Wading into Dayton’s History

Dayton History announced the iconic swimming pool light tower from Old River Park—a recreational area built in 1939 by National Cash Register (NCR)—has been successfully moved and restored at Carillon Historical Park.

Along with the tower, numerous Old River features made their way to Carillon Historical Park in an effort to bring together, preserve, and interpret this regional story. A collection of original picnic shelters, swings, game pieces, and a slide made the voyage with the pool tower across Patterson Boulevard.

“Old River has a special place in the hearts and minds of so many Daytonians,” says Dayton History President & CEO Brady Kress. “At the time, Old River’s swimming pool was one of the largest in the nation, and its unique central tower made it one of a kind.”

Designed by the Olmsted Brothers, the famed landscape architectural firm responsible for New York’s Central Park, Old River was the vision of Carillon Historical Park Founder Edward A. Deeds. As Chairman of the Board at NCR, Deeds created Old River Park as a recreational area for NCR employees and their families.

“We were delighted to assist Carillon Park in the careful removal of some of Old River’s most memorable assets for preservation at the museum,” says University of Dayton President Eric Spina. “As the original Old River Park is finding a new purpose in education and research, it’s appropriate that its legacy and importance to generations of Dayton families will be remembered.”

The University purchased Old River Park in 2009 as part of a larger acquisition that included the former NCR World Headquarters. The park area is now a living lab for research and education, where environmental biology students and faculty are studying ecological phenomena.

“For well over half a century, the Old River Pool Tower was a recognized landmark tied to NCR.,” says Kress. “Edward Deeds opened Old River Park and within a year started building the carillon; with areas of Old River now being repurposed by the university, and because Dayton History owns the NCR Archive, it seems fitting to have some of the original relics preserved at the same historical organization Deeds founded nearly 80 years ago.”

Carillon Historical Park is part of Dayton History, a private non-profit organization established to preserve, share, and celebrate our region’s history. The Park’s 65-acre campus is home to over 30 historic structures and cares for over three million artifacts. In addition to Carillon Historical Park, the following sites rest under Dayton History’s care: Carillon Brewing Co., Hawthorn Hill, the Paul Laurence Dunbar House Historic Site, Patterson Homestead, the Old Court House, Memorial Hall, and the Archive Center.

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