Friday, April 19, 2013

History of Shroyer Park (Part 2)

[Click here for part 1]

The Shroyer Park area continued to be sparsely populated until the 1940s.  Many of today’s single-family homes were constructed in the 1940s and 1950s.  About 26 percent of the homes in Shroyer Park were constructed between 1940 and 1944; about 19 percent between 1945 and 1949; and about 16 percent in the 1950s.

Upon subdivision in the 1940s, residents of the new homes mostly reflected Dayton’s industrial strength, with employment at companies like Frigidaire, Delco, and, particularly, NCR.  In fact, as an example, of the 21 householders on Constantia Ave. in 1941/42, six had employment with NCR, with jobs as Stock Clerk, Inspector, Assembler, Medical Director, Screw Maker, and Pressman.

 Despite so many homes being constructed soon after World War II, the streetscapes of Shroyer Park do not resemble the repetitious, mass-produced tract-style housing that typified housing of the time period.  The most common housing style by far is the Cap Cod revival, although Shroyer Park also has several other types including bungalows, colonial revival, art deco, and American foursquare.  Balancing out the neighborhood is the much newer Wilmington Place subdivision, across the street from 10 Wilmington Place.  More contemporary multi-family housing has also been constructed, including housing targeted toward University of Dayton students.

Parallel to the settlement and residential development of the neighborhood was the development and growth of institutions in the vicinity, including the Dayton State Hospital, Woodland Cemetery, and the University of Dayton—and later, Hospice of Dayton and 10 Wilmington Place.

Since 1855, this area has been impacted by the property at the southeast corner of Wayne and Wilmington, which has operated as the Southern Ohio Lunatic Asylum, Dayton Asylum for the Insane, and the Dayton State Hospital.  The property now houses the 10 Wilmington Place retirement community.  The Asylum served as and end-point for the Wayne Avenue and Fifth Street Railroad and it led to large state landholdings, not only east of Wilmington Pike, but also land that would become the Children’s Psychiatric Hospital (later the University of Dayton’s Shroyer Park Center), a portion of Woodland Cemetery’s plans for future development, Belmont High School, and farther away, Research Park.  The Research Park property was used as the farm for the institution, and was labored on by asylum patients.

Woodland Cemetery was established in 1840 and contains the burial locations of many famous Daytonians including Orville Wright, Wilbur Wright, Paul Laurence Dunbar, John Patterson, James Rittey, Charles Kettering, Edward Deeds, James M. Cox, Erma Bombeck, and Daniel Cooper.  While these sites are not technically located within the Shroyer Park boundaries, the future of the institution and the neighborhood are perpetually interwoven as Woodland owns the property on which Patterson Park fields exist, as well as former state property that extends out the Wilmington Avenue, just south of Wilmington Place subdivision.

Established in 1850, The University of Dayton is the largest coeducational Roman Catholic university in the United States, and the largest private university in Ohio.  UD was recognized in 2006 as the third best university in the country in positive contributions the institution has made to the welfare of its surrounding community.  The school, which is located in the city’s University Park neighborhood, continues to help shape the identity of Shroyer Park.  Along with being home to many University of Dayton students, the school’s Shroyer Park Center is located here.  The Center, acquired in 1991, is located in the former Children’s Psychiatric Hospital at Firwood and Irving.  It serves as research space for the University of Dayton Research Institute. 

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