Welcome to Dayton, also known as Gem City!
Dayton is the sixth-largest city in the state of Ohio. In the 2010 census, the Dayton metropolitan area had 799,232 residents, making it Ohio's fourth-largest metropolitan area, after Cleveland, Cincinnati, and Columbus. 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% of the country’s population and manufacturing infrastructure.
Dayton is particularly noted for its association with aviation and aerospace engineering and technology, with Wright-Patterson Air Force Base playing a major role. Dayton is also the hometown of Orville and Wilbur Wright, the aviation pioneers who invented and built the world's first successful airplane.
The Dayton International Airport (DAY) offers service to 21 markets through 10 airlines. Dayton is also within driving distance of the Port Columbus International Airport (CMH) and the Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG). Several small regional airports include the Dayton-Wright Brothers Airport, the Moraine Airpark, and the Dahio Trotwood Airport.
The Dayton area boasts several arenas and venues. The Fraze Pavilion hosts numerous concerts showcasing both nationally and internationally known musicians. The University of Dayton Arena is the home venue for the popular Dayton Flyers basketball team and is the location of various other events and concerts. The Hara Arena frequently hosts concerts, expo events, and conventions, including the annual convention of amateur radio operators. The Nutter Center is the home arena for athletics of Wright State University and is also the site of many concerts, community events, and various national traveling shows and performances.
Dayton hosts several yearly festivals. The two largest are the Dayton Celtic Festival, which attracts more than 30,000 people annually for Irish dancing, food, crafts, and performers, and the City Folk Festival, which brings the best in folk, ethnic, and world music and arts to Dayton.
The Fiver Rivers Metro Parks, the city’s public park system, has over 23 facilities, covering 14,161 acres used for year-round recreation, education, and conservation. Over 70 miles of paved, multi-use scenic trails connect Montgomery, Greene, Miami, Warren, and Butler Counties. The RiverScape MetroPark, an outdoor entertainment venue, attracts more than 400,000 visitors each year.
The Dayton Dragons, the city’s highly successful minor league baseball team, is the minor league affiliate for the Cincinnati Reds. The Dragons play at Fifth Third Field downtown. The Dayton Dragons are the first (and only) team in minor league baseball history to sell out an entire season before it began.
The Dayton region offers arts and culture rarely found in a city of its size and, in 2012, ranked higher than larger cities such as Atlanta and St. Louis.
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. The Schuster Center in downtown Dayton is a world-class performing arts center and the home venue of the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra, the Dayton Opera, and the Dayton Ballet.
The National Museum of the United States Air Force at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base is the largest and oldest military aviation museum in the world and draws over 1.3 million visitors per year.
Other notable historical museums in the region include the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park, which commemorates the lives and achievements of the Wright brothers and Paul Laurence Dunbar, a famous African-American poet and novelist. 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.
SunWatch Indian Village/Archaeological Park, a partially reconstructed 12th-century prehistoric American Indian village, is located on the south end of Dayton.
The Boonshoft Museum of Discovery is a children’s science museum.
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. The largest area hospitals are Miami Valley Hospital and Kettering Medical Center.
In 2011, Dayton was rated number 3 of the top 50 cities in the United States by HealthGrades for excellence in health care and fourth best in the nation for emergency medicine care. In 2013, HealthGrades ranked the Dayton region number one in the nation for the lowest hospital mortality rate.
The Dayton area is home to two major universities: the University of Dayton and Wright State University, which houses the well-known Boonshoft School of Medicine. Dayton is also home to Sinclair Community College, acclaimed as one of the country's best community colleges.
Dayton was founded on April 1, 1796, by 12 settlers known as “The Thompson Party” who traveled from Cincinnati up the Great Miami River. In 1797, Daniel C. Cooper laid out Mad River Road, the first overland connection between Cincinnati and Dayton. Ohio was admitted into the Union in 1803, and the city of Dayton was incorporated in 1805. The city was named after Jonathon Dayton, a captain in the Revolutionary War who signed the U.S. Constitution and owned a significant amount of land in the area.
Dayton has been the home of many patents and inventions since the 1870s. The Wright brothers, inventors of the airplane, and Charles F. Kettering, world-renowned for his numerous inventions, hailed from Dayton. The city was also home to James Ritty and his cash register patents, which ultimately formed the National Cash Register Company, and Arthur E. Morgan’s “hydraulic jump,” a flood prevention mechanism that helped pioneer modern-day hydraulic engineering.
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.
Unlike many Midwestern cities its age, Dayton has very broad and straight downtown streets 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.
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: Andrew Johnson, James Garfield, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, and Bill Clinton.