January 1829 marked the eagerly anticipated opening of the Miami Canal
and industrial development began along its banks.
Though originally platted and settled by Anglo-Saxons, Oregon was to a
large extent appropriated by German ethnics who began arriving by canal
boat about 1832. At one time, German was the predominant language east of
the canal - this is evidence by several of the area churches, all founded
by German group.
Of special interest is the Tecumseh Street plat of 1839. The earliest
houses in the district are here - the most complete grouping of early
Dayton buildings in the city. The simple architecture points up the
frugality of the middle class merchants and artisans who settled here.
Brown Street, the natural entrance to the District was, until the
construction of Route 35, one of the main thoroughfares of the city. It
was named for Thomas Brown, who arrived in Dayton in 1828 and established
a brickyard and contracting business. Several of the early houses on
Tecumseh Street are examples of his work which "brought Dayton out of the
log cabin era and into a period of substantial dwellings and public
buildings". On Jackson Street are the homes of prosperous business and
professional men built after the Civil War. Here lived prominent
Daytonians who were active in the social and cultural life of the
This wide diversification of architectural styles and life styles in
such a small area is one of the most intriguing aspects of Oregon.
The origin of the name Oregon is remote and uncertain. It appears in
local histories and early newspapers, as of March 11, 1845, when David Z.
Pierce placed an ad in the Dayton Journal & Advertiser which read in
part "I have laid out and offered for sale on terms to suit purchasers, 80
desirable building lots on that part of the city known as Oregon". This
seems an excellent indication that the area had been known as Oregon for
some time before this date.
Businesses and organizations used the name for many years, among them
the Oregon Mills of Joseph Kratochwill located on the canal north of East
Sixth and Michael Schiml's Oregon Brewery on Wayne Avenue. The Oregon Fire
Company was organized in 1840 - their first fire house was on Sixth and
Tecumseh Streets. They later built an engine house on East Fifth Street
opposite Brown, a local landmark for many years. Shortly after the
outbreak of the Civil War, in May of 1861, a volunteer unit known as the
Oregon Guards was formed and they offered their services to President
Lincoln. David L. Rike and James R. Hoglen, early residents of the area,
organized the Oregon Aid Society about this same time. In 1889, Oregon
Lodge #351 of the Knights of Pythias held meetings in the Dover Block at
East Fifth and Wayne Avenue. There was an Oregon Boot and Shoe Store at
510 E. Fifth Street.
The last half of the 19th Century was a prosoerous era for Oregon. It
witnessed commercial and residential development by such men as William
McHose, John Balsley, Dr. Julius Maetke, Dennis Ensey, Daniel McSherry and
Allen Fauver. They left us an architectural legacy that has no equal in
the city of Dayton today. Here, in Dayton's oldest surviving neighborhood,
the mansions of the wealthy still stand among the plainer dwellings of the
laborer and craftsman, reflecting vividly the life style of the