Dayton, Ohio

"Dayton" redirects here. For the Dayton metropolitan area, see Greater Dayton. For other uses, see Dayton (disambiguation).
Dayton, Ohio
City of Dayton


Nickname(s): The Gem City
Motto: Birthplace of Aviation

Location in Montgomery County and the state of Ohio.
Coordinates: 39°45′34″N 84°11′30″W / 39.75944°N 84.19167°W / 39.75944; -84.19167Coordinates: 39°45′34″N 84°11′30″W / 39.75944°N 84.19167°W / 39.75944; -84.19167
Country United States
State Ohio
County Montgomery
Founded 1796
  1805 (city)
  Mayor Nan Whaley (D)
  City 56.50 sq mi (146.33 km2)
  Land 55.65 sq mi (144.13 km2)
  Water 0.85 sq mi (2.20 km2)
Elevation 738 ft (225 m)
Population (2010)[2]
  City 141,527
  Estimate (2015)[3] 140,599
  Rank US: 179th
  Density 2,543.2/sq mi (981.9/km2)
  Urban 724,091 (US: 59th)
  Metro 799,232 (US: 71st)
Time zone EST (UTC-5)
  Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP codes

Area code 937
FIPS code 39113
GNIS feature ID 1064514

Dayton (/ˈdtən/; local pronunciation: /ˈdʔn/) is the sixth-largest city in the state of Ohio and is the county seat of Montgomery County.[5] A small portion of the city extends into Greene County.[6] In the 2010 census, the population was 141,527, and the Dayton metropolitan area had 799,232 residents, making it Ohio's fourth-largest metropolitan area, after Cleveland, Cincinnati, and Columbus and the 63rd-largest in the United States.[7] The Dayton-Springfield-Greenville Combined Statistical Area had a population of 1,080,044 in 2010, making it the 43rd-largest in the United States.[8] Dayton is within Ohio's Miami Valley region, just north of the Cincinnati–Northern Kentucky metropolitan area.

Ohio's borders are within 500 miles (800 km) of roughly 60 percent of the country's population and manufacturing infrastructure, making the Dayton area a logistical centroid for manufacturers, suppliers, and shippers.[9][10] Dayton also hosts significant research and development in fields like industrial, aeronautical, and astronautical engineering that have led to many technological innovations. Much of this innovation is due in part to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and its place within the community. With the decline of heavy manufacturing, Dayton's businesses have diversified into a service economy that includes insurance and legal sectors as well as healthcare and government sectors.

Other than defense and aerospace, healthcare accounts for much of the Dayton area's economy. Hospitals in the Greater Dayton area have an estimated combined employment of nearly 32,000 and a yearly economic impact of $6.8 billion.[11] It is estimated that Premier Health Partners, a hospital network, contributes more than $2 billion a year to the region through operating, employment, and capital expenditures.[12] In 2011, Dayton was rated the No. 3 city in the nation out of the top 50 cities in the United States by HealthGrades for excellence in health care.[13][14] Many hospitals in the Dayton area are consistently ranked by Forbes, U.S. News & World Report, and HealthGrades for clinical excellence.

Dayton is also noted for its association with aviation; the city is home to the National Museum of the United States Air Force and is the birthplace of Orville Wright. Other well-known individuals born in the city include poet Paul Laurence Dunbar and entrepreneur John H. Patterson. Dayton is also known for its many patents, inventions, and inventors that have come from the area,[15] most notably the Wright brothers' invention of powered flight.[16] In 2008, 2009, and 2010, Site Selection magazine ranked Dayton the No. 1 mid-sized metropolitan area in the nation for economic development.[17][18][19] Also in 2010, Dayton was named one of the best places in the United States for college graduates to find a job.[20][21]


Dayton was founded on April 1, 1796, by 12 settlers known as "The Thompson Party." They traveled in March from Cincinnati up the Great Miami River by pirogue and landed at what is now St. Clair Street, where they found two small camps of Native Americans. Among them was Benjamin Van Cleve,[22] whose memoirs provide insights into the Ohio Valley's history. Two other groups traveling overland arrived several days later.[23]

In 1797, Daniel C. Cooper laid out Mad River Road, the first overland connection between Cincinnati and Dayton, opening the "Mad River Country" to settlement. Ohio was admitted into the Union in 1803, and the city of Dayton was incorporated in 1805. The city was named after Jonathan Dayton, a captain in the American Revolutionary War who signed the U.S. Constitution and owned a significant amount of land in the area.[24] In 1827, construction on the Dayton-Cincinnati canal began, which would provide a better way to transport goods from Dayton to Cincinnati and contribute significantly to Dayton's economic growth during the 1800s.[24]

Historically, Dayton has been the home for many patents and inventions since the 1870s.[15][25] According to the National Park Service, citing information from the U.S. Patent Office, Dayton had granted more patents per capita than any other U.S. city in 1890 and ranked fifth in the nation as early as 1870.[26][27] The Wright brothers, inventors of the airplane, and Charles F. Kettering, world-renowned for his numerous inventions, hailed from Dayton.[28] The city was also home to James Ritty's "Incorruptible Cashier", the first mechanical cash register, and Arthur E. Morgan's "hydraulic jump", a flood prevention mechanism that helped pioneer modern-day hydraulic engineering.[29][30] Paul Laurence Dunbar – a famous African-American poet and novelist – penned his most famous works in the late 19th century and became an integral part of the city's history.[31]

