A sign posted in the Dayton-Wright Airplane Company in 1918 reads "If you don't want to close up the shop with an epidemic of Spanish Influenza quit spitting on the floor." DAYTON WRIGHT AIRPLANE COMPANY PHOTOGRAPHS / WRIGHT STATE UNIVERSITY SPECIAL COLLECTIONS

The ‘pest house,’ Grim Reaper and how the ‘Spanish Lady’ brought the Gem City to its knees

You may not recognize the name, but a ‘Spanish Lady” killed more than 50 million people in 1918 and 1919. 

An estimated 500 to 675 of those people lived in or near the Gem City.

Dayton Daily News and Dayton.com staff photographer and reporter Lisa Powell, with the help of colleague Laura Bishoff and local historians, uncovered a little known story of how the Spanish flu shut down Dayton.

>> Coronavirus: Social distancing a lesson learned from Spanish flu pandemic


In this special episode, Lisa and “What Had Happened Was” host Amelia Robinson dish about the Grim Reaper, pestilent houses, the Vicks Vapor Rub shortage, the media blackout and why one solider probably had his fill of cold, soft boiled eggs.

 

Spanish flu has been compared to the coronavirus pandemic. 

Children ready for school in Starke during the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918. State Archives of Florida
Photo: Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

Stories of Hope

We all need inspiration in these difficult times. And as always, this community delivers. We are sharing these stories of hope in action, every day in the Dayton Daily News.


>> Archdeacon: When sports is no longer a diversion

Lisa Powell. TY GREENLEES / STAFF
Photo: Dayton Daily News Archive

ABOUT THE PODCAST

An illustration that ran in The Palm Beach Post during the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic.
Photo: Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

What Had Happened Was” is a podcast for Dayton, powered by Dayton.com and recorded in the DATV studios. You won't believe the stories that come from right here. Host Amelia Robinson shares the best tales from the Gem City, Land of Funk and Birthplace of Aviation: Dayton, Ohio. 

>> “What Had Happened Was...” podcast finalist for prestigious Marconi award

WHERE TO LISTEN & SUBSCRIBE 

Listen to each show below or get the latest episodes delivered directly to you. Find the What Had Happened Was podcast and subscribe on Apple Podcast (iTunes)Google PlayStitcher and other services. If you like what you hear, rate this podcast. 

CATCH UP ON PAST EPISODES

EPISODE 57

>> Amaha Sellassie on the old guard’s last stand, the power of people and the Above Ground Railroad

EPISODE 56 

Calm before an unprecedented storm: ER Doc Randy Marriott answers your coronavirus questions

EPISODE 55

Coronavirus in Ohio. “It might slow me down, but it might kill her," daughter of nursing home patient says.

EPISODE 54

‘This not a drill.’ Reporter Laura Bischoff explains dramatic steps Gov. Mike DeWine just took against coronavirus in Ohio

EPISODE 53

Jana Collier on the big breakup, pop-star dreams and the future of the Dayton Daily News

EPISODE 52 

The ‘kick-ass’ women who gave Dayton Art Institute its shine

EPISODE 51 

Comedian Megan Stalter on landing ‘National Lampoon Radio Hour’ and being booted out of a Dayton improv class

EPISODE 50

This is my home, these are my people.’ Cloudy with a Chance of What Happened podcast with McCall Vrydaghs & Kirstie Zontini

EPISODE 49

Struggle, survival and strength 1 : Dayton shares stories from year of terror

EPISODE 48

Struggle, survival and strength 2 : Dayton shares stories from year of terror

EPISODE 47

Reporter Cornelius Frolik on the Dayton garage killings  

EPISODE 46

Dion Green on pain, grief and fighting through darkness after Dayton mass shooting and tornadoes

BONUS EPISODE

EPISODE 45

Delusion, Delight and Drag: A deep dive into Ms. Demure’s mind

EPISODE 44

Tales of old-school murder in Dayton

EPISODE 43

Dayton’s ‘other Dave’ is behind the over-the-top pickup truck in the Oregon District

EPISODE 42

His only child was killed during the Dayton mass shooting. Now Mike Turner wants everyone to hug.

EPISODE 41 

'One hell of a summer': Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley on Dave Chappelle, the mass shooting and the tornadoes

EPISODE 40

The story behind ‘American Factory’ with Julia Reichert and Steven Bognar

EPISODE 39

Live on the scene of Dayton’s mass shooting, reporters and witnesses recall what they saw and did

EPISODE 38

A funk in the freezer:’ We catch up with Keith Harrison of Faze-O, Dazz Band and Heatwave fame

EPISODE 37

Barrel House’s Sara and Gus Stathes’ beer-tastic adventure with kids, ferrets and Wu-Tang

EPISODE 36 

“Almost civilized to barbaric,” Roger “Dean” Gillispie on 20 years in prison for rapes and kidnappings he did not commit

EPISODE 35 

‘All hell broke loose:' McCall Vrydaghs on tracking 15 Dayton area tornadoes

EPISODE 34 

Podcast: Meet Dayton Geek King Josh Lumpkin

EPISODE 33

Karen Korn and Audra Sparks start a weed school 

EPISODE 32

Rob Lowe on growing up in Dayton: “It was an amazing time.”

EPISODE 31

RuPaul’s Drag Race star Nina West on making faces and taking a stand in a town with zero cows

EPISODE 30 

 Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine wooed this woman with Whitman's chocolates when they were 12... and it worked

EPISODE 29

BATHTUB KILLER: A dead bride, a bathtub and justice that may not be blind

EPISODE 28 

Amaya Sexton: ‘I am very comfortable with who I am because I know who I am’

EPISODE 27

Laura Bischoff on the faults, foibles and facts of Ohio politics

 

EPISODE 26

Best of Dayton Revealed!

 

EPISODE 25 

 Who does Amelia Robinson think she is?

 

EPISODE 24

New podcast takes on cold-blooded murders in Pike County

 

EPISODE 23

  ‘Anyone can kill’: Dayton detective Doyle Burke talks Jolynn Ritchie, the microwave baby killer and axe murders 

 

EPISODE 22 

Heather Salazar imagined dying in front of her kids

 

EPISODE 21

Zapp band’s Terry and Lester Troutman can still make you dance

 

Episode 20

Broadway star Alice Ripley proves she is anything but ‘normal’ 

 

Episode 19: 

Cat daddy, TV host, all-around do-gooder nerd Rodney Veal 

Episode 18:

Bill Castro on squid, horses and how his family has served Dayton the world on a plate for 40 years

 

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