William P. Huffman had a vision of an economically diverse, tightly knit community, one in which social luminaries and city leaders would walk the same streets with factory workers and artisans. He built that community in the late 1800s on rural land he owned just outside of the Dayton city limits.
The heart of that area is known today as the Huffman Historic Area, a community listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Mr. Huffman started his community by building homes in a remarkable collection of styles that is a cross-section of the late 1800s—everything from the most ornate Victorian and Queen Anne mansions to smaller homes of simple, classic design.
What the Oregon District is to the mid-1800s, the Huffman Historic Area is to the late 1800s.
Huffy Bicycle Company
Next, Mr. Huffman offered those homes to employees of his company, the Davis Sewing Machine Company (the forebear of today's Huffy Bicycle Company). To provide easy access to downtown, he created the Dayton Street Railway Company and installed a streetcar line. It is said that the Wright Brothers rode over that same trolley line every day on their way to their airplane hangar at Huffman Prairie.
Historic Area Status
In 1981, the Dayton City Commission declared the area an historic district, one of seven historic districts. The others are Oregon (1972), St. Anne's Hill (1974), McPherson Town (1978), Dayton View (1978), South Park (1981) and Grafton Hill (1988).
Although it is dated 1980, and many changes have occurred since then, an application form submitted to the National Register of Historic Places gives a detailed description of the streets and homes in the Huffman area.