Fifth Street: Dayton, Ohio
Fifth Street is the commercial centerpiece of the Oregon District — Dayton, Ohio's oldest neighborhood and the first listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Locally owned businesses are woven into the fabric of history along this street and have fostered a strong sense of community and place for those who spend time here.
Quarter-mile stretch from Wayne to Wyandot Street.
The first plat in the district was laid out in 1829, soon after the first boats arrived from Cincinnati on the newly opened Miami Canal. The canal provided a conduit for the neighborhood's German immigrants, who began arriving by the waterway in 1832. Some of the oldest existing homes in Dayton are modest brick structures constructed during the 1840s on Tecumseh Street. Larger homes constructed during the period 1850–1900 are located further east in the district.
After the Second World War, the Oregon neighborhood declined and properties fell into disrepair. Plans were drawn during the 1960s for a large-scale urban renewal project. If implemented, the project would have dramatically altered the character of the historic streets and resulted in the removal of historic homes and other buildings. The neighborhood was saved from urban renewal in large part by the efforts of preservation-minded residents who recognized the historic significance of the city's oldest neighborhoods.
The revival of the neighborhood began during early 1970s. Oregon was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974 — a first for Dayton. Many of the old homes were restored and reoccupied, and commercial buildings along Fifth Street were rehabilitated. With its restored homes and businesses, the Oregon Historic District of the present day exemplifies preservation as a way to breathe new life into a neighborhood.
The Oregon Historic District includes restored homes of the Italianate, Eastlake, Flemish, and Victorian architectural styles popular during the period. A collection of 19th and early 20th century commercial buildings are mostly seen on Fifth Street.
Today, Fifth Street provides a stable foundation on which to expand efforts to increase vibrancy in the Central Business District and beyond.
Defining Characteristics, Features
Fifth Street is the heart of Dayton's treasured Oregon District and is a focal point for the surrounding community as well as the city as a whole.
- Narrowly escaping Urban Renewal clearance, the Oregon District has provided an alternative blueprint for revitalization based on appreciation for historic resources. That blueprint has helped lead the way for the City of Dayton to contain 20 National Register Historic Districts and 73 National Register individually listed sites, including five National Historic Landmarks.
- Fifth Street and the Oregon District are a testament to what can be accomplished when dedicated citizen activists and volunteers, with supporting help from the public sector, are determined to implement plans for neighborhood revitalization.
- In alignment with the city's adopted Livable Streets Policy, Fifth Street is a key multimodal corridor, featuring two bike share stations, excellent bus service, and a quality pedestrian environment.
- Following the direction of the city's comprehensive plan — CitiPlan Dayton: The 2020 Vision Downtown component — and Greater Downtown Dayton Plan, this segment of Fifth Street is part of a key corridor linking Sinclair Community College, the Terra Cotta Historic District, the Oregon District, and St. Anne's Hill Historic District.
- Placemaking character features are prevalent in the district, including an identifying metal gateway arch, a brick street, ornamental pedestrian lighting, stamped concrete crosswalks, and sidewalk landscape areas.
- Prior to it being listed on the National Register in 1974, the Oregon District was recognized in 1968 by the Montgomery County Landmark Committee and then designated as a historic district by the city in 1972.
- The Oregon District is interestingly situated as both a key entertainment area (mostly Fifth Street) and as a residential neighborhood, with many single-family homes (mostly south of Fifth Street).
- Like many popular entertainment areas, parking is always a topic that generates discussion. A balance is always being sought where a reasonable level of available parking spaces are maintained, but is not so important as to detract from the character and built environment of the area.
- Each month kicks off with First Friday, a free event that brings the Dayton community together to celebrate downtown's art and entertainment scenes. Street performances, outdoor concerts, and art demonstrations bring liveliness to this stretch.
- Fifth Street is not only a popular nightlife destination, but regularly hosts community events, such as First Friday, Hauntfest, Taste of the Oregon District, and community celebrations.
Pertinent Plans and Documents
CitiPlan Dayton summary and history
CitiPlan Dayton: The 20/20 Vision Downtown Component
Oregon District Strategic Plan
Upcoming/Planned Planning Activities
- The development of vacant and underutilized areas near the Oregon District will be an important step in the revitalization of downtown Dayton.
- The Oregon District is both a model for other historic districts to follow, and an opportunity for adjacent areas to capitalize on.