [Music : Fades in and out.]


SALLY: John, you won’t take a boat down the river this year, will you?
BURNS: I’ve got to, Sally. Folks’re dependin’ on me, like I told Mr. Steele this morning.

SALLY: I’ll miss you and Bill so! Every year it seems like forever until you get back from New Orleans.

BURNS: Bill ain’t goin’. He’ll be busy here, gittin’ the warehouse an’ dock built. Sally, I tell you that boy’s goin’ t’ make a great merchant, like Mr. Steele. He shows a lot o’ sense an’ know-how. He’s goin’ t’ be the real brains of o’ John Burns and Son. [Door opens.]

BILL: Hello, Mom. Dad, the boat’s all caulked and in the river. We can load her any day now.

BURNS: All right, son. There’ll be high water in another week, if I’m any judge. I’ll start the first good day. I’ll take her to Cincinnati myself and pick up a deck hand there to help work her on down the Ohio. [Music : Fades in and out.] [Rushing water.]


BILL: [Off.] The river’s might high and fast, dad. Sure you don’t want me to go along to Cincinnati with you?

BURNS: [On.] No, no, I’ll be all right. She’s loaded just about proper, so I won’t have no trouble. All right now, Bill. Come down stream a little with the stern line while I work her out into the current. That’s it. Now! Cast off!

BILL : [Farther off.] Good-bye, Dad, and good luck!

BURNS: [On.] Good-bye, son. Take care o’ your Ma for me. I’ll be back in two months.

BILL: [Far off.] Good-bye, good-bye!

BURNS: [On.] Feels good to have a sweep in my hands again, an’ the river’s runnin’ strong. Sure is full flood season; I ought to make a fast trip. (PAUSE.) John Burns and Son. That’s might fine, I tell you. [Music : Fades in and out.] [Rushing water.]


BURNS: River’s even higher ‘n I thought. Wonder if I better try to tie up somewhere. Current’s too fast here; must be something wrong around the bend. A-h-h-h! The dam’s gone out! And the rocks! Wonder if I can make it. I’ll try . . . I’ll . . . [A loud crash. Wood rending. Splash. Water louder.] [Music : In softly over other sounds, holds and fades out.]


[Knock. Pause. Door opens. Sobs off.]


BILL: Oh, it’s you, Mr. Steele. Come in.

STEELE: Bill, my boy, we were mighty sorry to hear about your father. Mr. Pierce and I . . . all of us.

BILL: Thank you, sir.

STEELE: How’s your mother?
BILL: Well, she’s sort of . . . broken up. You won’t mind, sir, if she can’t see you now?

STEELE: Not at all, my boy, not at all. (PAUSE.) Bill, I don’t suppose this is just the time to speak of it, but I want you to know that we call hope you’ll keep on with the firm . . . with John Burns and Son. If any of us can help . . .

BILL: Thank you, sir. Yes, I’m going on with it. I want to ‘specially on . . . on account of Dad.

STEELE: And you should, Bill. John Burns did a lot for Dayton. His name and work ought to be carried on by his son. [Music : Fades in and behind . . . ]


NARRATOR: The canal became a reality in the summer of 1828, when water was first let into the channel that was to become an artery of undreamed prosperity for the whole community. It was the custom to celebrate the launching of each new Dayton-built canal boat with speeches and a parade of the newly-formed Dayton Guards. Large and excited crowds gathered on the Cooper Common to watch these ceremonies. Here is one such occasion. James Steele is to make the principal address. With him are his wife and their niece, Ann Parker, who has come from her home in Cincinnati to spend the summer months in Dayton. [Music : Fades out.] [Cheers, crowd sounds, martial music . . . off. ]


ANN: Oh, Uncle Jim, here come the Dayton Guards. Don’t they look handsome in their fine new uniforms?

STEELE: Yes, Ann, we’re pretty proud of them here in Dayton.

LUCY: I wanted your Uncle Jim to join the Guards, Ann, but he just wouldn’t do it. He says he did enough soldiering in 1812.

ANN: But I think he should, Aunt Lucy. Just think how you’d look in a uniform, Uncle Jim.

STEELE: That’s what I did think of. So I didn’t join the Guards. [Marching and music on.]

VOICE: Company, halt! [Marching and music out.] [Cheers fade.]