Dayton in 1870

Innovation led to business growth in the region. In 1884, John Henry Patterson acquired James Ritty's National Manufacturing Company along with his cash register patents and formed the National Cash Register Company (NCR). The company manufactured the first mechanical cash registers and played a crucial role in the shaping of Dayton's reputation as an epicenter for manufacturing in the early 1900s. In 1906, Charles F. Kettering, a leading engineer at the company, helped develop the first electric cash register, which propelled NCR into the national spotlight.[32] NCR also helped develop the US Navy bombe, a code-breaking machine that helped crack the Enigma machine cipher during World War II.[33]

A catastrophic flood in March 1913, known as the Great Dayton Flood, led to the creation of the Miami Conservancy District, a series of dams and hydraulic jumps installed around Dayton, in 1914.[34] Like other cities across the country, Dayton was heavily involved in the war effort during World War II. Several locations around the city hosted the Dayton Project, a branch of the larger Manhattan Project, to develop polonium triggers used in early atomic bombs.[35] The war efforts led to a manufacturing boom throughout the city, including high demand for housing and other services. At one point, emergency housing was put into place due to a housing shortage in the region, much of which is still in use today.[36]

Between the 1940s and the 1970s, the city saw significant growth in suburban areas from population migration. Veterans were returning from military service in large numbers seeking industrial and manufacturing jobs, a part of the local industry that was expanding rapidly. Advancements in architecture also contributed to the suburban boom. New, modernized shopping centers and the Interstate Highway System allowed workers to commute greater distances and families to live further from the downtown area. More than 127,000 homes were built in Montgomery County alone during the 1950s.[37]

Since the 1980s, however, Dayton's population has declined, mainly due to the loss of manufacturing jobs and decentralization of metropolitan areas, as well as the national housing crisis that began in 2008.[38] While much of the state has suffered for similar reasons, the impact on Dayton has been greater than most. Dayton had the third-greatest percentage loss of population in the state since the 1980s, behind only Cleveland and Youngstown.[38] Despite this, Dayton has begun diversifying its workforce from manufacturing into other growing sectors such as healthcare and education.[39]

Downtown expansion that began in the 2000s has helped revitalize the city and encourage growth. Fifth Third Field, home of the Dayton Dragons, was built in 2000. The highly successful minor league baseball team has been an integral part of Dayton's culture.[40] In 2001, the city's public park system, Five Rivers MetroParks, built an outdoor entertainment venue known as RiverScape MetroPark that attracts more than 400,000 visitors each year.[41] A new performance arts theater, the Schuster Center, opened in 2003.[42] A large health network in the region, Premier Health Partners, expanded its Miami Valley Hospital with a 12-story tower addition.[43]

In 2010, the Downtown Dayton Partnership, in cooperation with the City of Dayton and community leaders, introduced the Greater Downtown Dayton Plan. It focuses on job creation and retention, infrastructure improvements, housing, recreation, and collaboration. The plan is to be implemented through the year 2020.[44]

Peace accords

Main article: Dayton Agreement

In 1995, the Dayton Agreement, a peace accord between the parties to the hostilities of the conflict in Bosnia-Herzegovina and the former Yugoslavia, was negotiated at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, near Fairborn, Ohio, from November 1 – 21.

Richard Holbrooke wrote about this event in his memoirs:

There was also a real Dayton out there, a charming Ohio city, famous as the birthplace of the Wright brothers.Its citizens energized us from the outset. Unlike the population of, say, New York City, Geneva or Washington, which would scarcely notice another conference, Daytonians were proud to be part of history. Large signs at the commercial airport hailed Dayton as the "temporary center of international peace". The local newspapers and television stations covered the story from every angle, drawing the people deeper into the proceedings. When we ventured into a restaurant or a shopping center downtown, people crowded around, saying that they were praying for us. Warren Christopher was given at least one standing ovation in a restaurant. Families on the air base placed "candles of peace" in their front windows, and people gathered in peace vigils outside the base. One day they formed a "peace chain", although it was not large enough to surround the sprawling eight-thousand-acre base. Ohio's famous ethnic diversity was on display.[45]


Dayton is known as the "Gem City." The nickname's origin is uncertain, but several theories exist. In the early 19th century, a well-known racehorse named "Gem" hailed from Dayton. In 1845, an article published in the Cincinnati Daily Chronicle by an author known as "T" stated:

In a small bend of the Great Miami River, with canals on the east and south, it can be fairly said, without infringing on the rights of others, that Dayton is the gem of all our interior towns. It possesses wealth, refinement, enterprise, and a beautiful country, beautifully developed.[46]

In the late 1840s, Major William D. Bickham of the Dayton Journal began a campaign to nickname Dayton as the "Gem City". The name was adopted by the city's Board of Trade several years later.[46] Paul Laurence Dunbar referred to the nickname in his poem, "Toast to Dayton", as noted in the following excerpt:

She shall ever claim our duty,
For she shines—the brightest gem
That has ever decked with beauty
     Dear Ohio's diadem.[1]

  1. ^ "Toast to Dayton". Retrieved March 19, 2013. 

