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Our Neighborhood History: Rogge Street

By Bridget Garnai Retzloff and Heidi Gauder

What was life like in the neighborhoods surrounding the University of Dayton campus before students began living in the houses? This question is what we wanted students to imagine and answer when we created an AVIATE opportunity this semester. Beginning with houses at Wyoming and Brown streets and working south, students are researching house addresses from 1920, looking up the residents, and then pinning that information to a Google MyMap. By the end of the project, we hope to map both the north and south student neighborhoods.

The student discoveries have already yielded interesting finds. Rogge Street, for example, is one block long and a mix of single-family homes and duplexes. It was a working-class area, and all families but one on the block were white. Those who were employed earned wages or worked on their own account; no one was listed as salaried or as an employer. Many of the houses were occupied by families, often with several school-aged children. Even with these similarities, however, differences emerge across individual households. Here are some of the families that the students identified:

  • At 23 Rogge St., which the Montgomery County auditor’s website lists as having 1,576 square feet of living space, Joseph Delaney, 42, lived with his wife, Cora, and seven children as well as a boarder. Mr. Delaney’s occupation was listed as a laborer with the streets department, and his oldest daughter, 16, was a clerk in a glove factory. The family rented this house.
  • His neighbor at 31 Rogge St., Z. Jacob Budnick, owned his house. Mr. Budnick, 53, lived there with his wife, Sarah, and three children. A daughter, 20, was a machine operator at the NCR Corp. (then known as National Cash Register), or, as the Census taker reported, the “cash reg” [factory]. Mr. Budnick’s occupation was a junk peddler. He immigrated from Russia in 1902, and Sarah immigrated in 1908.
  • Arnett Sanders, 30, rented the house at 38 Rogge St. He lived there with his wife, Nettie, and three children. He was a machine hand and worked for an electrical manufacturing company.
  • At 57 Rogge St., Bernard Fleagel, 47, rented half of a two-story duplex with his wife, Lottie, and four children. A daughter, 17, worked as a clerk in a department store, and Mr. Fleagel was a junk peddler. Like the Budnicks, Mr. and Mrs. Fleagel immigrated from Russia; they arrived in the United States in 1904.

Census reveals cultural concentrations

One striking aspect of this street was the concentration of Russian immigrant families who spoke Yiddish, which was identified as Hebrew on Census forms. In addition to the Budnick and Fleagel families, the Census enumeration forms indicate that the Freedmans, Kastners, Bolkins, Cohens, Rubens, Snyders, Litwoks, and more all lived on the block-long Rogge Street, and many arrived in the States from the Russian empire in the first decade of the 20th century. At this time, many Jewish immigrants from the Russian empire were from Polish and Ukrainian areas under Russian rule, as well as from Lithuania, Latvia, and Galicia. Many Eastern European Jewish immigrants settled southeast of Dayton and founded congregations.

The 1918 Sanborn fire insurance map shows a synagogue, the House of Jacob, on Wyoming Street directly north of Rogge Street. The House of Jacob, later known as Beth Jacob, was founded in 1875 by early Orthodox Jewish immigrants to Dayton from the Russian empire and perhaps German Jews who sought a more Orthodox approach than the existing synagogue, Temple Israel, which was associated with American Reform Judaism. This community grew in the late 19th and early 20th centuries as new Eastern European families arrived in Dayton, likely to escape religious persecution and pogroms and to pursue opportunities unavailable to them elsewhere. By 1893, the House of Jacob congregation completed construction of the synagogue on Wyoming Street, which was remodeled in 1903 after an influx of new families doubled the size of the congregation. A photo of this synagogue can be seen on the left side of this page on the Beth Jacob Congregation website. This site is now 366 Wyoming St., the location of the Wyoming Street Community Church.

Religious practice: A constant amid change

While the House of Jacob congregation grew with new Orthodox Jewish families arriving from Russia, Litvak (Lithuanian) Orthodox Jews were also arriving in Dayton, and in 1894, they established another synagogue in East Dayton — Beth Abraham. On the occasion of the 125th anniversary of Beth Abraham’s founding (2019), American Jewish history professor Jonathan Sarna explained that these Lithuanian Jewish immigrants, many of whom worked as peddlers, would have wanted their own synagogue because their religious rites and customs were different from the Russian Orthodox Jewish rites and customs. Religion would have provided a constant during the upheaval of settling in a new place. Read more about Beth Abraham from Sarna and Dayton Jewish historian Marshall Weiss here.

