Historic neighborhood. Modern tastes.

Oregon District’s second annual Taste event

By Alyssa Reck

Photo: The Taste of the Oregon District will begin at noon on Aug. 24; photo: Amy Zahora

Taken from archives and a page in history, one part of Dayton was in the making as early as 1815, when land lots of the Oregon Historical District were laid out by Daniel C. Cooper.

It wasn’t till 1829 when 27 building lots were sold for about $2,200 the foundation of the district began. A range of cultures inhabited the district, with the most prominent being German. History tells us Tecumseh Street had some of the earliest houses with trademark architecture, while Jackson Street was built up with business professionals and businesses after the Civil War. 

While the name, Oregon, has been in place for over a century, there really is no documentation of when it first appeared, other than an ad placed by David Z. Pierce in a newspaper. This ad appeared in 1845. Then there was a wide range of businesses and buildings that included “Oregon” in their titles, such as the Oregon Brewery and the Oregon Fire Company. 

Skipping just a bit of time, 1913 was the Great Flood, which forced many residents out of the buildings 10 feet under water, followed by World Wars I and II. Many residents did not return, and the district suffered. 

To save and preserve the area, the city created the Burns-Jackson Historic District in 1972, which was changed to the Oregon District at a later date.  

Today, the Oregon District consists of 12 city blocks, with many shops, restaurants and events.

One event, The Taste of the Oregon District, is returning for its second year. 

On Sunday, Aug. 24, everyone is invited to stop in the Oregon District from noon to 7 p.m. for a day of fun. 

“It’s a great way for Miami Valley residents to come experience everything there is in the Oregon district,” Amy Zahora, Miami Valley Restaurant Association executive director said. 

While many of the restaurants and businesses located in the Oregon District have a footing, the Taste is new to the district, looking it make its own mark in history. 

For several years, Zahora and Michael Martin, president of the Oregon District Business Association, discussed the possibility of doing a “Taste” event in this historical district.  

“Last year we decided just to go for it,” Martin said. “It was great. We had participation from all our restaurants, taverns and many retail businesses as well.” 

With only a few weeks of preparation, organizers and sponsors pulled off the event, which attracted around 10,000 people to the area. 

The Oregon District was a busy beehive of activity and might be even bigger this year. 

“We want to keep adding to it each year, as it is a gem in Dayton,” Zahora said. “ It gives us a chance to showcase the Oregon District.” 

Restaurants, taverns, galleries, shops, entertainers, sponsors and musicians will all be participating in the event. 

For the music and entertainment portion, two stages will be set up. The Menus, which were a “homerun” on the main stage last year, according to Martin, will be back this year. 

The other stage will be at the east end of the district and will have a performance list of local talent. 

“This event is unique because it is a celebration of local eateries, independent business ownership and pride in a neighborhood that is Dayton’s oldest,” Martin said. 

Restaurants will be lined up on the street and tickets can be bought to try samples from the booths. There are some exciting developments for the Taste of the Oregon District, ranging from a chef cook-off to bartender relays. 

Martin said a local luxury car enthusiast will be attending the event and bringing some high-end cars to show off. Also, all Batman fans will be excited to hear the Batmobile is coming too, along with a few other surprises.

“This event brings new people to the area, new diners, new customers,” Zahora said. “People don’t realize what is here.” 

According to Martin, in the Oregon District, folks love to meet the personable business owners who are proud of their unique businesses. Plus, there is a wide variety of food, like Italian, Thai, Irish, the region’s best seafood and so much more. 

For those driving to the event, please note Fifth Street will be closed to traffic from noon to 7:30 p.m. the day of the event. 

A Taste of Oregon is a family-friendly event with lots of great food, music, entertainment and great folks in attendance,” Martin said. “Last year we had about 10,000 folks attend this free event … we’d love so see more this year!” 


The Taste of the Oregon District will be held Sunday, Aug. 24 from noon to 7 p.m. in the Oregon District in Dayton. Admission is free. For more information, please visit oregondistrict.org.

Reach DCP freelance writer Alyssa Reck at AlyssaReck@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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