Dayton also plays a role in a nickname given to the state of Ohio: "Birthplace of Aviation". Dayton is the hometown of the Wright brothers, aviation pioneers who are credited with inventing and building the world's first successful airplane. After their first manned flights in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, which they had chosen due to its ideal weather and climate conditions, the Wrights returned to Dayton and continued testing at nearby Huffman Prairie.[47]

Additionally, Dayton is colloquially referred to as "Little Detroit".[48] This nickname comes from Dayton's prominence as a Midwestern manufacturing center.[49]


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 56.50 square miles (146.33 km2), of which 55.65 square miles (144.13 km2) is land and 0.85 square miles (2.20 km2) is water.[1]


Dayton's climate features hot, muggy summers and cold, dry winters, and is either classified as a humid subtropical climate (Köppen Cfa), using the −3 °C (26.6 °F) isotherm of the original Köppen scheme, or a humid continental climate (Köppen Dfa), using the 0 °C (32 °F) isotherm preferred by some climatologists. Unless otherwise noted, all normal figures quoted within the text below are from the official climatology station, Dayton International Airport, which, at an elevation of 1,000 ft (304.8 m) about 10 mi (16 km) to the north of downtown Dayton, which lies within the valley of the Miami River, and thus temperatures there are typically cooler than in downtown.[50]

At the airport, monthly mean temperatures range from 27.5 °F (−2.5 °C) in January to 74.1 °F (23.4 °C) in July. The highest temperature ever recorded in Dayton was 108 °F (42 °C) on July 22, 1901, and the coldest was −28 °F (−33 °C) on February 13, 1899. On average, there are 14 days of 90 °F (32 °C)+ highs and 4.5 nights of sub-0 °F (−18 °C) lows annually. Snow is moderate, with a normal seasonal accumulation of 23.3 in (59 cm),[lower-alpha 1] usually occurring from November to March, occasionally April, and rarely October. Precipitation averages 41.1 inches (1,040 mm) annually, with total rainfall peaking in May.

Dayton is subject to severe weather typical of the Midwestern United States. Tornadoes are possible from the spring to the fall. Floods, blizzards, and severe thunderstorms can also occur from time to time.


Historical population
Census Pop.
Est. 2015140,599[56]−0.7%
United States Census Bureau[57]
Note: the following demographic information applies only to the city of Dayton proper. For other Dayton-area communities, see their respective articles.

Dayton's population declined significantly from a peak of 262,332 residents in 1960 to only 141,527 in 2010. This was in part due to the slowdown of the region's manufacturing and the growth of Dayton's affluent suburbs including Oakwood, Englewood, Beavercreek, Springboro, Miamisburg, Kettering, and Centerville.[58][59] The city's most populous ethnic group, white, declined from 78.1% in 1960 to 51.7% by 2010.[60] However, recent census estimates show a 1.3% population increase since 2010,[61] the first increase in five decades.

As of the 2000 census, the median income for a household in the city was $27,523, and the median income for a family was $34,978. Males had a median income of $30,816 versus $24,937 for females. The per capita income for the city was $34,724. About 18.2% of families and 23.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 32.0% of those under age 18 and 15.3% of those age 65 or over.

2010 census

As of the 2010 census,[2] there were 141,527 people, 58,404 households, and 31,064 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,543.2 inhabitants per square mile (981.9/km2). There were 74,065 housing units at an average density of 1,330.9 per square mile (513.9/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 51.7% White, 42.9% African American, 0.3% Native American, 0.9% Asian, 1.3% from other races, and 2.9% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.0% of the population.

There were 58,404 households of which 28.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 25.9% were married couples living together, 21.4% had a female householder with no husband present, 5.9% had a male householder with no wife present, and 46.8% were non-families. 38.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.26 and the average family size was 3.03.

The median age in the city was 34.4 years. 22.9% of residents were under the age of 18; 14.2% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 25.3% were from 25 to 44; 25.8% were from 45 to 64; and 11.8% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 48.7% male and 51.3% female.

2013 census population estimates

The 2013 census population estimate showed an increasing City of Dayton population for the first time in five decades attributed to revitalization efforts downtown and the increasing downtown population.[62] However, the 2014 population estimate indicates a net decrease of 897 individuals from 2013's estimate.[57]


C-5 Galaxy at Wright-Patterson AFB

Dayton's economy is relatively diversified and vital to the overall economy of the state of Ohio. In 2008 and 2009, Site Selection magazine ranked Dayton the No. 1 medium-sized metropolitan area in the U.S. for economic development.[17][18] Dayton is also among the top 100 metropolitan areas in both exports and export-related jobs, ranked 16 and 14 respectively by the Brookings Institution. The 2010 report placed the value of exports at $4.7 billion and the number of export-related jobs at 44,133.[63] The Dayton Metropolitan Statistical Area ranks 4th in Ohio's Gross Domestic Product with a 2008 industry total of $33.78 billion.[64] Additionally, Dayton ranks third among 11 major metropolitan areas in Ohio for exports to foreign countries.[65] The Dayton Development Coalition is attempting to leverage the regions large water capacity, estimated to be 1.5 trillion gallons of renewable water aquifers, to attract new businesses.[66][67] Moody's Investment Services revised Dayton's bond rating from A1 to the stronger rating of Aa2 as part of its global recalibration process. Standard & Poor's upgraded Dayton's rating from A+ to AA- in the summer of 2009.[68]