In 1913, the wooden house on Wayne Avenue that Beth Abraham was using as a synagogue was destroyed in the Dayton Flood, along with nine Torah scrolls, which were recently uncovered at the Beth Abraham cemetery. The Beth Abraham congregation built a new synagogue in 1918, a photo of which can be seen in the upper right corner of the graphic here. The synagogue is also depicted on the 1918 Sanborn map, across from the Wayne Avenue intersection with Jones Street. This building no longer stands.

After the flood, a move to higher ground

Whether Orthodox Jewish families from Eastern Europe worshipped at House of Jacob or Beth Abraham, after the Dayton Flood of 1913, many families living in southeast Dayton began moving to higher ground in the lower Dayton View area north of downtown Dayton. Jewish immigration to Dayton also slowed during this time as a result of World War I. A 1917 YWCA investigation of “foreigners” in Dayton reports that, “Dayton has a wellestablishet [sic] Jewish population of 4,500 throut [sic] the city; but only about 200 Jewish immigrants of the last five years.” This investigation also reports that Jews in Dayton were very active in philanthropy and that Beth Jacob and Beth Abraham each had three beneficial societies — one each for men, women, and children. A Young Men’s Hebrew Association conducted an English class for Jews at the Patterson School on Alberta Street, down the street from Beth Jacob. The Patterson School building is no longer standing, but its location (now a large empty lot) can be seen on the 1918 Sanborn map of the Rogge Street neighborhood.

As Orthodox Jewish families moved to Dayton View and Eastern European Jewish immigration slowed, Beth Jacob and Beth Abraham also relocated to the Dayton View area. In 1943, Beth Abraham merged with the Dayton View Synagogue Center, a synagogue established in 1922 that was affiliated with the Conservative movement. Read more about the history of Beth Abraham and this merger on the Beth Abraham Synagogue website.

First Jewish cemetery in Dayton was on Rubicon Street

While large numbers of Eastern European Jewish immigrants were living east of Brown Street, Dayton’s first Jewish cemetery, established in 1851 by the Hebrew Society (later Temple Israel), was still standing nearby. This cemetery can be seen on the 1918 Sanborn map on Rubicon Street between Jasper and Stewart Streets, which is now the location of a parking lot behind Flanagan’s Pub. Weiss explains that when the land for this cemetery was purchased, it was well outside the city limits, but by 1890, the Jewish community and Dayton had grown, and neighboring National Cash Register bought the land from Temple Israel. The photo in a 1963 Dayton Daily News article shows how close one of the NCR buildings was to the cemetery. New burials ceased in 1890, and some remains were disinterred and reinterred by relatives when the cemetery land was sold. However, many were not reinterred until 1967, when the remains of 62 were transferred to Riverview Cemetery on West Schantz Avenue in Kettering and Oakwood. Read more from Weiss about Dayton’s first Jewish cemetery here.

Rich history all around

Many people who work and study at the University of Dayton take Wyoming and Brown streets as a means to get to campus and drive right past these houses and structures. In asking the students to dig into the house histories, we too discovered more about who lived there and why they might have chosen that area. As students continue to research the area bit by bit, we’ll report on additional discoveries that bring light to who lived in the student neighborhood 100 years ago and a little bit about where they worked, shopped, ate, worshipped, socialized and maybe even more.

— Bridget Garnai Retzloff is a lecturer in the University Libraries. Heidi Gauder is a professor in the University Libraries and coordinator of research and instruction. 


Beth Abraham Synagogue.  “BAS Story.”

Budnick, Z. Jacob.  Census Place: Dayton Ward 9, Montgomery, Ohio; Roll: T625_1421; Page: 8A; Enumeration District: 172. 1920 United States Federal Census.  

Delaney, Joseph. Census Place: Dayton Ward 9, Montgomery, Ohio; Roll: T625_1421; Page: 8A; Enumeration District: 172. 1920 United States Federal Census.  

Doren, Alice M.  Foreigners in Dayton: An Investigation, 1917.  Dayton History Books online.

Fleagel, Bernard.  Census Place: Dayton Ward 9, Montgomery, Ohio; Roll: T625_1421; Page: 8B; Enumeration District: 172. 1920 United States Federal Census

Sanders, Arnett.  Census Place: Dayton Ward 9, Montgomery, Ohio; Roll: T625_1421; Page: 10A; Enumeration District: 172. 1920 United States Federal Census.

Weiss, Marshall.  “Beth Abraham @ 125.”  Dayton Jewish Observer, February 1, 2019.

Weiss, Marshall.  “Cemetery Mystery Solved for Beth Abraham.”  Dayton Jewish Observer, May 24, 2019., Marshall. 

"Dayton’s First Jewish Cemetery, John Patterson, and NCR.” Dayton Jewish Observer, July 23, 2020.

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