VOICE: Ladies and gentlemen! [Cheers fade out.] Ladies and gentlemen, it gives me great pleasure to present the speaker of the occasion, Mr. James Steele. [Applause.]

STEELE: Fellow Daytontians!  A certain sadness touches this ceremony today, as we remember our good friend and fellow-citizen, John Burns. All of us knew him and knew of his service to Dayton. For many years he carried the products of the whole Miami Valley to the markets of the outer world. Year after year his boats left Dayton, carrying with them our hopes and fears as well as the products of our toil. His work was hazardous. Losses were frequent and heavy . . . heavier for him than for those he served. Yet John Burns kept on, despite discouragement. A few months ago he set forth on his last voyage, and from that voyage he shall never return to us. (PAUSE.). Yet there is a fine satisfaction for all of us in the knowledge that the service which John Burns performed is to be carried on. Dayton and Miami Valley products will go out into the world under the Burns name, as they have for all these years. The firm of John Burns and Son will continue to serve Dayton in the future as in the past. (PAUSE.) And now . . . I consider it a great privilege to christen this fine boat . . . the John Burns. [Cheers, fading behind . . . ]

ANN: Oh, Aunt Lucy, isn’t it exciting!

LUCY: Yes, isn’t it? And Jim, dear, I think you said just the right things.

STEELE: Thank you, darling. Now, wouldn’t’ you and Ann like to go aboard the new boat? I’m sure Bill Burns would be glad to have us.

ANN: Oh, yes, I’d like that!

STEELE: Come on, then. Stay close to me, both of you and I’ll get you through this crowd. [Crowd sound holds for long moment.]

STEELE: Ahoy, there, Bill Burns!

BILL: Hello, Mr. Steele. Come right aboard. I think you’ll find the gang-plank steady.

LUCY: Hold my hand, Ann. Now . . . here we are. Bill, I’m sure you must be very proud of this boat. And I’m so glad you named it for your father.

BILL: Thank you, Mrs. Steele. I guess I am sort of proud. And . . . uh. . . I . . .  

LUCY: Oh yes, of course. Bill, this is my niece, Ann Parker. She’s come from Cincinnati to visit us.

ANN: How do you do, Mr. Burns?

BILL: And how do you do, Miss Parker, I’m sure? I mean . . . uh . . . do you like boats, Miss Parker . . . canal boats, that is?

ANN: I think this one is very handsome.

BILL: Do you really? But I guess that living in Cincinnati and seeing all the big river boats . . . uh . . . this one must look awfully small to you.

ANN: Oh, no, it looks simply enormous!

BILL: Does it? Well, now, that’s fine. I . . . uh . . . oh, wouldn’t you like to look over the boat and . . . uh . . . oh, you, too, of course, Mr. and Mrs. Steele?

STEELE: Why, yes, Bill, I would like to see the boat.

LUCY: And so would I.

BILL: Oh, sure, sure, I wouldn’t think of your not seeing it . . . both of you. Just come right with me. Miss Parker, you’d better take my hand going down the gangway. It’s pretty steep.

ANN: Oh, thank you, Mr. Burns.

BILL: Perhaps you’d better lean on my shoulder, Miss Parker.

LUCY: [Off.] Listen to them, Jim. Mr. Burns and Miss Parker.

STEELE: Well, I was Mr. Steele to you long enough, I remember. But this younger generation is different. These two will be Ann and Bill to each other by evening. And I think I’d approve of that. Bill is a fine boy. 

LUCY: Yes, Jim, he is.
BILL: Now . . . these are the captain’s quarters. Sleeping cabin, kitchen and all. You see, Miss Parker, the captain and his wife will really live on the boat. He’ll run the boat and she’ll cook for him and the crew.

STEELE: Have you engaged a captain yet, Bill?

BILL: Yes, Henry McDonald. You remember him. He used to work the river boats with Dad.

STEELE: Yes, of course. And you’ve made a good choice, Bill. Henry McDonald knows every shipper up and down the valley, merchants, farmers and all. He’ll help your business.

BILL: Now, just forward of the captain’s quarters are the four passenger cabins and beyond them the hold for the freight. Then, up at the bow there are quarters for the two drivers and the stable for the mules.

ANN: A stable? Why, I never heard of a stable on a boat.

