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Reed's Illustrated History of Montgomery County

D AY T 0 N


Dayton, the County-seat of Montgomery County, Ohio, is universally conceded to be one of the most beautiful cities of the Union. Its broad, smooth avenues, clean, wide business streets, and many magnificent private residences; its lovely drives, and attractive surroundings, combine to make the city" of Dayton the most beautiful of the Western cities. It is-also an enterprising, substantial, steady growing city. Not having grown up in a day, it is not doomed to perish in a day; but each year, as its manufacturing interests increase - its wealth and prosperity likewise - it becomes more and more one of the substantial cities of the United States.

The streets, so wide and pleasant, owe much of their beauty to the somewhat aristocratic ideas of

Major-General Wilkinson, then commander of the United States Army, who, at the surveying and settling of the city, secured the Civil Engineer, D. C. Cooper, to lay out the city "so that a gentleman could turn a coach and six in the streets." Hence, Main street was made one hundred and thirty .three feet wide between the houses, and the other twelve original streets were laid out accordingly. The present beauty of the fashionable part of Dayton is largely due to the wise suggestion of General Wilkinson. One of the streets was named after him, and one after Israel Ludlow, who gave the city its name in honor of his friend, Jonathan Dayton. All of the streets are graveled, and are broad, clean and neat. The principal streets vary from one hundred and thirty-three feet in width to sixty. and the new streets in sub-divisions range from forty to sixty feet In width.

The city is located in a basin, the rim of which is a range of forest-clad terraces decorated with handsome homes. .The drives arc innumerable and attractive. The level roads afford fine facilities for lovers of fine horses, and Dayton has accordingly an unusual proportion of elegant equipages.

The town did not assume importance as a commercial and manufacturing point until the opening of the Miami and Erie Canal in 1830, since which time it has increased steadily in wealth and population. In 1860 Dayton had 20,000 inhabitants; in 1870, 81,000, and at the present time it is estimated at 40,000.

Macadamized turnpikes were constructed in every direction to settlements in Miami Valley within a radius of fifty miles, and these now form a large part of the attractiveness and value of the city, there being no less than forty Macadamized pikes radiating from Dayton into a country unsurpassed in fertility or unequalled in population in the west. The city is in the centre of the most densely populatied country west of the Alleghany Mountains.

While this city has not increased as rapidly in the census as commercial points on the great lakes and rivers, it has enjoyed a steady, permanent growth. It has economized its means and kept out of commercial debt, in a remarkable degree.  Until it built Water-Works its municipal debt was only $500,000 for all purposes, and now, with all its public improvements, it is only $1,129,000, and its bonds are in quick demand at a premium, not only in eastern money centres but at home. Its business men rate high in commercial centres, and all her wealth is solid and substantial.                        

The great mass of the moneyed men of Dayton are self-made men, having made their money by hard toil and economy. Her aristocrats are workingmen, respected and self respecting.

When we consider the immense outlying population supplied by Dayton, we can readily see that her trade is important. Her largest grocery-house approximates one million dollars a year despite the competition of Cincinnati, Chicago, and Hew York City. Still, while her dry-goods, notions, and hardware jobbers are very important factors of her economies, it is in her mechanic arts and general manufactures in which her greater wealth exists. These amount to about $17,000,000 per annum, and embrace everything in the manufacturing line.

There are some twenty large flouring mills, one of which is the second largest in the United States.

There are about twenty establishments manufacturing agricultural implements, all employing heavy capital and a large number of artisans.

Among other large interests, the great quarries of Dayton must be mentioned. The stone is fine, white lime-stone, which is taken out of slabs twenty feet long and several feet thick. Some of the most highly ornamental public and private buildings in the West are constructed from the celebrated Dayton " marble. "

The commanding location of this city, in the heart of the fertile Miami Valley; its hydraulics which furnish large water power; its distributing advantages, consisting of the Miami and Erie Canal, - termini at Lake Erie, at Toledo, and the Ohio River, at Cincinnati - combined with eight railroads, most of them trunk lines, radiating in all four directions; and lastly, forty splendid Macadamized pikes which accommodate a large tributory region of the country, are the business facilities of Dayton to-day. What other city of corresponding size can boast as many, or as important?

