There was a day when driving east on 5th Street, you may have wanted blinders, hoping to just pass quickly through the abandoned houses and businesses. My, oh my, how things have changed! Today, when you begin your ascent into St. Anne’s Hill, you actually slow down to see all the progress! And it is everywhere.
“Today, you see banners, flowers and bustling businesses,” says St. Anne’s Historic District board member Mary Jo DuPree. “It’s really an exciting neighborhood.” St. Anne’s Hill, once known as Vinegar Hill due to all its rich orchards, has been working on its renaissance for some time, and it has paid off. “No doubt that the 5th Street Brew Pub was instrumental in putting St. Anne’s back on the map.” DuPree goes on, “but when you reside here, it is the sense of community you really appreciate.” She recalls her first day as a resident like this, “I was moving things into my new place and my neighbor literally came by and said ‘Need a ladder? Need a screwdriver? Need anything at all…let me know!’ That means a lot. People here foster goodwill for each other.”
Neighbors in St. Anne’s Hill quickly become friends through a plethora of activities. “We have chili cook-offs, soup and salad socials, Porch, Patio and Deck parties, game nights and lasagna dinners.” Says Chris Sidner, a resident. “We also have events for people outside the neighborhood to enjoy like our Christmas and Garden Tours.”
You would think a transition like this would take a PR maven, but it is ‘word-of-mouth’ that has propelled St. Anne’s Hill. You cannot talk with this group of neighbors without getting the sense that they want everyone to know how great it really is. “We have a website (Stanneshill.org), a Facebook page, and a neighborhood newsletter, but it is the people’s stories about living here that inspire new neighbors.” DuPree adds.
In this hotly divided political time, St. Anne’s stands proud of its diverse community. Within its radius, you will find a Turkish Center, a Mosque and many people from many backgrounds. It is the mix that makes the area so appealing. “You will find quite a wide range of people here. The LGBTQ community is very prevalent here.” says Sidner.
The neighborhood, which is made up of about 300 or so parcels abuts Huffman Historical District and Newcom Plain. St. Anne’s resurgence is inspiring these areas to follow suit, with more and more homes being renovated in both.
St. Anne’s, even with its eye on the future, keeps its roots in the past. The homes are updated respectfully and thoughtfully. The storied past of this section of the city, spared in the 1913 flood, was used to assist Dayton’s wounded and ill. It was the location of the first Anticoli’s restaurant. It is home to the invention of the Forkula and the Water Broiler. And of course, the beer being brewed on 5th Street, flows daily.
Dayton is known for her historic areas. Oregon, with her restaurants and nightlife; South Park, with her wide boulevard and eclectic homes; Wright-Dunbar, with its tribute to the names we still hold dear; McPherson Town, and its stories of survival and revitalization; Dayton View, with its prominent past and unparalleled architecture…The list goes on and on!
For St. Anne’s Hill it comes down to taking care of folks! “We depen
d on a network of people. Through that network, you find diversity, safety and a sense of home!” DuPree says. On your next Sunday drive, head up 5th , open your eyes, and enjoy this little gem of a neighborhood. You’ll like what you see!