In 1913 Dayton got the Sportsplex idea

Regular readers know I have an idea to build a giant sportsplex downtown on the former Parkside homes location. It’s central to the city, highly visible, a great addition to Riverscape and the Ballpark, dovetails perfectly with the new Kroc center just across the river and would be a strong statement about our belief as a community about the importance of being healthy. It’s something for all of us- as opposed to a subsidized clone of “The Greene” as proposed by Mandalay Entertainment et al currently with the working name “Ballpark village” which is an example of corporate welfare and doesn’t bring anything truly new or unique to the region.

Sportsplex would also provide the facilities needed for the new Sport Tourism Taskforce- which lamented about lack of facilities for what they envision (more on this when I have my notes from Tuesday’s briefing to the County Commission).

Back in 1913, besides the flood, something else happened in Dayton, and it showed that back then, they understood the value of community recreational facilities- and the value of that location. Read from today’s Dayton Daily:

City gives Dayton Canoe Club building key status
Completed in 1913, the Dayton Canoe Club building reflects the Progressive Era interest in social and health benefits of outdoor recreation and exercise, according to the Ohio Historical Society.

Architecturally, the Dayton Canoe Club building reflects the influence of the Arts and Craft Movement in the early 20th century with an emphasis on simplicity and natural materials.

The two-story building with stone lower story and overhanging veranda above appears to be one story from Riverside Drive, gently extending above the horizon.

The canoe club just got the nod as a historic landmark. Let’s look at Sportsplex as a kind of Taxes are Good*™ investment into the health and wealth of the region. It was the right idea in 1913, and it’s the right idea now.

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4 Comments on "In 1913 Dayton got the Sportsplex idea"

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The Canoe Club is sort of sad as its a reminder how nothing good or interesting in Dayton lasts.

Little know fact is that Dayton had its own little version of the Shuylkill Navy, with about five canoe clubs located on that stretch of the Great Miami and Stillwater. Sort of our own Boathouse Row, except here it was canoes and in Philly it was racing shells.

The canoe clubs even had races with an annual 4th of July regatta drawing large crowds.

In Philly Boathouse Row survives into our own era, and the boat clubs still hold races (like the Dad Vale Regatta).

In Dayton, only the Canoe Club survived into our era.



Don’t dispair – water sports are still alive and well in Greater Dayton. I don’t know that much about the Canoe Club as my only exposure to them was using their boats in a “Battle of the Businesses” when I was a lot thinner.

But…right across the river from the Canoe Club is the “Greater Dayton Rowing Association.” They have a great organization ranging from high school kids to seniors that take to the water in singles, double, 4’s and 8’s. Go to the river early in the morning during the summer and you’ll see these folks out on the river. GDRA also held a regatta at Island Park in early October. Boat clubs from a 5 or 6 state area came to compete and had a great time! Further south, off River Road in Moraine is the “Dayton Boat Club.” Another great organization.


J.R. Locke

Mr. Esrati your sportsplex idea is one of your best. It would go a long way in keeping me in the city of Dayton.

David Esrati
David Esrati

Thank you Mr. Locke. Hopefully, if elected, I can help stop tax dollars going towards corporate welfare and directed back to the people who pay them.