Newcom Tavern was not the very first structure built when settlers first traveled up the Great Miami from Cincinnati, but it was one of the first built shortly after, when Dayton was first settled in 1796. In addition to being the new town’s hotel, tavern and meeting place, Newcom’s Tavern was also the city’s first post office, church, general store, courtroom, and jail. The proprietor, George Newcom, served as Montgomery County’s first sheriff after Ohio gained statehood in 1803. Early defendants were held in a dry well as they awaited their hearing in court, until the town built a proper jail the following year.
Newcom’s Tavern originally stood at the corner of Main and Water Street (now Monument Avenue), near the river. In 1965 it was moved to Carillon Historical Park, where it stands today. It houses period furniture and exhibits including clothing and tools. The park hosts a Tavern Dinner a few times a year. Park personnel prepare historically accurate meals in the neighboring Morris House, then serve dinner in the Newcom Tavern. I’ve never been to one of these, but I hope to change that soon!
Do you know what the oldest building is in your town, and have you been inside? Please share!
More at the My Town Monday blog