The people supply themselves with water chiefly from wells and cisterns, preferring water from these sources to that supplied by Holly Water-Works. At a depth of fifteen to twenty feet they find the purest water, and the water-works are used mainly to water the streets for public comfort, and keep the lawns and gardens fresh and vigorous.

The principal public buildings are the Court House, of Dayton, (marble) modeled after the Temple of Theseus, of classic renown; an elegant and commodious stone-front jail in the rear of it, estimated at a half million of dollars; the city buildings, (of brick with stone-facings), accomodating the principal market-house on a street level, with an admirable Public Library in the west end, Council Chamber and. School-Board rooms in the east end, and spacious rooms for municipal officials in the centre, together with a City Hall, which accommodates 1,500 people; the Ohio Lunatic Asylum ; eleven large commodious school-houses, and many magnificent churches; Music Hall, an elegant temple for the drama, and Gebhart’s Hall, for the same purpose; St. Mary's Institute, on the outskirts of the city; and within full view of Dayton is the rational Soldiers' Home, the cynosure of the city.

There are forty-seven churches in Dayton, and eighteen sects. The schools have always main-tained the excellent reputation they bear to-day under able management.




The history of the schools of Dayton date back to the very earliest settlement. The people of the village were alive to the importance of good schools, and notwithstanding the rapid growth and development of the city, the school system has always been fully equal to all the educational requirements. The following list of schools, location, and principals is correct.

Normal School, Huffman avenue, between May and Center streets. Jane W. Blackwood, principal.

First District, Second street, between Madison and Sears streets. C. L. Loos, principal.

Second District, Perry street, between First and Second streets. A. P. Morgan, principal.

Third District, Ludlow street, between Sixth and Franklin streets. A. W. Shauck, principal.

Fourth District, Brown street, between Green and Hess streets. S. C. Wilson, principal.

Fifth District, Fifth, street, between Clinton and High streets. J. C. Morris, principal.

Sixth District, Herriman street, between Wayne and Brown streets. Fred. Loehinger, principal.

Seventh District, corner of Fifth and Barnett streets. Esther A. Widner, principal.

Eighth District, north of Mad River (Texas). J. E. Johnson, principal.

Ninth District, Huffman avenue, between May and Center streets. Win. H. Johnson, .principal.

Tenth District, Fifth street (colored). J. G. Brown, principal.

High School, corner Fourth and Wilkinson streets. Captain C. B. Stiver, principal.




There are forty churches in the city of Dayton, and three Young Men's Christian Association chapels. There are some very able divines, whose indefatigable labors and personal example have combined to exert an influence for good through all portions of the city. The different churches are as follows, to-wit: Five Baptist, two Christian, one Dunkard, one German Evangelical, two Reformed, one Independent, one Jewish, four Lutheran, nine Methodist, six Presbyterian, two Episcopal, and six United Brethren.




A sure indication of intelligence and enterprise of any community is always denoted in its news-papers. No city in the State is better supplied with ably-edited and newsy papers, when the population and field is considered, than Dayton. There are twenty-two, different papers and periodicals published regularly, and the amount of good they do in all sections of the country is beyond computation.




The Dayton Police Force is one that reflects credit to the city. It is under the control of a Metropolitan Police Board, consisting of the Mayor and four commissioners. One commissioner is elected annually, whose term expires in four years. The following is a list of officers and salaries:

Captain and Acting Superintendent, salary $1,200 per year; two Sergeants, salary $810; three

Roundsmen, salary $765; twenty-six Patrolmen, salary $720; two Turnkeys, salary $600. Headquarters in City Building. Entrance on Jefferson street




Dayton National. Capital, $300,000.

Second National. Capital, $300,000.

Merchants National. Capital, $200,000.

Dayton Saving. Capital, $100,000.

Peoples' Bank and Saving Depository.

V. Winters & Son.

Gebhart, Harman & Co.

Loan and Saving Association.

Mutual Home and Saving Association. Capital, $1,000,000.

American Loan and Saving Association. Capital, $1,000,000.

Centennial Loan and Saving Association. Capital, $1,000,000.

Equitable Loan and Saving Association. Capital, $1,000,000.




