In the late 1800s and early 1900s Dayton was quite an attraction. In the summer weather it was the stamping ground of many a picnic party. During the fishing season, sportsmen and picnickers flocked there by the hundreds. A few brought tents and camped out for a few days, although unseasonal cold weather could put a damper on events. A number of summer cottages were built along the east side of the river, below the dam. One of these cottages, pictured above, was owned by Walter Brown, and the Green and Brown families spent many vacations there in the summer. A camping trip to Dayton was popular with residents of other towns, also, as shown in the newspaper reports below:
The river is falling slowly, and is now being crossed at both fords. Fishermen and sportsmen are here in great numbers. The Earlville people seem to have struck a “boom” and are turning out en masse for a good time fishing and camping out.
Our busy little neighbor, Dayton, besides becoming famous for her horse collars, woolen goods, tile and paper, is getting to be quite a popular summer resort. The stream of visitors during the few weeks since the fishing season opened must be enormous, for on every bright day at least the banks of the river are lined with people. As a sample of the size of parties: – Some 25 couples from Streator went up in a special car on Tuesday! Already the campers have begun to put in their appearance, and it is altogether likely that from this time until fall there will be no great diminution in the number of visitors. We should think the citizens would turn this flood of tourists to their advantage; and they certainly could make themselves vastly popular with the people of the Fox River Valley by lending their aid in the suppression of illegal seining in their waters.
A mammoth pleasure excursion and basket picnic has been arranged to run from Streator to Dayton on Tuesday, Aug. 18th. For three years similar excursions have left there, and this promises to be the most enjoyable of all. Dayton’s beautiful scenery, fine shade, and unequaled reputation as a pleasure resort is unsurpassed, and Streator people, having no such beautiful or romantic camping out places near their city, have to come this way for such beneficial pleasures.
The camp just north of the ice house above the dam, is certainly an ideal spot. There are about a dozen glass blowers from Streator at the camp, and sometimes as many as fifty visitors can be seen enjoying camp life at one time. Good boating, turtle soup and fresh fish always on hand, and no one who ever visited there ever went away without leaving sweet memories behind. On Saturday, August 17th, will be “Ladies’ Day” at the camp, when the wives and lady friends of the members will be present and a most enjoyable day is expected by all. Good music and dancing will be one of the features of the day.
Twenty-nine boys ranging in age from five to ten years of the “Fresh Air Fund” arrived over the Q. R. R. at 11:17 A. M. on Tuesday. A number of ladies and gentlemen from Ottawa met them at the train and escorted them to their camping ground, just west of Basil Green’s residence. The camp presents a very pretty appearance, everything about it being very neat and tidy. Eight tents comprise the sleeping apartments, while one dining, two commissary and one kitchen tent make up for the rest. Felix Mader of Ottawa presides over the culinary department, while Charles Caton acts as his assistant. Through the courtesy of Mr. Basil Green a dam has been built just south of the camp, where the boys may bathe and enjoy a fresh water bath, unlike that of the Chicago river. Judging from the first day or two, the visitors next week will be very numerous, and will no doubt wake up this old burg, which has so long been sleeping.
There are more than one hundred people in camp along the Fox river between Dayton and Wedron.
Dayton, just north of Ottawa, on the Fox river, is becoming a great summer and fishing resort. A party from Streator has been camping there for several weeks. The Burlington sells from fifteen to twenty tickets each day to parties who go there to spend the day fishing and visiting the campers already there.