Dayton, Ohio’s Huffman Historic Area is a historic Inner East neighbourhood, located just a mile or so east of downtown. Its borders are roughly 3rd Street to the north and 5th Street to the south, running west to east between Terry Street to Linden Avenue.
Be sure to walk, bike, or drive down June, Ringgold, and Huffman Avenue to 4th Street, to see all the beautiful Queen Anne, Victorian Gothic, Victorian Italianate, and other styles of homes.
Preservation Dayton has created a free guided walking tour you can download and follow as you stroll.
The district was founded by successful banker, real estate developer, and future creator of Huffy Bicycle Company, William P. Huffman, between the 1870s and 1890s.
Huffman originally built the new community on 1,200 acres of rural land, but the historic district currently includes around 85 acres across sixteen streets.
Hardly anything new has been built in this district since 1900, so it feels like another era. Even the tacky cell phone accessory shops and their obnoxious neon signs are set up in Victorian buildings.
Huffman later created the Dayton Street Railway Company and a streetcar line to provide residents more easy access to downtown, and he donated some of his land for the creation of Huffman School and the Linden Avenue Baptist Church.
Linden Avenue was once referred to as Millionaire’s Row due to the presence of large mansions that Huffman built as presents for his children, but most of the houses in the area were actually constructed for his employees at Davis Sewing Machine Company.
The home below at 83 Linden Avenue is my favourite in the whole district.
Huffman had purchased Davis Sewing Machine Company years before he started making bicycles, and when the sewing machine industry folded, bicycle production boomed. This allowed him to secure his employees through economic hardships.
William’s son Torrence followed in his foot steps as far as becoming a successful banker and philanthropist, though Torrence Huffman gained his notoriety by allowing Orville and Wilbur Wright to use his pastures for their flying experiments.
The Wright Brothers walked these streets and road Huffman’s street car almost daily as they made their way to town and to the Huffman Prairie Flying Field.
Dayton City Commission proudly announced the addition of the Huffman Historic District, one of its seven historic districts, to the list in 1981, and the Huffman Historic District was added to the National Register of Historic Places the following year.
The following two photos below are not mine. I am sharing them from the Huffman page on Instagram because they turned out wayyy better than the ones I took of these two incredible homes.
Honestly, I have a professional camera, I just can not be bothered to use it.
Huffman Historic District is not known for its nightlife or fine dining, but it does have its perks.
The Huffman Community Garden, Huffman Gateway Park, Terry Park, and Mike’s Bike Park are all super fun options to get outdoors.
The Huffman District is cozied up against the St. Anne’s Hill neighbourhood, so the two share the few restaurants and shops that are in this small area.
Fifth Street Brew Pub is a major social hub for the community.
Gionino’s Pizza, Taqueria Mixteca, Stoney’s Munchie Bar, and the DK Effect “Brewcade” provide local eats and drinks.
Pink Moon Goods just opened in the neighbourhood, and I love all of their style of offerings.
Front Street Art Studios & Galleries is a really awesome place, over on Front Street between 2nd & 3rd Streets.
It is the home of Dayton’s largest community or artists and makers, and a hub for art and cultural activities.
The Carriage House building is currently closed to the public and has no website, but appears to have been called Hidden Treasures and/or Shops at the Carriage House previously.
Carnegie Branch Dayton Public Library is a fun stop too. I seem to be running into more and more of these during my travels lately, and have learned a lot about Andrew Carnegie’s legacy.
The perfect time to visit is during the annual Spirit of Huffman Historic Home Tour when you can get an insider’s look into these gorgeous houses. Follow the Huffman District on Facebook and Instagram for photos and event announcements.
In the area for a while? Follow me to a few of Dayton’s other historic districts- The Oregon District, St. Anne’s Hill, and the South Park Historic District.
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