Nothing speaks more favorably of the enterprise of any country than its railroad facilities. These are but the requirements of commerce in all its varied branches. The railroad facilities of Dayton and Montgomery County are excellent. The following list of roads centering at Dayton will be found reliable:

The Dayton and Western. Controlled by the Pittsburgh, Cincinnati and St Louis.

The Dayton, Xenia and Belpre. Controlled by the Pittsburgh, Cincinnati and St. Louis.

The Dayton and Michigan. Controlled by the Cincinnati, Hamilton and Dayton.

The Dayton and Union.

The Dayton and South-Eastern.

The Dayton, Covington and Toledo.

Home Avenue.

Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati and Indianapolis.

Atlantic and Great Western.

The Cincinnati, Hamilton and Dayton.


The National Soldiers' Home.


The Central National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers of the United States, in full view of Dayton, is an object of universal interest and a most magnificent military charity.  It had its origin in Ohio. The suggestion was derived from a State House for Ohio Disabled Volunteers, by authority of an act introduced into the Ohio Senate by Lewis B. Gunckel, then State Senator from tills district. March 21st, 1865, Congress passed the act authorizing the National Home for Disabled Soldiers. Three were authorized - one at Augusta, Me., one in Milwaukee, Wis., and the principal, or Central Home at Dayton.

This is a beautiful spot - about three miles from the heart of the city. Everything has been done to beautify it, and make it comfortable.

There are at present about four thousand soldiers here. Col. E. F. Brown, formerly of the New York Volunteers, himself a one-armed soldier, is Governor of the Home, and Rev. Wm. Earnshaw has officiated as Chaplain ever since its organization. Both are efficient, zealous workers, and devote themselves entirely to the welfare of those under their supervision and care.


Business History.


In order to make the compilation of the business history of this thrifty and highly prosperous county complete, interesting, and instructive, we give historical sketches of the most prominent business institutions—some who have figured prominently in making Dayton and the county at large what it is to-day. Our information has been obtained from a most reliable source, and from proprietors, or agents on the premises, and no date or statements given that has not been seen and approved by the parties themselves, hence they must be recognized as reliable.

Henry Best, the oldest and most reliable jewelry house in the county, was established in 1828. In 1861 the firm changed by his taking his son Edwin into partnership. The house still bears the old name, and does a first-rate business. They are perfectly reliable.

In 1847 Joseph and Ezra Bimm (brothers) began business in Dayton, therefore we deem the public will be interested in knowing something of their business history, as they have endured the trials and hardships of the pioneers and are now reaping the reward due to such men. The father came to Dayton long before she had taken her place among the commercial marts of the Union, and when Joseph Bimm, Esq., was but a mere lad, and he can well remember the many changes which have taken place that has transformed the then sparcely settled village into the beautiful and highly prosperous city of to-day. Ezra Bimm, Esq., was born near this city, and like his brother can well remember how it is that a young man in a new country earns his " daily bread by the sweat of his brow," as both of these now eminently successful business men have worked at the roughest and hardest kind of labor for the sum of $5.00 per month. Mr. Bimm, sr., was at one time offered the lot where the Court-house now stands for five days' labor, but owing to the fact that " the lot" was nothing but a " duck pond," and considered worthless, the offer was not accepted. Joseph and Ezra continued in business as partners for sixteen years in the Grocery and Pork Packing business. Their location then was the same as to-day. Since that time Ezra has erected a fine brick block on the site of the pioneer store. After sixteen years of successful business, the firm of J. and E. Bimm dissolved, Joseph confining himself to the pork-packing, and Ezra to the grocery and ice business. Ezra then took into partnership Joseph, eldest son, a young man of rare business ability, and the firm name was E Bimm & Co. Finally the fell destroyer, Death, came and claimed as its own the son and nephew and left many sorrowing friends behind. However, fortune favored these honest and never daunted pioneers, and to-day they are reaping the abundant fruits of a successful business career. In 1879, E. Bimm, Esq., took into partnership his two sons, and now the firm name is E. Bimm & Sons. They are doing a large and pleasant business in the Wholesale and Retail Grocery and Ice trade. They have an artificial lake of forty acres which cuts some 50,000 tons of ice annually. Joseph Bimm, Esq., is still actively engaged in pork-packing. Long may these gentlemen-live to enjoy the prosperity and happiness which is the just reward of industry, intelligence, and true integrity.