Bloomberg Businessweek ranked Dayton in 2010 as one of the best places in the U.S. for college graduates looking for a job.[20][21] Companies such as Reynolds and Reynolds, CareSource, DPL, LexisNexis, Kettering Health Network, Premier Health Partners, and Standard Register have their headquarters in Dayton. It is also the former home of the Speedwell Motor Car Company, MeadWestvaco (formerly known as the Mead Paper Company), and NCR. NCR was headquartered in Dayton for over 125 years and was a major innovator in computer technology.[69]

Research, development, aerospace and aviation

Aerial view of Downtown Dayton (NE to SW)

The Dayton region gave birth to aviation[70] and is known for its high concentration of aerospace and aviation technology. In 2009, Governor Ted Strickland designated Dayton as Ohio's aerospace innovation hub, the state's first such technology hub.[71] Two major United States research and development organizations have leveraged Dayton's historical leadership in aviation and maintain their headquarters in the area: The National Air and Space Intelligence Center (NASIC) and the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL). NASIC is the U.S. military's primary producer of intelligence on foreign air and space forces, weapons and systems, while the AFRL provides leading-edge warfighting capabilities to keep the United States air, space and cyberspace forces the world's best.[72] Both have their headquarters at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.[73] Wright-Patterson Air Force Base is one of the Air Force's largest air base wings. The installation generated a total economic impact in the Dayton area of $4.67 billion in fiscal year 2011, a decline from $5.1 billion in fiscal year 2009.[74][75] In addition, state officials are working to make the Dayton region a hub and a leader for UAV research and manufacturing.[76]

Kettering Tower, Downtown Dayton's tallest high-rise.

Several research organizations support NASIC, AFRL and the Dayton community. The Advanced Technical Intelligence Center, is a confederation of government, academic and industry partners that leverage advanced technical intelligence expertise. daytaOhio is a non-profit organization based at Wright State University in Dayton, which also hosts five Ohio Centers of Excellence,[77] one of which is the Knowledge Enabled Computing (Kno.e.sis) center which specializes in making technical advances in computer science areas such as Semantics and Big Data.[78] The University of Dayton Research Institute (UDRI), is led by the University of Dayton. In 2004 and 2005, UDRI was ranked No. 2 in the nation by the National Science Foundation in federal and industry-funded materials research. The Cognitive Technologies Division (CTD) of Applied Research Associates, Inc., which carries out human-centered research and design, is headquartered in the Dayton suburb of Fairborn. The city of Dayton has started Tech Town, a development project to attract technology-based firms and revitalize the downtown area. Tech Town is home to the world's first RFID business incubator.[79] The University of Dayton-led Institute for Development & Commercialization of Sensor Technologies (IDCAST) at TechTown is a world-class center for excellence in remote sensing and sensing technology. It is one of Dayton's technology business incubators housed in The Entrepreneurs Center building.[80]


Southeast tower at Miami Valley Hospital

The Kettering Health Network and Premier Health Partners have a major role on the Dayton area's economy. Hospitals in the Greater Dayton area have an estimated combined employment of nearly 32,000, a yearly economic impact of $6.8 billion.[11] In addition, several Dayton area hospitals consistently earn top national ranking and recognition including the U.S. News & World Reports list of "America's Best Hospitals" as well as many of HealthGrades top ratings.[81] The most notable hospitals are Miami Valley Hospital and Kettering Medical Center. In 2011, the Dayton area was rated number three in the nation out of the top 50 cities in the United States by HealthGrades for excellence in healthcare.[13][14] Also in 2011, Dayton was ranked the fourth best in the nation for emergency medicine care.[82] Then in 2013, HealthGrades ranked the Dayton region number one in the nation for the lowest hospital mortality rate.[83]

The Dayton region has several key institutes and centers for health care. The Center for Tissue Regeneration and Engineering at Dayton focuses on the science and development of human tissue regeneration. The National Center for Medical Readiness (NCMR) is also in the Dayton area. The center includes Calamityville which is a state-of-the art disaster training facility. It is conservatively estimated that over a period of five years, Calamityville will have a regional economic impact of $374 million.[84] Also, the Neurological Institute at Miami Valley Hospital is an institute focused on the diagnosis, treatment, and research of neurological disorders.

Top employers

According to Dayton's 2011 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report,[85] the top employers in the city proper are:

# Employer Employees
1 Premier Health Partners 14,135
2 Montgomery County 4,559
3 Sinclair Community College 2,726
4 Dayton Public Schools 2,574
5 University of Dayton 2,191
6 City of Dayton 1,950
7 Grandview Medical Center 1,918
8 Dayton VA Medical Center 1,914
9 Dayton Children's Medical Center 1,335
10 BEHR Dayton Thermal 1,022


The Dayton City Commission is composed of the Mayor and four City Commissioners. Each City Commission member is elected at-large on a non-partisan basis for four-year, overlapping terms. All policy items are decided by the City Commission, which is empowered by the City Charter to pass ordinances and resolutions, adopt regulations and appoint the City Manager. The City Manager is responsible for budgeting and implementing policies and initiatives. Dayton was the first large American city to adopt the city manager form of municipal government, in 1913.[86]


Panorama of Dayton


Unlike many Midwestern cities its age, Dayton has very broad and straight downtown streets (generally two or three full lanes in each direction) that improved access to the downtown even after the automobile became popular. The main reason for the broad streets was that Dayton was a marketing and shipping center from its beginning: streets were broad to enable wagons drawn by teams of three to four pairs of oxen to turn around. In addition, some of today's streets were once barge canals flanked by draw-paths.