BILL: Well, you see, a canal boat is sort of different. We’ll have four mules and two drivers. Two of the mules will be out on the tow-path all the time. One team will pull the boat for about twenty miles. Then we hitch the second team to the tow line and put the first team in the stable on the boat.

ANN: Why, how nice for the mules . . . the ones that get the ride. Only I should think the other mules would get awfully tired pulling them.

BILL: Well, you see, they have to pull the boat anyway. Maybe I’d better explain it again. You see, we hitch the first team . . .

STEELE: Bill, I think I’d let that go. Mrs. Steele asked me the same question last night, about the mules pulling each other, and I couldn’t seem to make it clear, somehow.

ANN: Oh, it’s perfectly clear, and very exciting, but . . .

LUCY: Ann, dear, we must be going now. I’m sure Bill has a lot to do.

BILL: Oh, no, no. Please stay. Stay all day.

STEELE: No, we’ll be getting along, Bill. I supposed you’ll be very busy for the next few days.

BILL: Yes, day and night.

STEELE: That’s too bad. I was hoping you could come to our house for supper tomorrow night.

BILL: Well, I  . . . uh . . .  oh, yes, of course, I can do that.

ANN: But you’re so busy, Mr. Burns.

BILL: Not at all, not at all. I’ll be glad to come. [Music : Fades in and out.]


[Crowd sound. Knocking.]


VOICE 1: Order, order, please! We can’t get anything done in these town council meetings if we all talk at once. Now . . . go ahead, Mr. Steele.

STEELE: I’m just making a proposal that I think looks ahead into the future. We need bridges over the canal right now, and we’ll need them a lot more as time goes on.

VOICE 2: Sounds to me like just another way to spend the taxpayers’ money. The town’s all on one side of the canal, not both sides. We don’t need any bridges.

STEELE: We will, by the time we can get them built. More than five hundred new people have moved to Dayton in the last year. They’re people brought here by the canal. And in another year you’ll see a thousand more new Dayton citizens. They’re all going to live on the east side of the canal. They’re starting to buy ground and build houses now.

VOICE 3: You mean there’ll be as much building east of the canal as there is on this side?
STEELE: I do. [Laughter.} Laugh if you want to, gentlemen, but mark my words. We’ll all live to see the day when the canal is in the center of Dayton, not on the edge. Dayton’s going to grow more in the next five years than it has in the last thirty. Wait until the canal is completed all the way to Lake Erie, as well as to Cincinnati. Wait until there are sixty or seventy boats coming through here every month, instead of one or two a week. Wait until you see a thousand passengers and several thousand tons of freight coming into Dayton every week. I tell you that Dayton, and I mean Dayton people, will do hundreds of thousands of dollars in business every year, because we have a canal at last. There’ll be thousands of dollars every year in toll charges alone. It’s ridiculous to say that Dayton can’t afford to build bridges for the traffic that’s sure to come.

VOICE 1: I agree with Mr. Steele. I move, Mr. Chairman, that we adopt this resolution proposing a survey and plans for canal bridges at First, Second, Third and Fifth Streets. [Mixed voices. ] [Music fades in and out.]


BILL: Breakfast ready, Mom?
SALLY: Just about, Bill. You sit right down.

BILL: I’ll have to hurry. We’re starting at ten, and there’s a lot of things I have to do at the warehouse first.

SALLY: I see. I thought you were too busy every to go to Cincinnati on the boat. All these months you’ve said that Captain McDonald would have to handle the boat while you took care of the shipping work here.

BILL: Well, you see, Mom, I . . . uh . . .

SALLY: Yes, Bill, dear, I see. Ann Parker’s going back to Cincinnati this morning, and you just couldn’t think of letting her go alone.

BILL: Oh, no, Mom, it’s not that. I . . .

SALLY: Here’s your breakfast, dear. Now don’t hurry off and leave it half eaten. [Music : Fades in and out.] [Crowd sounds.]


MCDONALD: All right, folks, get your luggage aboard. Come right ahead. That gang-plank’s good and steady. You’re for Cincinnati, ain’t you, sir? That’s right. Cabin number one. And you . . . you’re going to Louisville, ma’am? Your cabin is number three. All right, folks, come aboard, come aboard!

BILL: Oh, Ann, there you are. Let me help you.

