Guide to the Central National Soldiers' Home
Sketches About the City

SKETCHES ABOUT THE CITY.

 

Dayton Fire Department.

 

Dayton is justly proud of her Fire Department, which has been improving steadily year by year until it has achieved a national reputation.  For many years it has been conducted on a non-partisan basis, and no questions of politics are ever allowed to disturb the deliberations of the Board of Fire Commissioners to whose charge this responsible work is committed. The Board consists of C. H. Ware, President; E. F. Pryor, A. C. Nixon, and M. A. Nipgen. The Chief, acting also as Secretary of the Board, is Daniel C. Larkin, who has occupied his present position for twelve years.

The practical good done by the Department is illustrated by the fact that during the past year the entire fire loss was only $21,961; $19,499 of which was covered by insurance. The year before the fire loss was also small, $43,357.60. This is remarkable for a wealthy manufacturing city of 65,000 population.

The Force comprises fifty-nine men in all. The apparatus consists of four steam fire engines, two chemical engines, two hook and ladder trucks four Babcock fire extinguishers, four hose wagons, six hose reels, and three wagons. These are drawn by twenty-six horses, which are kept in splendid condition. There are nine engine and truck houses in different parts of the city, the total value of which is over $66,000. The Fire Alarm Telegraph has eighty-seven public automatic signal boxes and seventy-five miles of wire. The expenses of the Department last year amounted to $46,498.82, an insignificant sum compared with its value to the public.

Engine House No. 4, of which we present an engraving, is a model of its kind. It was built in 1887 at a cost of nearly $9,000. It is a two-story building with high slate roof, built of pressed brick with white mortar and sandstone trimmings. On the south corner a large hose tower rises to the height of fifty-five feet.

Chief Daniel C. Larkin was born in Sandusky, 0., in 1849; and has made Dayton his home since 1870. For a short time he was a member of the Volunteer Fire Department in Sandusky, and served as a locomotive engineer for some years.  In July, 1880, at the organization of the Board of Fire Commissioners, Mr. Larkin was elected to the position which he still holds. The contrast between the condition of the Fire Department in l880 and 1891 is very marked, and proves that its management is in safe hands.

 

Dayton Gymnastic Club.

 

Gymnasium and rooms, corner of Walnut and East Fifth.

March 7, 1880, ten enterprising young men organized the Dayton Gymnastic Club, whose object is to promote the moral and physical welfare of its members. These young men were: William Kramer, Louis B. Roehm, William Krull, Victor Roehm, Val Martz, Charles Kuhns, Peter Graf, Albert Euchenhoffer, George Gessler, and John Runck. They were all firm believers in the maxim, Mens sana in corpore sano, and founded their society on a solid basis.

The early days of the Club were full of struggle, but it gradually surmounted all difficulties.  At present it holds property valued at $5,000, and confidently looks forward to further advance. The acquisition of this property was mainly accomplished by public gymnastic exhibitions of progress in the men's and boys' classes, under the drill of their able general instructor, Mr. Louis B. .Roehm. These exhibitions have always been a source of interest and profit.

The membership, while showing no sudden increase, has grown steadily from the first.  It now comprises more than a hundred young men, ranging usually from 2o to 30 years of age. The cosy gymnasium is fully equipped with the best apparatus. The reading room is supplied with good literature donated by the members. The amusement room is furnished with pleasing and instructive games.  The bath rooms are well adapted to gymnasium use. Young men consider it an honor and privilege to belong to the Dayton Gymnastic Club, and one reason perhaps is the character and social disposition of the members. Candidates for admission must be of good moral character, and not under eighteen years of age. A bright future seems to stretch in long perspective before the Club. They are now contemplating the erection of a much-needed new hall, in which it is the intention to place one of the best gymnasiums; in the State. Such an institution deserves the hearty cooperation of the business men of the city.

The result of the December, 1890, election of officers was as follows: President, W. A. Hallanan; vice-president, William D. Hess; corresponding secretary, Frank Lenhart; financial secretary, Henry Sauer; treasurer, J. Edward Sauer; trustees, John 0. Rundstock, Charles J. Olt, Charles D. Click, John Roehm, Gustav Heinz; general instructor, L. B. Roehm; assistants, John Roehm, George H. Roehm, George A. Sauer; color bearer, William Gagel; superintendent of apparatus, Samuel Satcamp.

 

Young Men's Christian Association.

 

This useful organization is quite strong in Dayton, occupying the handsome and expensive building on East Fourth Street shown in the cut, and numbering nearly 1,500 members. Its scope is broad and comprehensive, ministering not only to the religious, but also to the mental, physical and social needs of its members.

