The City of Moraine is fortunate to have a major river waterway flowing north to south through the city. The river has been a focal point of recreation for over 100 years.

The Miami Shores area became known as the “Playgrounds of the Miami Valley” as in the late 1920’s to 1950’s wealthy Oakwood and Dayton business owners and residents purchased lots and built small summer cottages. They came on weekends to relax, cookout, fish, boat and bath. Public docking places were available for launching boats and offering limited boat rentals. Beautiful parkways and a natural swimming pool/hole fed by spring water was promoted. Lot’s were sold for only $95 and up.  Over 5,000 attended a July 4, 1929 promotional event at Miami Shores that featured free peanuts, popcorn, crackerjack and pop.

The Dayton Herald Newspaper July 3, 1930 advertisement promotion sponsored by the The Moraine Development Company encourages people to spend the July Fourth at Moraine Riverview at the Community Recreation Park along the Moraine riverbank on the east side of the river just north of the old steel bridge. This was a greenspace area located where the housing subdivision is across from today’s Moraine Municipal Building along Main Street.  People were invited to the park to relax and picnic on Independence Day. 

A year later in the September 11, 1931 Dayton Herald Newspaper, an article promoted the 1st Annual Journal and Herald Outboard Motorboat Regatta. The races were held just south of the old Sellars Road Steel Bridge (today’s Main Street Bridge) right on the Moraine/West Carrollton border near Holes Creek. Grandstand seating was provided on the east side of the river with additional parking through the cooperation of the Miami Shores Company by crossing the bridge to the west side of the river.  The boat races were conducted under the supervision of the Miami Valley Boat Club.

These were some of the early special events in the Miami Shores area to promote water recreation and the sales of houses or cottages. Part 2 next month, will look from 1940 through 2021 and how the use of the Miami River for water recreation continued to grow.

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