Mutual Home Savings Building

A courthouse building was built in downtown Dayton in 1888 to supplement Dayton's original Neoclassical courthouse, which still stands. This second, "new" courthouse has since been replaced with new facilities as well as a park. The Old Court House has been a favored political campaign stop. On September 17, 1859, future president Abraham Lincoln delivered an address on the building's steps. Eight other presidents have visited the courthouse, either as presidents or during presidential campaigns. They include Andrew Johnson, James Garfield, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, and Bill Clinton.[87]

In 2009, the CareSource Management Group finished construction of a $55 million corporate headquarters in downtown Dayton. The 300,000-square-foot (28,000 m2), 10-story building marks downtown's first new office tower in more than a decade.[88]

The Dayton skyline's two tallest buildings are the Kettering Tower at 408 ft (124 m) and the KeyBank Tower at 385 ft (117 m).[89] Kettering Tower was originally Winters Tower, the headquarters of Winters Bank. The building was renamed after Virginia Kettering when Winters was merged into BankOne. KeyBank Tower was known as the MeadWestvaco Tower before KeyBank gained naming rights to the building in 2008.[90]

Ted Rall said over the last five decades Dayton has been demolishing some of its architecturally significant buildings to reduce the city's rental vacancy rate and thus increase the occupancy rate.[91]


Dayton's ten historic neighborhoods — Oregon District, Wright Dunbar, Dayton View, Grafton Hill, McPherson Town, Webster Station, Huffman, Kenilworth, St. Anne's Hill, and South Park — feature mostly single-family houses and mansions in the Neoclassical, Jacobethan, Tudor Revival, English Gothic, Chateauesque, Craftsman, Queen Anne, Georgian Revival, Colonial Revival, Renaissance Revival Architecture, Shingle Style Architecture, Prairie, Mission Revival, Eastlake/Italianate, American Foursquare, and Federal styles of architecture.[92] Downtown Dayton is also a large area that encompasses several neighborhoods itself, and has seen a recent uplift and revival.


Main article: Greater Dayton

Dayton's suburbs with a population of 10,000 or more include Beavercreek, Centerville, Clayton, Englewood, Fairborn, Harrison Township, Huber Heights, Kettering, Miami Township, Miamisburg, Oakwood, Riverside, Springboro (partial), Trotwood, Vandalia, Washington Township, West Carrollton, and Xenia.


Fine arts

The Benjamin and Marian Schuster Performing Arts Center: Interior view of main lobby and Wintergarden

The Dayton Region ranked within the top 10% in the nation out of 373 metropolitan areas in arts and culture.[93] In 2012, Dayton ranked No. 2 in the country as an arts destination ranking higher than larger cities such as Atlanta, St. Louis, and Cincinnati.[94] Dayton is the home of the Dayton Art Institute (see below).

The Benjamin and Marian Schuster Performing Arts Center in downtown Dayton is a world-class performing arts center and the home venue of the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra, Dayton Opera, and the Dayton Ballet.[95] In addition to Philharmonic and Opera performances, the Schuster Center hosts concerts, lectures, and traveling Broadway shows, and is a popular spot for weddings and other events.[96] The historic Victoria Theatre, located in downtown Dayton, hosts concerts, traveling Broadway shows, ballet, a summertime classic film series, and more. The Loft Theatre, also located downtown, is the home of the Human Race Theatre Company.[97] The Dayton Playhouse, in West Dayton, is the site of numerous plays and theatrical productions.[98] Between 1957 and 1995, the Kenley Players presented live theater productions in Dayton.[99][100] In 2013, John Kenley was inducted into the Dayton Theatre Hall of Fame.[101]

Dayton is the home to several ballet companies including:


Marion's Piazza

The city's fine dining restaurants include The Pine Club, a nationally-known steakhouse.[104][105][106][107] Dayton is home to a variety of pizza chains that have become woven into local culture, the most notable of which are Cassano's, Marion's Piazza, and Flying Pizza.[108] Notable Dayton-based restaurant chains include Hot Head Burritos, Super Subby's, Submarine House, and Fricker's.[109][110][111][112]

In addition to restaurants, the city is also home to Esther Price Candies, a candy and chocolate company, and Mike-sells, the oldest potato chip company in the United States.[113]


Historic Sacred Heart Church

Many major religions are represented in Dayton. Christianity is represented in Dayton by dozens of denominations and their respective churches.[114] Notable Dayton churches include the First Lutheran Church, Sacred Heart Church, and Ginghamsburg Church. Dayton's Muslim community is largely represented by the Islamic Society of Greater Dayton (ISGD), a Muslim community that includes a mosque on Josie Street. Dayton is also home to the United Theological Seminary, one of 13 seminaries affiliated with the United Methodist Church. Judaism is represented by Temple Israel. Hinduism is represented by the Hindu Temple of Dayton.[115]


Tourists visiting Montgomery County accounted for $1.7 billion in business activity in 2007. Tourism also accounts for 1 out of every 14 private sector jobs in the county. Tourism in the Dayton region is led by The National Museum of the United States Air Force at nearby Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. It is the largest and oldest military aviation museum in the world.[116] The museum draws over 1.3 million visitors per year and is one of the single most visited tourist attractions in Ohio.[117][118] The museum houses the National Aviation Hall of Fame.

