Monday, October 22, 2007

More on the Death of Dayton's Busy Streets

Just a quick follow-up to that Warren Street post.

What I looked at Brown and Warren was the physical destruction of the urban fabric. Related to that is the economic destruction of neighborhood retail.

I did a study on this for the Saint Anne's Hill area, as part of a larger look at this neighborhood (one of my favorites in Dayton). I looked at what was in the buildings, as well as the ongoing demolition, coming up with a sort of commercial history of the place, at least starting in 1914 or so, when the criss-cross directory started.

I looked at corner stores, but also at 5th Street from Stivers to the railroad. A street we don't think as having much trade.

I did an in-depth block by block look, using color coding for types of business and doing a history of each surviving storefront.

As a summary, I ginned-up this diagram, showing the distribtion of buisiness on 5th at different snapshots in time. Left side is Stivers/Blomberger Park/High Street, right is the railroad. I put in Henry Street for reference

It almost looks like DNA strands. Maybe this is the commercial DNA of the neighborhod?

One can see the numbers of buisnesses on 5th through the years. The concentrations on either end of 5th are visible, and then the decline as business thins out, ending up with the near death of retail on 5th in our time (as well as substantial demolitions).

Why did the busy streets and neighborhood shopping districts die out?

In this case a lot had to do with changing ways of retail and services, such as the disappearance of certain types of buisiness, as well as people using the car to go to the suburbs for shopping (I think suburban shopping hit the neighborhoods as well as downtown).

Maybe neighorbood poverty had an impact, too.

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