In 1847 the business of S. N. Brown & Co., was established, and in 1866 was incorporated as a stock company. They employ from one hundred and twenty to one hundred and forty hands in making wheels and wheel material. Thomas Brown is President, J. M. Phelps, Secretary and Treasurer, and S. N. Brown, General Superintendent.

In 1865, M. Blau, Esq., began business in Dayton. He deals in all kinds of scrap-iron, hides, wool, leather, paper, stock, etc. His business is quite extensive, and he ranks well among our whole-sale business men. His building is on Mill street, and is 150x40 feet, and in the rear of the store he has a yard for storing purposes one hundred feet deep. Mr. Blau is ably seconded in his business transactions by his son Albert, who does all in his power to advance the interest of his father. They are both honorable gentlemen, doing much for the welfare of Dayton.

Thomas Nixon, successor to Nixon & Co., paper manufacturers, was established in 1866. This is an extensive institution, giving steady employment to about thirty hands. Mr; Nixon manufactures paper bags, flour-sacks, and printed wrapping paper. His trade extends from the east to the west, and from the lakes to the gulf. In connection with this mill, Mr. Nixon has a paper-mill in Richmond, Ind., which makes paper for the paper bags. Capacity of mill in paper bags alone is 250,000 hags per day. Mr. Nixon is a young man, full of activity and business.

In 1867, Messrs. D. Gebhart, Joseph Gebhart, and H. L. Pope entered into a co-partnership under the firm name of Gebhart, Pope A Co., for the purpose of manufacturing linseed oil and cake. In 1879 Jas. R. Gebhart retired, and the vacancy this caused was filled by Walter Gebhart. They occupy a building 80x50 feet, two stories, and give employment to about eleven men. This well-known and highly prosperous firm transacts a large amount of business annually. They crush some 100,000 barrels of seed per year, which is made into oil and cake, that is shipped principally direct to Europe.

In 1869 Messrs. Chadwick & Francisco entered into a co-partnership for the purpose of manufacturing jail work and iron railing of all kinds. . Their work can be found in nearly all sections of the country, and all jobs speak well of the manner in which they are done. They utilize a building 75x50 feet, giving employment to about eight mechanics. Any contracts awarded to this firm will be promptly executed. They are honorable gentlemen.

In June, 1876, the Buckeye Iron and Brass Works was incorporated as a joint stock company, with a capital of $75,000. Chas. E. Pease, president: R. M. Anderson, vice-president; W. B. Anderson, secretary - all men of acknowledged integrity and ability. This company manufacture all kinds of brass and iron goods for steam engines, etc. They are also the owners of the Pease Tobacco Cutter, Krutzch Universal Milling Machine, and Improved Monitor Lathe for brass finishers. Their factory is 250x50 feet, with foundry attached, 60x50 feet. They use a 60-horse power engine, and give employment to one hundred and thirty-five men.

In February, 1877, E. P. Schneidcr and William W. Hackney began gold and silver plating, and manufacturing and repairing guns. This firm, although not quite so extensive as some of our colossal institutions, embraces much experience and honor, and all work done by this firm may be relied upon as A No. 1. Their location "is No. 5 Canal street, near Third.

In September, 1879, A. Zengel & Co. began business by manufacturing boxes of all kinds. They were the successors of Heinson & Protzman. The firm of Zengel & Co. are known as the Miami Valley Box Manufacturers. They make all descriptions of boxes, but make a specialty of cigar boxes. Their building is two stories, 90x60 feet, and employ about fourteen hands. They enjoy a good reputation and large patronage in this and adjoining states. They are reliable and trustworthy.

In 1834 the business of Greer & King was established, hence they figure prominently in our business history. This well-known and highly-prosperous firm enjoy a reputation second to no other house of the kind in the West. They manufacture and deal in all kinds of stoves and hollow ware, tinners' stock, etc. Their factory is located on the canal, between Second and Third streets, and the store and office is in the Huffman Block, Third street. This firm ranks among our best and foremost business men of not only Montgomery County, but Ohio as well.

