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Fun Facts About Dayton

Learn more about the amazing place that could be your new home.


Charlotte Couch


Jan 22, 2019

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As the sixth largest city in Ohio, there’s no shortage of activities you can find to do here. But did you know these five fun facts about Dayton? Read on to learn more about this growing innovation hub found in the beautiful state of Ohio!

View the largest and most accurate selection of real estate in Ohio by HER Realtors >

Gem City

Dayton, Ohio skyline at night

Many people refer to Dayton as the “Gem City.” There are several theories regarding the origin of this century-old nickname. One keen-eyed Cincinnati Chronicle reporter wrote in an article from August 18, 1845, that:

“The most indifferent observer will not fail to notice Dayton. The wide streets, kept in excellent order, the noble blocks of stores, filled with choice, and of course, cheap goods, and more than all, the exceeding beauty and neatness of the dwellings, you at once mark with a ‘white stone,’ in a small bend of the Great Miami River, with canals on the east and south, it may be fairly said that Dayton is the gem of all our interior towns; it possesses wealth, refinement, enterprise, and a beautiful country.”

This is the first reference of Dayton as a “gem” among surrounding towns.

Some say Dayton is the Gem City because local racehorse owner George H. Focht trained a horse named “Gem” on West 1st street. There is also the theory, while thought to be unlikely, that Daytonians called their city the “Gem City” in solidarity with strikers protesting against the South African diamond mines in the 1880s.

Birthplace of Aviation

black-and-white photo of the Wright brothers

Wilbur and Orville Wright, the inventors of the world’s first successful airplane, were born here. They both piloted the world’s first working plane over the sand dunes at Kill Devil Hills in North Carolina on December 17, 1903.

In 2003, Congress officially named Dayton as the Birthplace of Aviation in a 378-3 vote, winning over North Carolina. It was believed that the brothers conducted research and created their aircraft inside their bicycle shop located on the west side of the city. All Ohio license plates now have the phrase “Birthplace of Aviation” printed on them.

The City Contains 26 Colleges

The city, along with the area around it, is home to 26 colleges in total. A wide array of colleges are housed here, from the International College of Broadcasting to the School of Advertising Art Inc to the Lincoln College of Technology.

If you are interested in nursing, the Ohio Medical Career College offers programs throughout the year, both during the day and evening. Class sizes are small, and the curriculum is structured to prepare students for licensing examinations and to provide real-world experience.

The University of Dayton, a Catholic university, is ranked first in the nation for sponsored engineering, and second for supported STEM research. It also provides therapy dog visits to Roesch Library for stressed-out students during finals week.

Whether you have decided to return to school or would like to attend a nearby university, Dayton can make this dream a reality with the vast amount of colleges that surrounds it.

Dayton Hosted the First Soap Box Derby

Inspired by a group of boys racing their homemade cars, newsman Myron Scott held an impromptu soapbox race for 19 boys during the summer of 1933. He later organized a larger race with prize money during August of the same summer.

The following year, an official, All-American race sponsored by Chevrolet was held on August 19, 1934, in Dayton, Ohio. The race was later moved to Akron due to its hilly terrain and central location.  

Who knew a city could have such a fascinating and exciting history? Dayton certainly is a hidden gem among the many towns in Ohio.

May 24, 2018


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