Then & Now: The Dayton hotel that served Abraham Lincoln in 1859

The Phillips House was one of Dayton’s first and finest hotels.

“The Phillips House is a large brick structure on the corner of Main and Third Streets, erected expressly for a hotel of the first class, with every improvement and every necessary arrangement that would conduce to the comfort and convenience of guests…,” reported a Dayton newspaper when the hotel opened in 1852.

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The Phillips House is the subject of this week's update to the popular Then & Now photo feature, which explores past and present views of notable Dayton locations. 

» WATCH DAYTON CHANGE: Then & Now photo feature includes past and present views of the city

The Fifth Third Center sits at the southwest corner of Main and Third Streets in downtown Dayton. The 21-story building was constructed in 1989. LISA POWELL / STAFF

Construction began two years earlier, and the establishment was named after H.G. Phillips, “one of the oldest and wealthiest citizens of the community,” according to a story written by Howard Burba for the Dayton Daily News in 1932.

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“The opening of the Phillips House this evening promises to be the most brilliant which has ever been witnessed in Dayton,” reported the newspaper “A cotillion band composed of 15 pieces has been engaged in Cincinnati.”

Abraham Lincoln and his wife Mary Todd Lincoln stayed in the hotel for a few hours to spruce up before Lincoln gave a speech across the street at the courthouse in 1859.

» READ MORE: When Abraham Lincoln spoke at the old courthouse

The Fifth Third Center now sits at the southwest corner of Main and Third streets in downtown Dayton where the hotel once stood.

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