St. Anne's Hill
A Historic Perspective
St. Anne's Hill is a remarkable and diverse neighborhood. It has gone
the full cycle from agricultural out-land, to an ethnic core, to a flourishing streetcar
community and presently, a re-gentrified historic district. It has a history of hosting
diverse social and economic groups and its architecture reflects this diversity.
The area now known as St. Anne's Hill was part of the original
out-lots of the City of Dayton which were plotted in 1815 by Daniel C. Cooper. Although
not settled for several decades, by the 1830's the first documented use of the name
"St. Anne's Hill" for the area is found in newspaper advertisements promoting
the sale of nursery stock from a greenhouse in the area. Unfortunately, no explanation for
the origin of the name has been discovered.
During the first half of the nineteenth century, several farmsteads
were built on the hill. Swiss immigrant and botanist, Eugene Dutoit, erected the area's
first residence, a farm mansion, on a 111 acre tract of land in 1838. He built his home
and farm with orchard, vineyard and nursery on the north side of Fifth Street. That part
of the hill eventually became known as "Vinegar Hill" because of the smell of
ripening fruit from his orchard. His beautifully restored home, one of the oldest
residential structures in the city of Dayton, still stands at 222 S. Dutoit Street.
Another prominent resident of St. Anne's at that time was William
Bomberger, a German immigrant and lumber business operator who became Treasurer for the
City of Dayton. He built his estate on the south side of Fifth Street. That side of the
hill appropriately became known as "Bomberger Hill." His estate was later
demolished in 1908 to make way for Bomberger Park, a large recreation-oriented park at the
corner of Fifth and Keowee.
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