The local Association has recently closed its twenty-first year, so that it is now really of age, and proposes to extend its influence through branch associations until every young man in the city is more or less touched by it.  In the intellectual field there are evening classes in such practical things as penmanship, arithmetic, and book-keeping, as well as drawing, clay modeling, wood carving, and other branches. Then there is the public reading room on the first floor, open to all young men who will use it, the reading parlor on the second floor for members, and a well selected reference library. The Star Course entertainments given every winter in Association Hall are unrivalled in their line. The gymnasium, one of the best in the State, is provided with every useful variety of gymnastic apparatus. The Bible classes and social religious meetings provide just that stimulus to the spiritual nature which young men so greatly need.

 

(Picture of Hollencamp Block)

 

The above street view, taken from a photograph, gives an excellent idea of the handsome buildings in this prominent business quarter near the intersection of Jefferson with Market and Third Streets. To the right of the City Building rises the handsome brown stone four-story business block of Mr. Henry Hollencamp, the leader in custom tailoring and gents' furnishing,

The business was established in 1873, but he did not enter his present commodious quarters till December, 1888. During all these years the patronage has been increasing, until now Mr. Hollencamp is the acknowledged leader in his line. Costume tailoring has become one of the fine arts, and visitors to the Gem City should not fail to visit the Hollencamp Block, 13 and 15 South Jefferson Street.

On the second floor of the Hollencamp Block are the Dental Parlors of Dr. C. H. Leaman.

 

Hon. John A. Hahne, President of the City Council during the past year, was born in Cincinnati in 1857. Two years later he came to Dayton with his parents, and has resided here ever since. Having received the usual training of the city schools, he finished his education by graduating from the Christian Brothers' College adjoining this city. He then began the study of pharmacy, and for years followed it in the capacity of drug clerk; later opening up for himself at the corner of Fifth and Commercial Streets, where he is doing a flourishing business. Four years ago he was elected from the famous Eighth Ward to the City Council, where he soon became known as one of its leading members. A year ago he was honored by a unanimous vote to the Presidency of that body.

 

John Rock is a successful business man, and a popular young Democrat.  He is a self-made man. He came to Dayton from Zanesville twelve years ago; and in that time, in a quiet, unpretentious manner, has pushed ahead until now he stands among the young men of whom much is expected in the near future.

Before coming to Dayton he was assistant supervisor of Longview Asylum in Cincinnati; and when he left that position, Superintendent Miller's recommendation of his worth followed him.  He reluctantly entered the field of politics. He was elected to Council last year in a Republican ward by an overwhelming majority. He made a good councilman, serving acceptably on most of the important committees. On January 29, 1891, he was elected Superintendent of the Dayton Workhouse, but a legal question as to authority between the two existing boards of directors is not yet settled.

 

Mr. John E. Byrne, elected President of the Board of Education in April, 1890, is now serving his fifth year in that body. He was born in Dayton, June 25, 1856. His earliest education was obtained in the public schools, but he afterwards attended the St. Joseph's Parochial School.  At the age of thirteen Mr. Byrne began to learn the machinist's trade with the Barney & Smith Manufacturing Company, working later with the Smith & Vaile Company. In April, 1887, he was elected a member of the Board of Education, and in May of the same year was appointed Assistant Engineer at the Water Works. In these positions he has served with credit.

 

Mr. Harry F. Nolan, Dayton's City Attorney, was born in this city June 22, 1864, so that he is not yet twenty-seven years of age. Having attended the public schools, and later learned the principles of book binding at the United Brethren Publishing House, on the 12th of January, 1882, he began the study of law in the office of his father, Colonel M. P. Nolan, and was admitted to the bar May 4, 1886.

At the beginning of the following year Mr. Nolan formed a partnership with his father, which still continues. He has always taken an active interest in politics, was one of the chief organizers of the Jackson Club, and has served as Secretary and Vice-President of the Jefferson Club. In the city election of April, 1890, he ran away ahead of his ticket.

 

Mr. George Mercherle, member of Council from the Eleventh Ward was born in Douay, France, February 18, 1845. There he lived till 1871, after the close of the Franco-Prussian war. In this contest he bore an honorable part serving in the Fifteenth Regiment, heavy artillery, Second Corps, under the famous Marshal McMahon. The picture of Mr. Mercherle, which we here present for its historical interest, represents him at the age of twenty-five, in the uniform of an officer of the French army. He arrived in Dayton in 1871 on the day of the Great Fire in Chicago, and has lived here ever since. He has been remarkably successful in his business relations, and now ranks among the heavy property owners of the ward which he represents.

