Dayton, like many other cities in Oregon, is named for someone’s hometown back east. In this instance, it is the much larger one in Ohio. While small in size, it is large in historical importance. Actually, the history itself is not that unique, but in the 1980s a large portion of the town was added to the National Register of Historic Places. The city was once a port on the Yamhill River, not far from the Willamette, and until the locks were built near Lafayette, it would have been about the last stop up the Yamhill, where the locks allowed river traffic up to McMinnville during drier times.
Dayton’s main claim to fame is its high school football program, which was run by coach Dewey Sullivan for 40 years and won five state titles during that time. Otherwise in a way the town is another one where a bypass has essentially passed the city by. Oregon 18 runs to the north of town between McMinnville and Dundee, but few non-locals bother to take Oregon 233 to Amity or Oregon 221 to Salem.