I remember when I was in high school (Yeah, way back in the Dark Ages), traveling to Wayne High School as the Trojans took on the Warriors. It was just Wayne (Township) High School, not the hyphenated Wayne-Huber Heights High School that we often see now. After returning to Troy about 14 years ago, I wondered when this all took place? I would like to share a little history of one of our neighboring communities. It helped me learn some broader history, as well as why “back in the Dark Ages” we just played Wayne (Township) High School.
Montgomery County was formed in 1803 when the state of Ohio was carved out of the Old Northwest Territory. Seven years later, Wayne Township was set aside as part of Montgomery County and was named for General Anthony Wayne. Wayne was an American Revolutionary General and was in charge of the American military forces at the Battle of Fallen Timbers (1794), and the next year he led the delegation at the signing of the Greenville Treaty (1795).
Wayne Township developed much like other area county townships in administering roads, regulations, taxation and other governmental instruments. Of course, one-room school houses and churches also appeared in the township at an early date. Pioneers came from Pennsylvania, Virginia and Maryland, in addition to others.
The real change to the township and area began in 1956 when developer Charles H. Huber initiated building a suburban development in Wayne Township. The new homes gave people from cities, especially nearby Dayton, the opportunity to move out of the city and live in more of a suburb setting. Mr. Huber was so successful at building and promoting his ‘community’ that it became one of the fastest growing communities in the state and for years was known as “America’s Largest Community of Brick Homes.” According to the Huber Heights Chamber of Commerce webpage, “Over the period 1956-1992, Huber Homes built a total of 10,707 single-family homes and 2,258 multi-family units in the community.”
Even with the rapid change taking place in their midst, many of the residents of Wayne Township enjoyed the ways things had ‘always been.’ But, in the early 1970s, township officials began to realize the vast growth taking place around them would soon outstrip their form of government and therefore was inefficient to continue operating as a township. In fact, by 1970, the population had grown to 28,000, as compared to 1,921 recorded in the 1950 census. In addition, as the 1989 Montgomery County History stated, the officials were aware that the City of Dayton wanted to annex the township into their corporation, which according to polling was opposed by 95 percent of the Wayne Township residents.
In view of the “Dayton threat,” Wayne Township officials made three attempts to incorporate as a city. Again, according to the 1989 history, the first attempt in 1976 was blocked by Dayton because the Ohio Revised Code stated that communities within three miles of the proposed incorporation had to consent. In September 1978, a second attempt was made, but it was found that there was a technical legal issue that made the request deficient. The third and final attempt was made in November 1978, but the officials had to first respond to a legal suit by Dayton. One year later, the Ohio secretary of state certified the development as a municipality. One final effort by Dayton officials was finally put away by the Ohio Supreme Court on Jan. 23, 1981, which became the date for the incorporation of Huber Heights. Wayne Township no longer exists.
The incredible growth of Huber Heights continues to the present. Although the increase in the population has slowed some in the last 30 years, the community is still expanding, both residential and commercially. The population in the 2010 census was recorded as 38,101. Moreover, the city is now spread over three counties, namely: Montgomery, Miami and Greene.
Much has changed in the former Wayne Township over the last 75-100 years, but there are still a few remnants of the “old community,” if you take time to look around.
Patrick D. Kennedy is archivist at the Troy-Miami County Public Library’s Local History Library, 100 W. Main St., Troy. He may be contacted by calling (937) 335-4082 or sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org