Wednesday, January 27, 2010

New Art


This just in from our newest art gallery in St. Anne's Hill...

An opening for an exhibit on the International Cities of Peace initiative, headquartered in Dayton, Ohio, will be held in the Missing Peace Art Space at the First Friday in Dayton celebration, February 5th from 5:00 to 11:00 p.m.

Also the Mary Perry Stone exhibition "Art Makes Us Human" see link below for details


Fun for Kids


The City is putting on some fun events for teens at the Bomberger Center in St. Anne's Hill....

  • Teen Open Mic Jam - Feb. 12 & 26, March 12 & 26
  • Video Game Playoff - Feb. 5 & 19, March 5 & 19
  • Jr. Chess Club, Wednesdays beginning Feb. 3
  • Comic Art & Animation, Thursdays, beginning Feb. 4
Got kids? Check it out and let us know what you think!


Monday, January 25, 2010

Mural Update


The Fifth Street Mural project was featured in a Dayton Daily News article this weekend.

Lead artist Jessica McMillan is a recent graduate from The Arts Institute of Pittsburgh and has been working with K12 program director Kelly Sexton and their Artist in Training students since September. Other involved include St. Anne’s Hill neighbors, volunteers, and Franklin High School art teacher Margaret Hostetter and 11 of her students. The mural should be installed in March.

“The images on the mosaic will represent the different cultures and the diversity of the St. Anne’s Hill community,” Sexton said.

For more information, visit our Fifth Street Project webpage!


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

East End

Check out the new house going up on McClure Street! Okay, technically it is not in St. Anne's Hill but just across the bridge, near Ruskin School and St. Mary's Church. Still, this is good news for the community.

The house is part of the Twin Towers Crossing project, that will build almost 40 new lease-to-own homes in east Dayton. The project is driven by East End Community Services with financial support from the City of Dayton and State of Ohio.

They are are also running the new (and very popular) De-Construction program. That program hires unemployed workers to dismantle nuisance structures by hand, and then sell the materials. Not only does it create jobs, but it reduces the waste stream going to landfills.

Just another example of the great things happening in Dayton!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Mystery Solved?


I had always heard that nobody knew exactly where the name "St Anne's Hill" had come from. The story goes that it appeared in local advertisements for a greenhouse nursery in the area, sometime around the turn of the century. The name stuck, and our neighborhood has been known at St. Anne's Hill ever since. So that was always the story. That is, until now...

During the "Dickens of a Christmas" home tour, I heard a different story. According to our neighbor (and friend) Fred, there was another rumor for the origins of the name. He had heard there was a maternity ward for unwed mothers at the old St. Elizabeth Hospital. It is established fact that the hospital existed for many decades until it closed a few years ago. Today, it is a thriving multi-tenant medical center.

Anyway, during the Great Dayton Flood of 1913 much of downtown Dayton was underwater. Back then, much like today, the area was a bustling mix of homes and small businesses, including a little company now known as NCR. As floodwaters rose, many residents of Dayton fled to higher ground for refuge. For some, that refuge was found in a neighborhood on a hill, just to the east of the center city.

So what then, of the hospital and the maternity ward? Well, it was located at the river's edge to the west of downtown. Fred went on to say that the young orphans and unwed mothers were supposedly carried up the hill in east Dayton to escape the flood.

The name of that maternity ward? Yup, it was "St. Ann's" and now, for the first time, here is the proof:

This is from the 1919 Sanborn Insurance Maps of Dayton, available from and considered one of the best sources for historical data.

So could it be that our neighborhood was named for the fortunate orphans and mothers of St. Ann's maternity ward who were rescued from the flood? Were there generous neighbors who took the children into their homes? Perhaps the greenhouse took it's name from this tale of heroism?

Does this solve the mystery? I guess we'll never know for sure.

UPDATE: I guess I was wrong about that theory! An alert reader sent me an email saying:

There is a reference to "St. Anne's Hill" in The History of Montgomery County Ohio, published by W.H. Beers & Co. in 1882. Under a heading called "Village Plats and Other Localities," on page 595, this book says:

  • "Saint Anne’s Hill was the high ground from the corner of McLean and Eagle streets north to Third street." (Knowing what I do, I believe it was not necessary to indicate the eastern border of St. Anne's Hill, as it then went to the city limits.)