Other museums also play significant roles in the tourism and economy of the Dayton area. The Dayton Art Institute, a museum of fine arts, owns collections containing more than 20,000 objects spanning 5,000 years of art and archaeological history.[119] The Dayton Art Institute was rated one of the top 10 best art museums in the United States for children.[120] The Boonshoft Museum of Discovery is a local children's museum of science with numerous exhibits, one of which includes an indoor zoo with nearly 100 different animals.[121]

There are also some notable historical museums in the region. The Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park, operated by the National Park Service, commemorates the lives and achievements of Dayton natives Orville and Wilbur Wright and Paul Laurence Dunbar. The Wright brothers' famous Wright Flyer III aircraft is housed in a museum at Carillon Historical Park. Dayton is also home to America's Packard Museum, which contains many restored historical Packard vehicles.[122] SunWatch Indian Village/Archaeological Park, a partially reconstructed 12th-century prehistoric American Indian village, is located on the south end of Dayton; it is organized around a central plaza dominated by wood posts forming an astronomical calendar. The park includes a museum where visitors can learn about the Indian history of the Miami Valley.[123]


Thunderbirds at the 2009 Dayton Air Show

The Vectren Dayton Air Show is an annual air show that takes place at the Dayton International Airport. The Vectren Dayton Airshow is one of the largest air shows in the United States.[124]

The Dayton area is served by Five Rivers MetroParks, encompassing 14,161 acres (5,731 ha) over 23 facilities for year-round recreation, education, and conservation.[125] In cooperation with the Miami Conservancy District, the MetroParks maintains over 70 mi (113 km) miles of paved, multi-use scenic trails that connect Montgomery County with Greene, Miami, Warren, and Butler Counties.[126][127] From 1996 to 1998, Dayton hosted the National Folk Festival. Since then, the annual Cityfolk Festival has continued to bring the best in folk, ethnic, and world music and arts to Dayton. The Five Rivers MetroParks also owns and operates the PNC Second Street Market located near downtown Dayton. The Market has more than 50 vendors selling items such as produce, cooked foods, baked goods, crafts, and flowers.[128]

The Dayton area hosts several arenas and venues. South of Dayton in Kettering is the Fraze Pavilion, which hosts many nationally and internationally known musicians for concerts. Several notable performances have included the Backstreet Boys, Boston, and Steve Miller Band.[129] South of downtown, on the banks of the Great Miami River, is the University of Dayton Arena, home venue for the University of Dayton Flyers basketball teams and the location of various other events and concerts.[130] UD Arena also hosts the Winter Guard International championships, at which hundreds of percussion and color guard ensembles compete from around the world.[131] North of Dayton is the Hara Arena that frequently hosts expo events and concerts. In addition, the Dayton Amateur Radio Association hosts the annual Dayton Hamvention, North America's largest hamfest, at Hara Arena. Up to 25,000 amateur radio operators attend this convention. The Nutter Center, which is just east of Dayton in the suburb of Fairborn, is the home arena for athletics of Wright State University and the former Dayton Bombers hockey team. This venue is used for many concerts, community events, and various national traveling shows and performances.[132]

The Oregon District is a historic residential and commercial district in southeast downtown Dayton. The district is populated with art galleries, specialty shops, pubs, nightclubs, and coffee houses.[133]

The City of Dayton is also host to yearly festivals. Most notably the Dayton Celtic Festival and the City Folk Festival. The Dayton Celtic Festival attracts more than 30,000 people yearly and has Irish dancing, food, crafts, and performers such as Gaelic Storm.[134] Other festivals held in the city of Dayton include the Dayton Blues Festival, Dayton Music Fest, Urban Nights, Women in Jazz, the African American and Cultural Festival, and the Dayton Reggae Fest.[135][136][137][138]


The Dayton area is home to several minor league and semi pro teams, as well as NCAA Division I sports programs.

Club League Sport Venue Established
Dayton Dragons Midwest League Baseball Fifth Third Field 2000
Gem City Rollergirls Women's Flat Track Derby Association Roller Derby Hara Arena 2006
Dayton Dutch Lions USL PDL Soccer DOC Stadium 2009
Dayton Dynamo National Premier Soccer League Soccer Roger Glass Stadium 2015
Dayton Flyers NCAA Division I (multiple) Welcome Stadium (Football),
University of Dayton Arena (Basketball),
Thomas J. Frericks Center (Volleyball),
Woerner Field (Baseball)
Wright State Raiders NCAA Division I (multiple) Ervin J. Nutter Center (Basketball),
Alumni Field (Soccer),
Nischwitz Stadium (Baseball)
Dayton Area Rugby Club Midwest Division II Rugby Eastwood Metropark 1969


The Dayton Dragons professional baseball team is the minor league affiliate for the Cincinnati Reds. The Dayton Dragons are the first (and only) team in minor league baseball history to sell out an entire season before it began and was voted as one of the top 10 hottest tickets to get in all of professional sports by Sports Illustrated.[139] The Dayton Dragons 815 consecutive sellouts surpassed the NBA's Portland Trail Blazers for the longest sellout streak across all professional sports in the U.S.[40][140]

Roller Derby

The Gem City Rollergirls flat track roller derby league is the first (and only) WFTDA league in Dayton, Ohio. The team was established in 2006, and began a rapid climb in the national ranks in 2015. At present, the league hosts double-header bouts at Hara Arena, playing their A-Team (The Purple Reign) and their B-Team (The Violet Femmes) against visiting teams. The league is skater-owned and skater-run.


