- Tom Gilliam
Have you ever wondered which building is the oldest in downtown Dayton?
This week on The Buildings of Dayton, I'm going to tell you the story of Blush Studio, home of Blush Boudoir & Blush Senior Modern Portraiture, located at 120 N. St. Clair St. in downtown Dayton.
In the summer of 1796, surveyor Daniel C. Cooper settled in Dayton and became owner of the town by title when the original proprietors defaulted. He was the first owner of the land in which this building was constructed.
>> PHOTOS: A look at Blush Studio, then and now
Built in 1829 -- 32 years prior to the start of the American Civil War -- this building has had many owners over the course of its 187-year history. Samuel Brady, an abolitionist many years before the American Civil War, was the sixth property owner. Brady was an active worker on the Underground Railroad and assisted many slaves on their journey to freedom in Canada. He passed away on May 11, 1880 at the age of 79.
James M. Cox purchased the Dayton Evening News on August 18, 1898 and promptly renamed it the Dayton Daily News on August 22, 1898. The William Clingman Transfer Company, one of the first delivery services for the Dayton Daily News, operated out of this building. In 1901, Mr. Clingman started hauling DDN newspapers for $9 a day to the Union Station railroad depot on the corner of Sixth & Ludlow Streets (built 1899, demolished 1989). He transported the papers himself initially by cart & wagon and then with large trucks in later years. After 23 years of being under contract delivering newspapers for the Dayton Daily News, Clingman's health failed in 1924. He passed away in 1927.
The building is a survivor of the Great Flood of 1913. A marker on the north side of the building above the first floor shows the flood line on March 25, 1913.
Billy Pote purchased the property in 2007 and leased the building to photographer Tracy Malott for her Blush Boudoir photography studio in February 2010 when she decided to move downtown from her first studio in West Carrollton. Pote and Malott became business partners in 2012, with Pote becoming co-owner/studio manager. The business partners turned happy couple were married in the courtyard of Blush Studio on October 1, 2016.
"While the building is not on the National Register of Historic Places, it is believed to be the oldest original building in Dayton, built in 1829," Pote said. "That is around the same time the first camera was invented. The oldest picture in the world was taken in 1827."
Newcom Tavern, built in 1796 on the corner of Main & Water (now Monument) Streets, was formerly the oldest building in downtown Dayton until being moved from Van Cleve Park (part of RiverScape MetroPark) to Carillon Historical Park in 1965.
What does the future hold for the Blush Studio building?
"We plan to keep all of the original aspects of the building that exist today," Pote said. "We have no plans to move Blush Studio, but if we do, it will be so that we can actually live in it. We are proud stewards of this little piece of Dayton history."
Special thanks to Billy Pote from Blush Studio and Tony Kroeger & Amy Walbridge from the City of Dayton's Planning Department for providing historical information and additional resources for this series.