Think Dayton's not inspiring? Open your eyes and take a walk


Some people chuckled when the young talent retention group UpDayton launched its Dayton Inspires initiative last year.

Others straight up laughed at the notion that Dayton is inspiring or has inspired.

The reaction was in part a symptom of the low self-esteem issue Dayton Art Institute Alexis Larsen and others see.

Dayton Region Walk of Fame marker honoring trumpeter Eugene Edward "Snooky" Young Jr., a Dayton native who played on the "Tonight Show with Johnny Carson" 30 years.

Some of these naysayers and doubters are just jerks.

I can’t help them.

Others are misinformed or willfully turning a blind eye to the excellence around them.

Dayton’s future, present and past are chock-full o’ inspiration.

This was true even before hometown boys Orville and Wilbur Wright set up their first bike shop.

Anyone who needs a little inspiration should take a trip down to the Wrights’ stomping grounds, the Wright-Dunbar Neighborhood.

The neighborhood of course bears the name of the Wrights and their friend, celebrated poet Paul Laurence Dunbar.

Henry Ford’s museum in Michigan got some great Wright Brothers stuff, but it didn’t get everything.

The neighborhood includes Wright Cycle Company and Visitor Center and the Paul Laurence Dunbar State Memorial — parts of the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park. But these are not the only things in the neighborhood that offer inspiration.

More than 150 examples of Daytonians that have made a difference decorate West Third Streets’ sidewalk between Broadway and Williams streets.

The Wrights were the first named added to the Dayton Region’s Walk of Fame.

Five new people were officially induced into the walk this week.

They are:

•Olympic gold medal runner Robert Keyser Schul (still the only American to ever  win the 5000 meter race)

• Keyboardist, songwriter and funk singer Keith D. Harrison

Keith Harrison (Source: Keith Harrison/Facebook)


•Philanthropist, dancer, model, aviatrix and all-around cool dame Zoe Dell Nutter


• 30-year “Tonight Show with Johnny Carson” trumpeter Eugene Edward “Snooky Young Jr.

Gerald Sharkey, who is called the Father of the National Park in Dayton for his work to recognize Dayton’s heritage and spare more of it from the wrecking ball.

Jerry Sharkey, left, and U.S. District Court Judge Judge Walter H. Rice in front of the Aviation Trail Visitor Center at Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park. NAHA photo by Timothy R. Gaffney

Anyone who needs a little shot of Dayton pride need only stroll around the neighborhood and read the stories of the incredible people who have and continue to shape this community.

If that doesn’t do the trick, there are always mirrors you can look in for answers.

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