University of Dayton Arena during Dayton Flyers game

The University of Dayton and Wright State University both host NCAA basketball. The University of Dayton Arena has hosted more games in the NCAA men's basketball tournament over its history than any other venue.[141] UD Arena is also the site of the First Round games of the NCAA Tournament. In 2012, eight teams competed for the final four spots in the NCAA Basketball Tournament. Wright State University's NCAA men's basketball is the Wright State Raiders and the University of Dayton's NCAA men's basketball team is the Dayton Flyers.


The Dayton Gems was a minor league ice hockey team in the International Hockey League from 1964 to 1977, 1979–1980, and most recently 2009 to 2012.

The Dayton Bombers were an ECHL ice hockey team that most recently played the North Division of the ECHL's American Conference. In June 2009, it was announced the Bombers would turn in their membership back to the league.[142] However, hockey remained in Dayton as the Dayton Gems of the International Hockey League we reformed in the fall of 2009 at Hara Arena.[143] The Gems folded after the 2011–12 season. Shortly after the Gems folded, it was announced a new team, the Dayton Demonz, would begin play in 2012 in the Federal Hockey League (FHL). The Demonz folded in 2015 would be immediately replaced by the Dayton Demolition, also in the FHL. However, the Demolition would cease operations after only one season[144] when Hara Arena decided to close due to financial difficulties.[145]


Dayton hosted the first American Professional Football Association game (precursor to the NFL). The game was played at Triangle Park between the Dayton Triangles and the Columbus Panhandles on October 3, 1920, and is considered one of the first professional football games ever played.[146] Football teams in the Dayton area include the Dayton Flyers and the Dayton Sharks.


The Dayton region is also known for the many golf courses and clubs that it hosts. The Miami Valley Golf Club, Moraine Country Club, NCR Country Club, and the Pipestone Golf Course are some of the more notable courses. In addition, several PGA Championships have been held at area golf courses. The Miami Valley Golf Club hosted the 1957 PGA Championship, the Moraine Country Club hosted the 1945 PGA Championship, and the NCR Country club hosted the 1969 PGA Championship.Additionally, NCR CC hosted the 1986 U.S. Women's Open and the 2005 U.S. Senior Open. Other notable courses include the Yankee Trace Golf Club, the Beavercreek Golf Club, Dayton Meadowbrook Country Club, Sycamore Creek Country Club, Heatherwoode Golf Club, Community Golf Course, and Kitty Hawk Golf Course.[147]

Rugby Union

The city of Dayton is the home to the Dayton Area Rugby Club. As of 2010, the club fields three squads and play their home games at Eastwood Metropark.[148]


Main article: Media in Dayton, Ohio
Dayton Daily News building at 1611 S. Main St.

Dayton is served in print by The Dayton Daily News, the city's sole remaining daily newspaper. The Dayton Daily News is owned by Cox Enterprises. The Dayton region's main business newspaper is the Dayton Business Journal. Nielsen Media Research ranked the 11-county Dayton television market as the No. 62 market in the United States.[149] The market is served by stations affiliated with major American networks including: WKEF, Channel 22 – ABC, operated by Sinclair Broadcasting, WHIO-TV, Channel 7 – CBS, operated by Cox Media Group, WPTD, Channel 16 – PBS, operated by ThinkTV, which also operates WPTO, assigned to Oxford, WDTN, Channel 2 – NBC, operated by Media General, WBDT, Channel 26 – The CW, operated by Acme Television, and WRGT-TV, Channel 45 – Fox/My Network TV, operated under a local marketing agreement by Sinclair Broadcasting. The nationally syndicated morning talk show The Daily Buzz originated from WBDT-TV, the Acme property in Miamisburg, before moving to its current home in Florida. Dayton is also served by 42 AM and FM radio stations directly, and numerous other stations are heard from elsewhere in Southwest Ohio, which serve outlying suburbs and adjoining counties.[150]


Public transit

The Greater Dayton Regional Transit Authority (RTA) operates public bus routes in the Dayton metro area. In addition to routes covered by traditional diesel-powered buses, RTA has a number of electric trolley bus routes. The Dayton trolleybus system is the second longest-running of the six remaining trolleybus systems in the U.S., having entered service in 1933.[151] It is the present manifestation of an electric transit service that has operated continuously in Dayton since 1888.

