Construction start delayed on Triangle Park turf field to ensure former Native American burial mound is not disturbed

Triangle Park is home to the NFL’s first game on Oct. 3, 1920, when the Dayton Triangles blanked the Columbus Panhandles, 14-0. Long before that moment, the land where the Great Miami and Stillwater rivers join in the DeWeese-Ridgecrest neighborhood was sacred ground for Native Americans. Considering this, the City of Dayton announced it will postpone a turf field groundbreaking ceremony originally planned during Saturday’s NFL Draft Day party until officials can be certain that construction will not disturb a Native American resting place.

According to a statement from the city:

“The 62-acre site known as Triangle Park has existed for more than 100 years. Out of an abundance of caution and respect for a concern raised this week, the City of Dayton is gathering more information before commencing construction.

“The City will consult with local archaeological resources and members of the Native American community to ensure an inclusive process that is respectful and consistent with construction best practices. The City of Dayton has already conferred with the State Historic Preservation Office, a division of Ohio History Connection, which confirmed that there are two known sites in the park where mounds once existed and remains were recovered. 

“However, SHPO said these sites are not located in the vicinity of the proposed field but are in fact a considerable distance away.”

Last month, the NFL announced that the Cincinnati Bengals will return to where the league first started to help commemorate the 100th anniversary of the NFL.

The field where that first game was played field still exists, and it will get a facelift that features the installation of a turf field before the Bengals’ trip and park dedication. The yet-to-be-determined date will be in late July or early August, reported.

Dayton is one of eight cities outside the current NFL markets being recognized where original teams were located.

There were 14 original NFL teams, including two in Chicago. All 13 towns will receive a donation from the league’s foundation “to support local youth football programs, advocate for player safety, and promote football’s values.”

Each team’s Fantennial is a three-day celebration during the weekend of a home game with Friday focused around high school football and Saturday reserved for what Abitante called a fan festival.

Interestingly, the Triangles originated from the basketball team of St. Mary’s College, now known as the University of Dayton. Cadets’ players started a football team upon graduating in 1912. According to Collett’s book, the team name was changed to the Triangles in 1916. It is believed the name derived from either the park’s triangular shape, or to honor the three factories founded by legendary Dayton businessmen Edward Deeds and Charles Kettering, who sponsored the team and donated land for Triangle Park.

The Bengals will have a pre-season practice at Triangle Park sometime this summer.

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