Community Gem: Monica Snow helps preserve Dayton’s history

Monica Snow, far right in gray pants, with members of Preservation Dayton
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Monica Snow, far right in gray pants, with members of Preservation Dayton

DAYTON — A community’s soul is in its buildings and landmarks, Monica Snow said. They give each neighborhood its unique identity and help to make sure that the heritage and contributions of the people who once lived there aren’t forgotten.

“Once a building is gone, it’s so hard to remember the story around that community,” said Snow, president of Preservation Dayton, a nonprofit organization that is dedicated to historic preservation.

Historic communities are vital, and Dayton’s inner ring of neighborhoods is a unique asset for the city, she said. The group has had a number of preservation successes, including advocating to save South Park Methodist Church on Brown Street and the former Dayton Power and Light Steam Plant, as well as the historic facades at 3rd and Main streets.

Rosie Miller, of the Huffman Historic Area, called Snow a “champion for preservation.” There was once talk of disbanding Preservation Dayton, but Snow has resurrected it into an active organization that has gotten results, said Miller, who also is involved in the group and nominated Snow as a Dayton Daily News Community Gem.

“She has so much drive and never quits,” she said.

Snow, 72 , moved to Dayton in 1978 and was immediately drawn to the Oregon District, where she still lives today. She “fell in love with historic architecture” but chose the neighborhood as home because of its people. She became a member of the Oregon Historic District Society soon after.

A neighborhood’s historic buildings give people today a chance to reflect on those who built the community and thrived there, said Snow, who retired from a career in marketing and product development. The buildings are the fabric of the neighborhood.

“Our built environment tells a story of the people who came before us – where they worked, where they lived, where they prayed,” she said.

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