by Jennifer Sierra
On a pleasant Thursday evening in Dayton, Kentucky citizens gathered to share stories of history in Dayton, Kentucky. Some of the stories were funny and some sweet but all of them shared by Dayton citizens with Dayton citizens in an effort to bring the community together. The event’s host and curator was Beth Nyman who was able to organize the event with the help of a Nano Grant she was awarded from Skyward.
The evening opened with a local resident who is originally from Ireland, singer Mai Hernon. Mai is a traditional Irish folk singer who captivated the crowd with her angelic voice.
Other performers included one of Dayton’s oldest residents, Elmer Perry who shared the fact that his grandfather’s concrete company built every street in Dayton. If you have ever walked down the street and happened upon a corner in the curb that had “G. W. Perry and Sons”, you will be looking at one of Dayton’s first concrete jobs. Perry spoke of many families moving to the area from Appalachia in an effort to find work and better their lives. Perry lived for a while outside of Dayton when he was a child but has spent the last 43 years of his life in Dayton on 3rd Street. Perry ended by stating, “I love Dayton. I’ll go out of Dayton with my toes up.”
Resident Jeane Cole shared a story from her childhood in Milan, Indiana and the memory of the 1954 State Basketball Championship. Jeane spoke of what it was like to experience the celebration of the championship first hand among 40,000 people.
Johnny Walker, a recent Dayton transplant and co-owner of The Lodge, shared his story of living in and remodeling the Taylor Mansion. The Taylor Mansion is said to have housed slaves traveling on the Underground Railroad.
Cathy Volter is a former city council member, Dayton volunteer and wife of current city council candidate and former Dayton school principal, Jeff Volter. Cathy shared her story of taking her daughter to an opening day Reds game where they met a Hall of Fame Reds player, Gordy Coleman not once but twice, once downtown Cincinnati and again in front of the Masonic Lodge on the Avenue.
Mai Hernon then shared a story of how she ended up living in the United States. once she moved here, Mai was surprised how many people in the U.S. could trace their heritage back to Ireland.
It was a beautiful event aimed at bringing Dayton citizens closer and while people mingled after the event over cookies purchased at Kate’s Catering, I heard some say they wanted the Stories of Dayton to happen again.