In 1844 J. H. Pierce, Esq., began business in Dayton. At that time he was the proprietor of a lard-oil mill. In this business Mr. Pierce gained a wide acquaintance and an honorable position in business and social circles. In 1876 he purchased the planing mill on the corner of Wayne and State streets, and has since that time been engaged in manufacturing sash, doors, blinds, and builders' materials. Some time previous to 1876, Mr. Pierce had owned an interest in this valuable property. The dimensions are as follows, to-wit: 100x60 feet, giving employment to some thirty hands. Mr. Pierce is a courteous gentleman, doing much for Dayton.

In 1853 J. R. Johnston, Esq., began business. He was then one of the firm of Pease, Clegg & Co., machinists and foundry. In 1878 the present firm of J. R. Johnston & Son was formed, who still continue in the foundry and machine business. April 5, 1879, this firm was burned out, which did them almost untold injuries, as it destroyed nearly all of their patterns, and the stock of patterns before this fire was complete. May 4,1879, they were again running full blast. Mr. Johnston is one of our old residents, and occupies a prominent place in business circles, while both members of the firm are hard-working and honorable gentlemen.

In 1868 Messrs. Weusthoff & Getz began manufacturing grain drills, etc., on Wayne street. The superiority of their drill gave them a large and rapidly-increasing trade. In 1871 they organized the Farmers' Friend Manufacturing Company, with $100,000 capital. The following officers were elected for their integrity and probity, to-wit: Benj. Kuhns, president; Robert Craig, vice president; V. P. Van Home, secretary; Jas. A. Marlay, treasurer. Their factory is a fine building, as can be seen from an illustration of the same in this book, built with all the conveniences that good mechanics could suggest. It is 206x140 feet, four stories, and is utilized to its utmost capacity in making the popular grain drill and corn planter called the Farmers' Friend, and it is conceded by the best farmers that it is indeed the farmers' friend. About ninety men are employed the year through in making these implements, which find their way into all wheat-growing sections of the world.

In 1868 C. Schwind, Esq., built the Dayton View Brewery. This well-known and valuable property takes up a lot 220x250 feet. This establishment was built with the view of making the best kind of lager, and it has met the expectation of its proprietor, as the Dayton View lager is a favorite beverage with all who indulge in the cooling drink. Mr. Schwind makes some 9,000 barrels per year, using up some 24,000 bushels of barley and about 11,250 pounds of hops. He is an enterprising man, and figures well in business circles.

In 1866 Messrs. Stilwell & Bierce began manufacturing turbine water wheels, etc., in Dayton. In 1870 they built the present substantial and commanding factory and organized themselves into a joint stock company. This company embraces much experience and knowledge of this branch of commerce. They make a specialty of the Victor and Eclipse Turbine Water Wheels and the Stilwell Patent Lime-Extracting Heater. This is a valuable invention. Their works are as follows, to-wit: Main building, 160x40, two stories; foundry, 100x40, with the necessary out-buildings. They are also making arrangements for building a fire-proof warehouse. This is one of the solid companies of Montgomery County.

In 1860 John Rouzer began business as a contractor and builder. Success attended Mr. Rouzer in all his undertakings, and to-day he ranks among the largest and most reliable builders in Montgomery County. He uses a building 110x70 feet, four stories, and gives employment to about fifty men. His location is well known, at the head of Fourth street, on canal. He makes a specialty of black walnut work, stair building, etc. Mr. Rouzer, personally, is an honorable gentleman.

In 1862 Messrs. Jos. and C. B. Clegg and E. M. Wood entered into a co-partnership for the purpose of manufacturing linseed oil and cake. In 1872 they organized a joint stock company. The other members were W. S. and Geo. A. Archer. These are all gentlemen of standard reputation, and have gained by persistent labors a large business. In addition to the linseed oil and cake business, they manufacture a horse hay-rake of standard excellence. They employ about fifty hands. The building extends from the canal to Wyandotte street, and is four stories high.

In 1875 the now well-known and prosperous firm of Smith & Mclntire was formed. They are centrally located, at No. 127 East Third street, and do a large business as importers and dealers in China, glass and queensware, lamps, chandeliers, etc. In the prosecution of their business they use a store 125x18 feet, five stories, and they rank among our solid business men. The public will find this a pleasant firm to deal with.

