Dayton’s buildings offer historic glimpse into town
August 7, 2008
The builders in early Dayton history didn’t have the sophisticated tools we have today. That didn’t stop them from building some mighty fine rock and brick buildings that have stood the test of time, earthquakes and fires.
The Odeon Hall burned twice and the masonry was strong enough to rebuild inside the burned-out core. Those brick walls will probably be there for another 100 years. If the walls could talk, it would tell tales of Mark Twain drinking at the bar and telling tall tales as he was known to do.
Right across Pike Street on the corner is another building made of native stone and a sign on the side that tells you it was a dry goods store for a lot of years. Chas Braun and Jack Loftus were the owners for a few years and Loftus bought Braun out. Jack and Emma Loftus ran the store until 1933 when they closed the store because of Jack’s ailing health. A couple of fellows opened a bar when Prohibition was over. It changed hands often because of illness of the owners.
Across the street on Main Street is another stone building built in 1862 as a meat market. In the basement on the timbers used for floor joists are meat hooks used to hang meat. The floor is dirt so the ice stored there could melt into the ground. The building has had other uses as well. It was a residence, antique store, copy store, and most recently an animal grooming business. When our own Jewel Forsythe rented it, she put branding iron marks all over the pine floor.
Up Main Street about a block, you’ll find another great stone building. It’s a county building used for the local court. It started its journey as storage for “blue stone.” It had several other uses before it was restored and converted into the court house. I’m so glad it was saved.
The next building of brick and stone (back on Pike Street) is the 1862 firehouse and jail. It served the community well until about 1960. The building is being preserved at the present and will have its place in the history of Dayton for many years to come.
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And then, “the best for last” building of stone is our 1865 school house that now houses the history memorabilia of Dayton. All of which we treasure. The native stone building with its sandstone corners has stood the test of time and children. There are names of some of the early students scratched in the corners left for posterity. It’s the second oldest school house in Nevada, as well as being the longest running school in Nevada.
We hope we can save all the historic buildings in Dayton, stone or wood. Then the future citizens will know how important Dayton is in the history of Nevada. Please come pick up one of our new walking tour brochures at the museum and explore Old Town Dayton.
The Dayton Museum is located on Shady Lane and Logan in Old Town Dayton. Hours: Saturday 10 a.m.-4 p.m. and Sunday 1-4 p.m. The Web site is daytonnvhistory.org. Group tours are available. Call 246-5543, 246-8382 or 246-0441. The Historical Society of Dayton Valley meets at noon the third Wednesday of each month. Please call for location. Visitors are welcome.
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