Dayton operates a Greyhound Station which provides inter-city bus transportation to and from Dayton. The hub is in the Greater Dayton Regional Transit Authority North-West hub in Trotwood.[152]


Terminal building at Dayton International Airport

Air transportation is available just north of Dayton proper, via Dayton International Airport in Vandalia, OH. The airport operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and offers service to 21 markets through 10 airlines. In 2008, it served 2.9 million passengers. The Dayton International Airport is also a significant regional air freight hub hosting FedEx Express, UPS Airlines, United States Postal Service, and major commercial freight carriers.[153]

The Dayton area also has several regional airports. The Dayton-Wright Brothers Airport is a general aviation airport owned by the City of Dayton located 10 miles (16 km) south of the central business district of Dayton on Springboro Pike in Miami Township. It serves as the reliever airport for Dayton International Airport. The airport primarily serves corporate and personal aircraft users.[154] The Dahio Trotwood Airport, also known as Dayton-New Lebanon Airport, is a privately owned, public-use airport located 7 miles (11 km) west of the central business district of Dayton.[155] The Moraine Airpark is a privately owned, public-use airport situated 4 miles (6.4 km) southwest of the city of Dayton.[156]

Major highways

The Dayton region is primarily served by three interstates:

Other major routes for the region include:

The Ohio Department of Transportation is currently in the process of $533 million of construction to modify and reconstruct I-75 through downtown Dayton. ODOT is upgrading and widening I-75 from Edwin C Moses Blvd. to Stanley Avenue.[158]

Rail freight

Dayton hosts several inter-modal freight railroad terminals. Two Class I railroads both CSX and Norfolk Southern Railway, operate switching yards in the city.[159]


Dayton Regional Bike Trail Map[160]

In cooperation with the Miami Conservancy District, Five Rivers MetroParks maintains over 70 mi (113 km) miles of paved scenic trails for cycling and other activities.[126][127] In 2010, the city of Troy was named "bike friendly" by the League of American Bicyclists, who gave the city the organization's bronze designation.[161] The honorable mention made Dayton one of only two cities in Ohio to receive the award, the other being Columbus, and one of only 15 cities nationwide.[161]


Public schools

The Dayton Public Schools operates 34 schools that serve 16,855 students,[162] including:

Private schools

The city of Dayton has 35 private schools located within the city,[163] including:

Charter schools

Dayton has 33 charter schools.[164] Three of the top five charter schools named in 2011 are K-8 schools managed by National Heritage Academies.[165]

Colleges and universities

St. Mary's Hall and the Immaculate Conception Chapel at the University of Dayton

The Dayton area was ranked tenth for higher education among metropolitan areas in the United States by Forbes in 2009.[166] The city is home to two major universities. The University of Dayton is a private, Catholic institution founded in 1850 by the Marianist order, which has the only American Bar Association (ABA)-approved law school in the Dayton area.[167] The University of Dayton is Ohio's largest private university and is also home to the University of Dayton Research Institute, which ranks third in the nation for sponsored materials research,[168] and the Center for Tissue Regeneration and Engineering at Dayton, which focuses on human tissue regeneration.[169]

The public Wright State University became a state university in 1967. Wright State University established the National Center for Medical Readiness, a national training program for disaster preparedness and relief. Wright State's Boonshoft School of Medicine is the Dayton area's only medical school and is a leader in biomedical research.[170]

Dayton is also home to Sinclair Community College, the largest community college at a single location in Ohio[171] and one of the nation's largest community colleges.[172] Sinclair is acclaimed as one of the country's best community colleges.[173] Sinclair was founded as the YMCA college in 1887.

Dayton is also home to Miami-Jacobs College, the International School of Broadcasting, and the Dayton School of Medical Massage. Other schools just outside Dayton that shape the educational landscape are Antioch College and Antioch University, both in Yellow Springs, Kettering College of Medical Arts and School of Advertising Art in Kettering, DeVry University in Beavercreek, and Clark State Community College in Springfield. The Air Force Institute of Technology, which was founded in 1919 and serves as a graduate school for the United States Air Force, is at the nearby Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.



Dayton consistently has had one of the highest crime rates among US cities.[174][175] Dayton has experienced an improving public safety environment since 2003, with crime declining in key categories according to FBI Uniform Crime Reports and Dayton Police Department data.[176] In 2009, crime continued to fall in the city of Dayton. Crime in the categories of forcible rape, aggravated assault, property crime, motor vehicle theft, robbery, burglary, theft and arson all showed declines for 2009. Overall, crime in Dayton dropped 40 percent over the previous year.[177]

Also notable, John Dillinger a famous bank robber during the early 1930s, was at one time captured and arrested by Dayton city police while visiting his girlfriend at a high-class boarding house in downtown Dayton.[178][179]

Sister cities

Dayton City Seal in sister city Holon, Israel (4th from the left)

Dayton has five sister cities, as designated by Sister Cities International:

See also


  1. This is far less than the snowbelt regions of northeast Ohio due to distance from the Great Lakes and slightly less than the generally warmer Columbus.[51]
  2. Mean monthly maxima and minima (i.e. the expected highest and lowest temperature readings at any point during the year or given month) calculated based on data at said location from 1981 to 2010.
  3. Official records for Dayton were kept at the Dayton COOP from June 1893 to 9 July 1911, alternating between the Weather Bureau Office and Miami Conservancy District from 10 July 1911 to December 1947, and at Dayton Int'l since January 1948. For more information, see Threadex
  4. Mean monthly maxima and minima (i.e. the expected highest and lowest temperature readings at any point during the year or given month) calculated based on data at said location from 1981 to 2010.
  5. The station location is 39°45′48″N 84°11′28″W / 39.7633°N 84.1911°W, less than 100 m (330 ft) from the banks of the Miami River.


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External links

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