Friday, October 12, 2012

Nineteenth Century Today: Historic Dayton

I love finding little snippets of the nineteenth century in our world today. I know that may not be so unusual for some of you, but in my neck of the Pacific Northwest, anglo-history past about a hundred or so years is rare. So I thought I’d start an ongoing blog series about where I’ve found the nineteenth century, today.

About an hour east of home lies the town of Dayton. It is named after early pioneer Jesse Day, who rolled into the area with his brother and their herd of cattle in 1859. Shortly afterward, S.L. Gilbreath brought his wife to settle nearby. At 16 years old, Mrs. Gilbreath is said to have been the first anglo woman in the county. Her daughter, born in 1860, was the first anglo child. Others must have followed, for Jesse Day and his wife Elizabeth platted the town of Dayton in 1871. The town grew slowly, until German native Jacob Weinhard decided that all that barley was good for more than making bread. He started a brewery that grew into a business spanning saloon, hotel, theatre, and partial ownership of a bank.

Many of the beautiful Victorian homes built during the town’s heyday still stand. Every October, Dayton opens the doors of a few of these homes for the curious and reverent. Won’t you join me?

Let’s start with a stop at the train depot, the oldest in the state.

Or perhaps you’d care to take other transportation.

From the depot, you can see the Columbia County Courthouse, the oldest working courthouse in the state (photo courtesy of Steven Pavlov).

And as for homes, you could stop at Boldman House, now a wonderful museum.

And even the garden sheds are lovely!

And then there’s this more modern marvel, just coming up on its centennial—a 1913 Craftsman. More than 3,000 square feet, lovingly restored, gorgeous grounds on a half an acre, and a servant’s quarters out back. It’s for sale, even.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t quite convince my husband to relocate to the nineteenth century.


ettie said...

:( <- at your husband not agreeing! That house looks amaizing!!!

Regina Scott said...

It was definitely love at first sight, ettie. But since I fell in love with my husband first, I figured I better go with a sure thing. :-) Plus it is a very small town a good hour away from anything larger (and not all that much larger anyway!). My husband and I wondered where the people who live there now go to shop or for health care. There are definitely advantages to living in the twenty-first century!