Dayton history headlines: UD’s NCAA hosting debut and more front-page stories to remember from this week

Each week, the Dayton Daily News will go into the archives to look for big or interesting headlines during that week through the years.

Here’s a look at some stories happening the week of March 6-12:

1877: Gebhart’s Opera House opens to the public

An ornate dome topped the elegant Gebhart’s Opera House when it opened to the public on March 12, 1877.

The opera house, which originally had seating for 1,200 patrons, changed names over the course of its history. In 1889, it was renamed Park Theater and was one of the first sites in Dayton to play motion pictures. In 1906, it was called the Lyric (the era this photograph was taken in) and expanded to become a “high class vaudeville house,” according to Dalton’s narrative.

The theatre closed its doors in 1968 while under the name Mayfair. Today the Dayton Convention Center is on the site.

1958: UFO scare here blamed on Venus

On March 7, the Dayton Daily News reported that residents described an unknown object in the sky as green, yellow, red, white and blue at about 5:30 a.m. A newspaper photographer was sent out to take a long exposure of what was reported.

But a local scientist told a reporter that the object in the sky was just Venus, and its place in the sky had recently caused other reports of unknown objects in the sky.

1970: Carr leaves no doubters

In the first NCAA tournament games ever hosted at UD Arena on March 7, Notre Dame’s Austin Carr set a record that still stands by scoring 61 points in his team’s 112-82 win over Ohio University.

On the same day, Artis Gilmore had 30 points and 19 rebounds as Jacksonville beat Western Kentucky 109-96.

1998: Big splash on the river

On Wednesday, March 11, officials unveiled plans for a $24.4 million project that would become RiverScape MetroPark and development along the Great Miami River.

The plan included the fountain, redesigning of Van Cleve Park, a minor league baseball stadium, a winter ice rink and more.

“The riverfront is a fantastic asset, and we’ve known it for a long time and it needs to be developed to its full potential,” said David Holmes, chairman and CEO of Reynolds and Reynolds Co., which was one of the financial backers of the plan.

2009: She’s 1 in 5 million

Sylvia Booker Utz celebrated her 110th birthday in Greenville on March 9. She was born March 9, 1899, in Darke County.

Utz had been married to Harley Utz for 83.5 years before his death in November 2001 at age 103. As she turned 110, Utz still held the Guinness world record for longest marriage.

Utz died later that year, on May 6, 2009.

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