|City of Dayton
St. Mary's Hall
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Paul Laurence Dunbar
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Civil War Memorial
University of Dayton
Orville Wright Sculpture
City of Dayton
Dayton was founded on April 1, 1796 by a small group of US settlers seven years before the admission of Ohio to the Union in 1803. The town was incorporated in 1805 and given its name after Jonathan Dayton, a captain in the American Revolutionary War and signatory of the U.S. Constitution.
In 1797, Daniel C. Cooper laid out the Mad River Road, the first overland connection between Cincinnati, Ohio and Dayton . This opened up the "Mad River Country" at Dayton and the upper Miami Valley to settlement.
The Miami and Erie Canal, built in the 1830s, connected the Dayton commerce from Lake Erie via the Great Miami River and served as the principal route of transportation for western Ohio until the 1850s.
The catastrophic Great Dayton Flood of March 1913 severely affected much of the city, stimulated the growth of suburban communities outside central Dayton in areas lying further from the Miami River and on higher ground, and led to the establishment of the Miami Conservancy District in 1914. The flood remains an event of note in popular memory and local histories. The high waters damaged some of the Wright Brothers' glass plate photographic negatives of their glider flights at Kitty Hawk and power flights over Huffman Prairie near Dayton.
During World War II Dayton, like many other American cities, was heavily involved in the war effort. Residential neighborhoods in Dayton and in nearby Oakwood hosted the Dayton Project, in which the Monsanto Chemical Company developed methods to industrially produce polonium for use in the triggers of early atomic bombs, including those dropped by the United States on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan.
Dayton was also home to the National Cash Register Company whose employees built airplane engines, bomb sights and code-breaking machines, including the American bombe designed by Joseph Desch which helped crack the Enigma machine.
The Dayton Agreement, a peace accord between the parties to the hostilities of the conflict in Bosnia-Herzegovina and the former Yugoslavia, was negotiated in the Dayton area. Negotiations took place from November 1, 1995 to November 21, 1995 at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton.
Dayton's primary nickname is the " Gem City ". The origin of the name is no longer clear; it appears to stem either from a well-known racehorse named "Gem" that hailed from Dayton , or from descriptions of the city likening it to a gem. The most likely origin appears to be an 1845 article in the Cincinnati Daily Chronicle newspaper, by an author writing with the byline "T", which reads:
Paul Laurence Dunbar (1872-1906) later acknowledged the nickname in his poem, "Toast to Dayton", which contains this stanza:
Another explanation for the nickname "Gem", is from Dayton's sister city to the south, Cincinnati. Cincinnati is known as the "Queen City", and Dayton would be the "Gem" in the queen's crown.
The city was advertised as "The Gem City, the Cleanest City in America" in the 1950s, 60s and into the 70s. The phrase was often seen on public trash cans, and other places throughout the city during this time period. Additionally, Dayton has one of the most consistent street cleaning schedules. Every morning, street cleaners sweep downtown Dayton of any trash from the previous day.
Dayton has also been called the "Dragon City". This nickname came from the popular minor league baseball team for which Dayton has become famous. The nickname is most popular among younger crowds in Dayton such has the various college campuses and on the military base.
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