 

Mr. John Cloak, a member of the late Council from the Sixth Ward, was born in Crawford County, Ohio, December 10. 1860. He attended school in Gallon, and removed to Dayton in 1879. Since March 28, 1890, he has been an inspector at the Cash Register Works.   Mr. Cloak, though deprived of many educational advantages in youth, is a reader and independent thinker on economic questions. He is an absolute free trader. and a staunch defender of Henry George's Single Tax on land values  He believes in city ownership and control of all public necessities, and that all corporations should be subordinate to the highest good of the people.

 

Mr. John F. Oehlschlager, elected to the City Council from the Twelfth Ward in April, 1890, though prominent in business and political circles, is only thirty-four years of age.  His birthplace is Cincinnati, which he left in early childhood when his parents moved to Dayton.

When he was only nine years old his father died, and he went to work on a farm to help his widowed mother. Afterward he went to Springfield to learn blacksmithing, but two years later returned to Dayton. At the age of twenty-two he found himself financially able to start a little grocery at Beaver's Station, in Greene County. Later he moved to Alpha, and there certainly had his hands full, for at the same time he acted as railway ticket agent, postmaster, and express agent. In 1885, returning to Dayton, he bought a half interest in the Dayton Ale Brewery, and in 1887 took charge of the business at 1305 Wayne Avenue. He is now proprietor of the Gem City Ale House, corner of Oak and Wayne. Having started with no capital but courage and a good physique, Mr. Oehlschlager may truly be called a self-made man.

 

The Beckel House, Third and Jefferson.

 

The Beckel House, the leading hotel of Dayton, compares favorably with similar institutions in our larger cities. The building, a four-story brick, as shown in the cut, is plain, substantial and commodious, with no attempt at the ornamentation sometimes indulged in. It contains two hundred elegantly furnished rooms, and is heated throughout by steam. Electric bells connect the rooms with the office, while bathrooms, elevators, etc., contribute to the comfort of the guests. Convenient sample rooms are provided for commercial travelers, where they can solicit patronage to the best advantage.

Under the present management the reputation of the Beckel House for skillful catering is well sustained. All the delicacies of the season find their way to its tables. During the past three years the Beckel House has been managed by J. 0. Shoup & Co.

 

United Brethren Publishing House.

 

The United Brethren Publishing House, under the management of the Rev. W. J. Shuey, is one of the leading establishments of its kind in the country. Here are the publishing headquarters of the Church, and here has been built up a great business reaching throughout the United States. It is a business also which stands uncompromisingly for morality and religion. Its influence for good in disseminating pure literature has been incalculable, and the volume of patronage increases from year to year.

Their work is not confined to their denominational literature, but their facilities for all kinds of business, stationery, printing, and supplies, are unequaled in this part of Ohio. Their reputation for excellent work in all classes of commercial printing and binding, including high class illustrations, is very nattering.

A good idea of the appearance of the four-story brick building which they have occupied for many years, is given by the preceding engraving. The first floor is devoted to their book trade, wholesale and retail, and to (he general business offices; the upper floors to the editorial offices and the printing, binding, and electrotyping departments. Their facilities are such that they can supply at the lowest rates any needed literature in print. For a fuller description of all departments of the business see their display advertisement on page 12. Their facilities for fine book work are better now than ever before.

 

NEWSALT BLOCK.

 

This handsome structure of pressed brick on the south-east corner of Fourth and Jefferson streets, is an architectural ornament to the city. It is owned by Mr. Newsalt, the well-known jeweler on East Fifth Street. Here the efficient Police Department has its headquarters.

 

Dayton News Company.

 

Across the street from the Pruden Block is the Dayton News Company, the leading dealers of the city in wall paper, books, stationery, and picture frames. They have arranged their store and warerooms to hold eight carloads of wall paper, their gilt papers selling at from eight to ninety cents per bolt. They are agents for the Cincinnati Enquirer, and employ forty boys for its delivery here. The proprietor, Mr. Weaver, has a controlling interest in the Weaver Printing and Manufacturing Company, who own and make the Holden Patent Book Cover, manufacture tablets, and do printing and binding.

 

           Louis J. Ritzler was born in Dayton in 1859, and has resided here all his life. He is the son of Mr. Fabian Ritzier, who has lived in Dayton for the past thirty-five years. The former .attended the Trinity Church .Catholic School on Bainbridge Street. For over sixteen years Mr. Ritzier followed harness making in the shop of Daniel Leonhard, on Main Street. Last May he succeeded his father as proprietor of the business on the corner of Brown and Wyoming streets.

Return to "Guide to the Central National Soldiers' Home" Contents Page