Atlas of Dayton Herald

Inaugural Edition Launches in November 2021.

14.9 x 22.7 inches, printed on 52gsm recycled newspaper
Includes 2 poster inserts: 12 x 18 inches, Cougar digital, 80lb text, natural


The inaugural edition looks into the methods and processes behind the Home Owner’s Loan Corporation (HOLC)—a government agency established during the Roosevelt Administration as part of the New Deal initiatives. The newspaper features information about the two phases of the Home Owner’s Loan Corporation’s (HOLC) Residential Security Maps (aka Redlining Maps) specific to the City of Dayton, Ohio. HOLC’s City Survey that included the Area Description Forms were used to collect data about each neighborhood after the residential security maps were created.

The images below walk the viewer through the process and method of how the Home Owner’s Loan Corporation collected information about the City of Dayton neighborhoods. The actual Area Description (AD) form was devised by the Federal Home Loan Bank in 1935 and sent to HOLC agents throughout the United States—239 cities. These HOLC agents were from real estate appraisals, banks/lenders and/or real estate agents/firms.

The City of Dayton’s Area Descriptions forms were signed by three people: F. C. Devlin, Jr. Field Agent; A. Lawson Jr., Field Agent; C. A. Fleming, Loan Service Representative but created through collaboration of several men.

Essentially, these three humans solicited information from other real estate appraisers, banks, lenders, agents etc., that were reputable in each area of Dayton. Those chosen people were in their already established network. They collected qualitative data that was coated in their own biases, racist ideas and discriminations. They would return this information to the 3 HOLC workers (Devlin, Lawson and Fleming) who then created a synopsis of their opinions of each place. Those accumulated descriptions were entered into each form resulting in a final “grade” of the neighborhood. These forms were then used to create the Residential Security Maps which we often refer to as the “Redlining Maps”.

These final maps were never put into public circulation. They were shown at trade shows and to bankers and lenders in the major metropolitan cities—but kept from the hands of the general public. Though the physical maps were never shared publicly, the racist ideas and discrimination was embedded within the minds of every person they reached. This created a perception and mind-set that was then carried forward and shared with every person they were connected with. It was a radioactive virus. Those who worked for the Home Owners Loan Corporation took all of this information and race discrimination with them back to their private practices. The “idea” that was circulated was the disease that we still battle today—racism.

Below is each Area Description form for Dayton, Ohio. The caption titles are the neighborhoods where these forms would reference today. Please note that HOLC assessed areas based on the date that existed in the 1920s and 30s. Several neighborhoods today have portions that receive different “grades” due to this.

A1–A6 pertains to Oakwood which isn’t included in my City of Dayton neighborhoods. Oakwood is 94.6% White. O% Black. 2.7% Asian. 1.5% Hispanic or Latino. It is important to include Oakwood as the HOLC Residential Security Map charts this area. The following neighborhoods were not charted by HOLC workers: Eastmont, East Third Historic District, Fairlane, Forest Ridge/Quail Hollow, Highview Manor, Kittyhawk, Little Richmond, Northridge Estates, Northern Hills, Pheasant Hill, Philadelphia Woods, Stoney Ridge, Sunny Acres, Webster Station, Wesleyan Hill, Western Hills.

PROCEED WITH CAUTION. These forms were completed in 1937 and contain extremely hurtful language that reflects the biases, racist ideas and discriminatory practices of that time. This system, though ground-breaking in its time, was highly flawed and left such a devastating impact on how the City of Dayton allocated resources, equities, opportunities and access. These same issues are evident today.

Reshape the narrative. Redefine your neighborhood.
Be proud of the cultural diversity that we share.
Be kind to one another. Get to know your neighbor.
Respect our differences.
Always expose and fight racism.

Misty Thomas-Trout

Below are the Area Description Forms which were sourced from The Ohio State University Libraries and the National Archives. Extreme gratitude to LaDale Winling and Robert Nelson for their time and contribution to my understanding of this material.

View the interactive “Mapping Inequality” project here.

View the Home Owner’s Loan Corporation’s Residential Security map of Dayton, Ohio from 1937 here.


  1. Beal, Sierra. “Redlining in San Diego.” (June 5, 2021).
  2. Domonoske, Camila. “Interactive Redlining Map Zooms In On America’s History of Discrimination.” (June 1, 2021).
  3. Franco, Juan and Mitchell, Bruce. “HOLC “Redlining” Maps: The Persistent Structure of Segregation And Economic Inequality.” (June 3, 2021).
  4. Glantz, Aaron and Martinez, Emmanuel. “For People of Color, Banks are Shutting the Door to Homeownership.” (June 11, 2021).
  5. Harshbarger, David and Perry, Andre M. “America’s Formerly Redlined Neighborhoods Have Changed, and So Must Solutions to Rectify Them.” (June 18, 2021.)
  6. Kazmi, Rafay. “HOLC Lending Boundaries: Features and Functionality.” (May 12, 2021).
  7. Little, Becky. “How a New Deal Housing Program Enforced Segregation.” (June 17, 2021).
  8. Robert K. Nelson, LaDale Winling, Richard Marciano, Nathan Connolly, et al., “Mapping Inequality,” American Panorama, ed. Robert K. Nelson and Edward L. Ayers. (June 18, 2021).
  9. Rolley, Otis. “The New Deal Made America’s Racial Inequality Worse. We Can’t Make the Same Mistake with Covid-19 Economic Crisis.” (June 11, 2021).
  10. Sherwood, Emily. “Coloring the Gem City: Redlining and the Legacy of Discriminatory Housing in Dayton, Ohio 1900–Present.” (May 3, 2021).
  11. Sweigart, Josh. “Lasting Scars: The Legacy of Race-Based Redlining.” (June 3, 2021).
  12. Author Unknown. “New Deal.” (June 18, 2021).
  13. Author Unknown. “Home Owners’ Loan Corporation.” (June 18, 2021).
  14. Author unknown. “20 Dayton Neighborhoods Where it is Hardest to Get a Home Loan.” (June 18, 2021).


  1. Hillier, Amy E. “Redlining and the Homeowners’ Loan Corporation” (2003). Departmental Papers (City and Regional Planning.) 3.
  2. Michney, Todd M. and Winling, LaDale. “New Perspectives on New Deal Housing Policy: Explicating and Mapping HOLC Loans to African Americans.” Journal of Urban History Vol. 46 (1). 150-180.
  3. Morton, J.E. (1956). “Urban Mortgage Lending: Comparative Markets and Experience.” National Bureau of Economic Research (p. 1-13). Princeton University Press.
  4. Morton, J.E. (1956). “Preliminary Questionnaires and Loan Experience Card and Instructions.” National Bureau of Economic Research (p. 156-167). Princeton University Press.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s