Clock Tower

Out of the Clock Tower



Hello and welcome to the Greene County Archives' blog, "Out of the Clock Tower".  Please join us as we share information on archival issues, news, special events, and highlights from our collection.

Before the archives program began in Greene County in 1996, permanent records were stored in every conceivable space, in basements, garages, and closets. Usually they were in boxes of various shapes and sizes, although seldom adequately labeled, but occasionally they were just in loose piles of books and papers. Most notable were the old records stuffed into the clock tower of the County Courthouse, where they shared their home with pigeon droppings.

Now, there is a clean, environmentally controlled, well appointed location for the county archives, where our historical records are housed in standard sized boxes on steel shelves. We have taken note of their journey in the name for our blog.

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May 14

The Bailey House Hall

Posted on May 14, 2021 at 10:54 AM by Melissa Dalton

Old advertisements can provide a glimpse into the past. They indicate what may have been important to a community, what people did for entertainment, where the community members shopped, and what they were buying (or being encouraged to buy). One particular advertisement we have in our collection is for the Star Dancing Club located at the Bailey House Hall (Fig 1).

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Fig 1. Star Dancing Club advertisement, 1883 (Greene County Archives)

The Bailey House Hall (also spelled Bailie) was located on the corner of W. Main Street and N. West Street in Xenia, Ohio, and had quite a life – from a seminary, dance club, skating rink, headquarters for the Salvation Army, gymnasium, tenements, mission school, and apartment building – all prior to being demolished to build a gas station. This week, we thought it would be interesting to give a brief history of the Bailey House, and shine some light on the rich life of the building (Fig 2).

Fig 1. Star Dancing Club advertisement, 1883 (PNG)

Fig 2. 1890 Sanborn Map (Greene County Public Library)

The Bailey House Hall was built around 1855 and originally was a seminary for the Presbyterian Church. In 1879, a new seminary was built, and the building was sold. Just a few years later, in 1883, the Star Dancing Club gave their first “public hop” at the Hall (Fig 3). The music for the hop was provided by the Xenia Orchestra, and the first dance witnessed roughly 150 people in attendance. The Bailey House Hall continued to host the Star Dancing Club, and many public dances were held, especially during the holidays.

Fig 1. Star Dancing Club advertisement (inside), 1883 (PNG)

Fig 3. Xenia Daily Gazette, 17 Oct 1883 (Newspapers.com)

In 1885, a skating rink opened at the Bailey House, and included good music, “tip-top” floors, rental skates, and a band stand (Fig 4). The dances continued during this time as well, and there are many articles in the Xenia Daily Gazette speaking to balls and local bands playing for the attendees. This same year, the Salvation Army moved its headquarters to the Bailey House (Fig 5).

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Fig 4. Xenia Daily Gazette, 16 Feb 1885 (NewspaperARCHIVE.com)

 
Fig 2. 1890 Sanborn Map (JPG)

Fig 5. Xenia Daily Gazette, 21 Oct 1885 (NewspaperARCHIVE.com)

 

In 1888, a gymnasium was opened by Professor Alonzo Day in the Bailey House, being furnished with bathrooms, a trapeze, ladders, swinging rings, hand pulleys, and dumbbells. Professor Day was a Xenia native, and the newspaper highly regarded him as an expert on “physical development” (Fig 6).

Fig 3. Xenia Daily Gazette, 17 Oct 1883 (JPG)

Fig 6. Xenia Daily Gazette, 28 Feb 1888 (NewspaperARCHIVE.com)

Around 1897, the building was sold, and it became apartments known as the Miami Flats. According to one article, the Miami Flats had roughly 35 apartments, and there are a few notes of fights breaking out. Just a few years later, the building was sold again, but remained residential. During this time, a Mission School opened at the Flats, and had regular attendance of 70 to 100 members.

In 1911, the Miami Flats were remodeled to hold six apartments, with each having six rooms and a bath (Fig 7). It remained an apartment building until 1934, when it was decided to raze the building to make way for a new gas station (Fig 8), which eventually became a Sunoco Gas Station.

Fig 4. Xenia Daily Gazette, 16 Feb 1885 (PNG)

Fig 7. Xenia Daily Gazette, 11 Jul 1911 (NewspaperARCHIVE.com)

 
Fig 5. Xenia Daily Gazette, 21 Oct 1885 (PNG)Fig 6. Xenia Daily Gazette, 28 Feb 1888 (PNG)

Fig 8. Xenia Daily Gazette, 26 Jan 1934 (NewspaperARCHIVE.com)

The Bailey House Hall stood on the corner of Main and West streets for over 75 years and provided opportunities for worship, entertainment, physical activity, and housing. Quite a life for one building!

Until Next Time!

Sources:

Greene County Archives

Greene County Public Library

NewspaperARCHIVE.com

Newspapers.com

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