David A. Sinclair was an early supporter of the YMCA movement. He came to Dayton in 1874 to represent the Hamilton, Ontario YMCA at a conference and was so impressed with the leadership of the Dayton branch that he accepted a position here. He could not understand why Dayton had so many jobless men. After asking local employers for their opinion as to the cause of the problem, the answer would be the lack of skills and training necessary to do the job. David became determined to do something about it. Under his leadership, the YMCA began to offer vocational training classes which eventually grew into Sinclair Community College. Sadly, David Sinclair did not live long enough to see it. Exhausted from efforts to build the first YMCA building at Third and Ludlow Streets, now Dayton City Hall, he died six years before the first college building opened.
David A Sinclair has a sidewalk plaque on Dayton’s Walk of Fame on Third Street near Broadway Street in the Wright-Dunbar Historic District. He was inducted into the Walk of Fame in 1996.
David A. Sinclair was born in 1850 and died in 1902. He is located in Section 113 Lot 54.
A friend helps out to see the project completed.
The Young Men’s Christian Association was probably Mary Belle Eaker’s greatest interest. It was her recreation. She left the Eaker homestead as a site for the proposed new building, explaining her gift as follows: “Much of my life has been passed in this home, and I gladly give it for this purpose, believing that it could be consecrated to no better use, and that the people of Dayton will build upon it a suitable Christian home for our young men.”
It was Mr. Sinclair, as a friend and source of information about the Y. M. C. A. that probably decided the matter. Their friendship was most close and sincere, and through him she followed step by step the growing needs of the Association, and its advance in usefulness.
In 1902, Miss Mary Belle Eaker left her home on the northwest corner of Third and Ludlow to the Association. The new building that was constructed there was the second largest YMCA building in the world and opened in April 1908. It contained six stories and was valued at $500,000.
Mary Belle Eaker died on May 30, 1902 at the age of 80. She is buried Section 65 Lot 35.