It is not our province to go into historical details in this Guide, so we must leave the city's later history to others. It is our task to speak briefly of some of the present institutions of Dayton which claim the visitor's notice.
The Public Library
Was incorporated January 21, 1847. Beginning on a small scale it has kept steadily increasing to the present time. In June, 1850, the number of volumes reported was only 1,600. What a contrast between the past and the present! The Library now occupies one of the finest buildings in the city, on Third Street between St Clair and the Canal, and contains nearly 30,000 books and pamphlets. The number of volumes added last year was 1,854, a larger number than it contained in 1850. About one-eighth of the entire population of the city are enrolled on its borrowing list. The total number of volumes in circulation last year was 88,335.
The Montgomery County Children's Home.
The original enterprise from which this institution was developed was founded away back in 1844. It was then called the Dayton Orphan Asylum, and being entirely dependent on private donations did not make very rapid progress. From its inception till 1866 it took care of about sixty different children in all. At that time, however, the county took charge of it and greatly enlarged its scope. Four lots were added to .the property on Summit Street, West Side, and a large brick building was erected at a cost of about $33,000. The average number of children taken care of is one hundred.
The Widows' Home.
This worthy institution, conducted by the Woman's Christian Association of Dayton, was founded about seven years ago. The property consists of a handsome three-story brick building and commodious grounds on Findlay Street north of May. About thirty aged ladies make it their home. Applicants for admission must be at least sixty years of age, residents of the city for five years, and able to pay $100 to the endowment fund of the institution. The matron is Miss Harriet Nease.
Dayton Asylum for the Insane.
Previous to 1852 there was but one asylum for the insane in Ohio, but in April of that year the Legislature passed an act to provide for the erection of two more. Dayton, having donated fifty acres, was finally selected as the site of one. The building cost nearly $70,000, and is located south-east of the city. It usually contains between five hundred and six hundred patients. An idea of the practical utility of such an institution may be suggested by the fact that in November, 1888, it was reported that the whole number of patients received since the opening was 6,463, of whom 2,785 (over forty-three per cent) had been dismissed as cured.
St. Elizabeth Hospital
Was started in a small way in 1878 by Emilie and Columba, Sisters of the Poor of St Francis. They rented a small two-story brick building on Franklin Street near Ludlow, and prepared for hospital work. A staff of physicians who worked gratuitously was soon obtained. An additional frame building was erected on the premises shortly after to meet the demand for hospital accommodations. Soon more room was needed, and the Sisters selected six acres in Browntown (West Side) and erected the present imposing brick structure, five stories high, with four wings branching from the main building. It cost $65,000, and is a noble monument of charitable zeal.
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