Dayton, Ohio – The corner of East Third Street and Bell in Dayton’s East End offers a view of what happens when the American Dream leaves town.
Paints peels off the wood siding of vacant homes. Feral cats roam among the overgrown weeds and ivy that have overtaken a crumbling parking lot. A graffiti-covered restaurant sits in a state of decay. In the surrounding neighborhood homes stand empty, windows covered by plywood and “No Trespassing” signs stapled to the front doors.
The East End is one of many neighborhoods throughout the city, and the Rust Belt as a whole, that have fallen on hard times in the wake of the population loss and the departure of manufacturing jobs.
Yet, detectable too, are rumblings of new life.
Less than a quarter mile west of East Third and Bell sits a Latino owned grocery and women’s clothing shop; farther down is a law office that advertises in Spanish; a few blocks from that is Taqueria Mixteca, a Mexican restaurant which overflows with customers during lunch.