The word "was" implies to me that by 1882 "St. Anne's Hill" was a name that had been used in the past and had dropped out of common usage. This would also mean by the time of the 1913 Dayton Flood, the name "St. Anne's Hill" had once been used and was long forgotten.

Do you have any old stories about the neighborhood? Let us know!


Friday, January 15, 2010



Two big grant announcements this week that will definitely have a positive impact on our community! Both were reported in the Dayton Daily News.

First, an expansion of the popular "De-Construction" program that saves historic building materials and sells them for re-use...

DAYTON — The Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission said it will administer a $1.5 million federal economic stimulus job-training grant that will pay for work by various organizations to dismantle old, vacant houses.

East End Community Services, PowerNet, Architectural Reclamation Co., St. Vincent de Paul and Dayton Works Plus LLC are involved in a partnership effort to dismantle the vacant homes.

They will be displaying materials at this weekend's Home Show at Hara Arena.

Even bigger news, the City of Dayton and a coalition of regional partners won a huge $29 million stimulus grant!

The cities of Dayton, Kettering and Fairborn along with Montgomery County and the Dayton Metropolitan Housing Authority jointly applied for the Neighborhood Stabilization II funds to finance purchase of foreclosed homes for either demolition or rehab.

The goal is getting properties back on the housing market, Sorrell said. The award will address approximately 1,000 structures with work expected to get underway by late February.

Dayton neighborhoods likely impacted by the grant are Santa Clara; a swath of houses west of Main Street in the 45406 ZIP code; the Greater Inner West area, Westwood, Twin Towers, Walnut Hills, Linden Heights and Inner East.

Congrats to the community leaders who make these projects happen. More good news is on the way!


Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Gray's Days

The Dayton Daily News featured another one of our neighbors this week, and some great historic photos as well...

Photographers may recognize Dennis Gray’s family name from its connection to GraLab darkroom timers. Dennis Gray’s grandfather founded the company, DimcoGray, that still manufactures the devices in Centerville. DimcoGray, then located in the Oregon District, was passed down to John Daniel Gray, who was president until the 1980s, when he sold the firm to his employees.

Gray’s father died two years ago, and his collection nearly disappeared with him. Gray said his father didn’t recognize the value of the shots and wanted to throw them away.

When the photos passed from father to son, Dennis Gray knew where to turn for help. He was familiar with the Wright State archive from his volunteer work with the St. Anne Hill Historic District and First Lutheran Church.

His father’s collection “was a treasure waiting to be unlocked, but the technology wasn’t there until just a few years ago,” he said.

He's just one of the many "Dayton Originals" in St. Anne's Hill!

Sunday, January 3, 2010


Let's start the new year with a look back. Most residents of St. Anne's Hill travel past Bomberger Park every day, but how many know it's history?

First, who was this Bomberger? According to, there were at least two notable Bombergers...
William Bomberger was born in Philadelphia, April 7, 1779. His parents were Quakers, and in that faith he was reared and lived until his death. When eighteen years of age he was shot by the accidental discharge of his gun while hunting, and from the effects of the wound was always a delicate man, although he lived to be seventy-seven years of age.

He came to Dayton about 1806 or 1807. He was a quiet, peaceable citizen, upright, honest, and conscientious in all things. He held the office of treasurer of Montgomery County for fourteen years. He brought some means with him and bought a good deal of property in the eastern and southeastern part of Dayton, to which he retired in 1842 and spent the remainder of his life, which ended December 19,1855.

In 1810 he married Sarah
George, daughter of William George, and had three children: [one of whom was] George Wilson [Bomberger], who died, while Mayor of Dayton, June 6, 1848, in the thirty-sixth year of his age;
Today's Dayton Daily News offered a profile of our new Mayor (who will take office on Monday), and a look back at our past Mayors over the years, including Mayor Bomberger.

Now, let's see how the park has evolved over the years. Here's a Sanborn Insurance Company map from 1913, which is a great resource available from

It may have looked something like this:

Here is what the park looks like today, thanks to Google Maps...

... or as seen during one of our many tours!

Eagle Street and some of the surrounding homes were lost to urban renewal, but the result was a larger, more accessible park just seconds away from Route 35. So it is easy to see how times have changed and the park has grown over the years.

For more information about our community, stop by our meeting this Tuesday at 7 pm in the Liederkranz building on High Street.
Happy New Year!