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Dayton, at the crossroads of southwestern Ohio’s major transportation routes, has a distinct industrial heritage. Local NCR Corporation, formerly the National Cash Register Corporation, is a leader in retail information technology and ATM machines. The area has a strong heritage of innovation, and has attracted a number of other high tech businesses in recent years. An assortment of other manufacturing and service activities, some tied to the auto and paper industry, round out the diverse economy. An old GM site along the river is being repurposed, with the help of state funds, into a “Tech Town” high tech campus – interesting if it works out.
The more attractive residential areas are in the wooded hills to the southeast in Kettering and other areas along State Route 48, with classic Midwest-style neighborhoods, lots of trees, well-laid-out roads and shopping areas and good home values. Areas north are more industrial. The downtown area is fairly plain and largely not an attraction. Although there is some new development including an ice rink and farmer’s market along the waterfront, there isn’t much to do. But excellent cultural amenities and entertainment can be found in Cincinnati, 50 miles to the south. The Wright-Patterson Air Force Base brings a military presence, economic influence, and a first-class aviation museum. The University of Dayton adds some college town amenities and sports excitement. The area has notably good air service. On the whole, Dayton doesn’t excel in any area but offers a good balance.
Dayton is located near the center of the Miami River Valley, a nearly flat plain, 50 feet to 200 feet below the general elevation of the adjacent rolling country. Three Miami River tributaries converge to join the main stream within the city limits. Land to the north is open and slopes gradually upward to Indian Lake, near the highest point in the state at 1,500 feet. To the south is a mix of rolling farmland and deciduous wooded hills, sloping generally downward towards the Ohio River.
The continental climate is typical of the region. Summers are warm, calm, and humid. Winters are cold and changeable with below-zero temperatures every 4 in 5 years. Frequent air-mass collisions produce precipitation throughout the year, mostly as spring and summer showers and thunderstorms, with periods of winter rain. Snowfall is light to moderate, with frequent winter snow flurries caused by cold polar air flowing over the Great Lakes. First freeze is late October, last is mid-April.