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Men in Black: 1904

Men in Black: 1904

Dayton, Ohio, circa 1904. "Conover Building." This 13-story structure, later enlarged, still stands at Third and Main. 8x10 glass negative. View full size.


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A moment in development

"Circa 1904" won't do. The U.B. Building would have been up (or at least nearing completion) by that year, at 4th and Main, further down the street.

But we see the Conover Building in its pristine state, years before its addition (which the contemporary picture shows, if you wish to compare them).

I think Detroit Publishing took a few of these Main Street shots -- at least two of which are at the Library of Congress and digitized.

They all show a restless little city, about to double its size.

My relatives (assuming this is really 1903 or just before) arrived in Dayton (from Vilna) around the time of this photograph. My great Aunts and grandma initially found some work at a cigar rolling factory. At least one found better work at the Davis Sewing Machine Company. Ultimately, that first family found work at the National Cash Register Company (where my Uncle Jack painted numbers on the pop-up tags inside the registers). My Aunt Tenia became a comptometer instructor, and my Aunt Anna worked at NCR for five decades.

My Uncle Martin (the next generation) worked at Dayton Tire and Rubber before leaving town for war-important work in Baton Rouge, in 1943. His sisters, my aunt and mother, worked at Yeck and Yeck (advertising) and at Standard Register. I worked Downtown myself and helped the Victoria Theatre win its life back. Such a great town.

It's Gained a Little Weight

Looks like the Conover Building has gotten a little wider over the years, but it still looks great!

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Steampunk vibe

This entire photo has a steampunk look about it. The MIB look like they could be the "cool dudes" in the neighborhood. Or they might be the local toughs out to collect protection money.

Separated at birth

That tall skinny building has a twin in Cape Girardeau, Missouri.

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