In 1874 A. A. Simonds came to Dayton from the East. Mr. Simonds built his present substantial factory on Dayton View Hydraulic, and equipped it purposely for a knife factory, as this was the business Mr. Simonds was engaged in East. His building is 100x40, giving employment to about eighteen men. He makes a specialty of paper arid planing-mill knives, and has gained a good reputation in Dayton as a manufacturer and a gentleman.

In 1876 the Messrs. Snyder Bros., purchased the old building on the Dayton View Hydraulic, and after thoroughly repairing it, equipped in a first-class manner as a merchant mill, put in six run of stone with a combined capacity of one hundred barrels of fine flour every twenty-four hours. The mill is constantly kept in the best shape possible, and to farmers they will exchange flour for wheat. The firm of Snyder Bros. & Co., are able men, doing all in their power to advance the best interests of Dayton.

Among the many flourishing establishments in Dayton dealing in notions and fancy goods, none occupy a more prominent position than the wholesale house of C. J. Coffman & Co., No. 121 East Third street - in the Hoffman Block. Although they have only been in this city since 1879, during the short time that has elapsed since their opening a house here, they have acquired a wide-spread and enviable reputation among all business men. While their, goods are of the best quality, their prices are suited to the times, and their numerous patrons are on the increase. Their store is 18x120 feet.

In 1878, Messrs. L. & M. Woodhull began manufacturing buggies and carriages. This firm has for some time before this been engaged largely in the seed and agricultural implement trade, and are well and favorably known to many of our farmers and business men. The work turned out of their shops is second to none in the country, and their trade amounts to very large sums annually. Their factory is 65x65 feet, four stories, and they employ about fifty hands the year round. This enterprising and reliable firm began business in Dayton about thirty-two years ago.

In 1879, the firm of dark & Co., was organized. They employ about ten hands in manufacturing dark's Celebrated Horse Rasp, and all kinds of files. They are located on Second street.

Messrs. Bright & Crosley began the wholesale fancy grocery trade in Dayton in 1877, and though comparatively new they enjoy an enviable reputation and a remunerative trade. They make a specialty of teas, tobaccos, and cigars. Their location is central, at No. 117 East Third street. Store room one hundred and thirty feet deep and four stories high. We wish Messrs. Bright & Crosley success.

Owen Pixley & Co., of Utica, N. Y., opened a branch house in Dayton in 1879. This house embraces much experience and practical knowledge of the clothing business, and ranks among the largest in the entire country. They manufacture all of their clothing, and will give to buyers in this county a fine and extensive assortment of clothing and gents' furnishing goods at bottom prices. See advertisement.

In 1865 Messrs. Leglcr, Barlow & Co., began the dry-goods trade in Dayton. This branch of commercial industry requires more skill and offers a wider field for legitimate operation than any of the other industries, hence the dry-goods traffic needs to be mentioned in order to make this book complete.

We find by careful inquiry that the well-known and popular house of Legler, Barlow & Co., of Nos. 35 and 37 North Main street, ably represent this branch of commerce in Montgomery. They import and job all kinds of dry-goods and notions, and enjoy the confidence of the entire public. They use for the prosecution of' their business a building 140x40 feet, five stories. All members of this firm are gentlemanly to all.

The Champion Plow Works of Dayton was established in 1869 by Messrs. Mause & Breneman. In 1873 the firm of J. Lane Reed & Co., was formed. They are the present proprietors of these large works. They use a factory 125x100 feet, four stories, and employ some seventy-five men. All members of this firm are men who stand high in public opinion.

In 1842 the business of Pritz & Co., was established. The firm-name to-day is Pritz & Kuhns. They occupy a building whose aggregate dimensions are 245x164 feet. They give employment to a large number of men, who turn out annually a large number of the well-known and popular Dorsey Self-raking Reaper and Mower, and the Dayton Triple Force Feed Drill. In compiling this work it is our intention to do to all of our hundreds of patrons everything that lies in our power, and we can heartily recommend to all fanners the Dorsey Self-reaper and Mower Combined, and in doing this we simply echo the opinions of oar best and most reliable farmers.


(This ends the text portion of the book.  The rest of the book is advertisements. – Editor)


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