ANN: Good morning, Bill. What a lovely day it is! I’m sure it’s going to be a wonderful trip. And I’m so glad you’re going along.

BILL: Captain McDonald, this is Miss Parker. She’s a very special passenger.

MCDONALD: Well, Miss, I’m mighty glad to have you aboard. You’ll find we make our passengers just as comfortable as we can. And come dinner time you’ll see that Mrs. McDonald is a first-class cook. We’ll be gettin’ started now, Bill, if you’re ready.

BILL : We’re ready, Henry.

MCDONALD: [Shouting.] Hank, you ready with your mules?

HANK: [Off.] Ready.

MCDONALD: All right, there on the dock. Cast off them lines. [Shouts off.]

BILL: Here we go, Ann.

ANN: Why, Bill, now nice and quiet and comfortable this is! Coming up in the stage coach we were all packed in together and bounced around all the time. Still, I suppose the coach is faster.

BILL: Oh, no. It takes two days by stage coach, with the night’s stop at Hamilton. But we go right on through, day and night. Twenty hours to Cincinnati. We’ll be there before breakfast tomorrow morning.

ANN: I never thought people would travel so fast. [Horn off.] What’s that?

BILL: That’s Captain McDonald. He’s signaling to the lock-tender up ahead. He blows when we’re coming to low bridges, too, or when we’re stopping at a farm to pick up freight. [Music : Fades in and out.] [Horn.]

MCDONALD: Heave to! Get your lines out! Now, make fast! (PAUSE.) [Sounds off.] All right, Si Daley, here we are. How many hogs you got there?

DALEY: I got eight. They’ll weight about two thousand pounds, I reckon.

MCDONALD: Well, we got just about enough room for ‘em. We’ll get the plank out and get ‘em aboard. What you doin’ in your store clothes, Si?

DALEY: I’m goin’ along to Cincinnati. Figure I can git a better price for the hogs if I’m there to sell ‘em myself. How much is your passenger fare?

MCDONALD: Half a cent a mile.

DALEY: Half a cent a mile? Why, that’s an outrage, Henry McDonald. Costs almost as much for me as it does for all these here hogs.

MCDONALD: Don’t you hold yourself no higher than a hog, Si? [Laughter.]

DALEY: I sure do, but I don’t weigh nowhere near as much.

MCDONALD: Well, now, Si, it ain’t all according to weight. Them hogs o’ yours will be down below, where they can’t see nothin’ o’ the scenery. You’ll be ridin’ top-side, havin’ a nice view. You can set up here and talk to me.

DALEY: Don’t know but what I’d ruther travel with the hogs. [Laughter off.] [ Music : Fades in and out.]


ANN: Oh, Bill, this is so quiet and peaceful. And just look at the mist from the pastures, rising to meet the sunset. [Horn off.]

BILL: It’s fine at night, too. You hear the gentle lapping of the water along the hull, and the booming of the bull-frogs. (PAUSE.) Ann, you’re coming back to Dayton, aren’t you?

ANN: I don’t know. I’ve stayed so long this time.

BILL: You’ll have to come back, Ann. (PAUSE.) You see, I’m just getting started, building up this business. It’ll be hard doing it without Dad, but some day I’ll have the things I want and . . . and the things I’ll want to offer you, Ann. You’ll come back then, won’t you?

ANN: Maybe . . . Bill . . . some day. [Horn off.]

MCDONALD: [Off.] Low bridge! [Music : Fades in and behind . . . ]


MCLEAN: And so ends another chapter of “Great Days in Dayton.’’ Next Sunday we will present another drama of life as it was in Dayton more than a century ago. The title of our play will be “Rival Heroes.” It will introduce us to the days when volunteer fire companies, composed of Dayton’s leading citizens, competed with each other almost as hard as they fought the fires themselves. Be sure to listen. [Music : Swells and fades behind. ]


ANNOUNCER: “Great Days in Dayton” is sponsored by The Dayton Power and Light Company. Our programs originate in the auditorium of the Dayton Art Institute, and are broadcast over Station WHIO at five o’clock each Sunday afternoon. All dramatic roles in these productions are played by members of the Dayton Civic Theatre professional company. Your narrator is Charles McLean. Your director and announcer is Morton DaCosta. (PAUSE.) Be sure to tune in next Sunday for . . . “Great Days in Dayton!”



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