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Downtown Dayton Walking Tour
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The Old Court House building is one of Dayton's treasured landmarks. It was built in 1847 in the Greek Revival style and as such is the recognized as one of the country's best examples of this style of architecture. Several presidents have campaigned here including Abraham Lincoln, John F. Kennedy, and Ronald Reagan. It has been an important focal point for the city, being the location where residents learned about updates during the Civil War (via the telegraph), and during WWII, where bond drives took place. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The building can be rented for private events.


  • The Old Courthouse was built in 1850 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
  • The Abraham Lincoln statue is located just outside the courthouse entrance. Photo: Rev. Ronald Irick

Lincoln's campaign speeches in Dayton, Cincinnati, and Columbus in 1859 helped propel him to the national stage. Impressed by his Ohio speeches, the Cooper Union in New York City invited him to give a speech to introduce him to the rest of the Republica party. Before that, he was mostly known in the midwest. The party nominated him in May of 1860 and was elected later that year. A statue commemorating his speech and legacy stands just outside the courthouse.

"Lincoln Takes a Stand." The Historical Marker Database. Accessed July 26, 2018.  https://www.hmdb.org/marker.asp?marker=109456.

"Old Court House." Dayton History. Accessed July 26, 2018.  https://www.daytonhistory.org/visit/dayton-history-sites/old-court-house.