The original Dayton '64 logger boot
Dayton '64s are the original boot that built Dayton's reputation. Their story tells the story of British Colombia's logging industry and characters.
Before there was a Dayton Boot, there was a popular gambling and drinking establishment at 64 East Hasting Street in Vancouver called the Lumberman's Social Club. The club was managed by C. H. 'Charlie' Wohlford. Charlie had a long history in the logging industry. Before managing the Lumberman's, Charlie worked as a troubleshooter for Holt Caterpillar Tractor Company. Charlie was well known to loggers and lumbermen in the Pacific Northwest as a first rate craftsman and problem solver.
As the logging industry grew dramatically in the post World War II years, one of the major needs was quality footwear. As a young man, Charlie learned the craft of shoemaking from his Bavarian family roots. He was often asked to help repair or recalk the logging boots that were a critical piece of equipment. His work was so highly regarded, that when he served as manager of the Lumbermen's his logger customers often brought their boots in for repair while Charlie tended bar.
As legend has it, one evening in the back room of the Lumbermen's, a group of loggers aided by a case of whiskey, convinced Charlie to start building a line of quality logging boots. Rather than call the company Wohlford Boots, the name was rejected as too difficult to pronounce. Day as in the term, "Good Day" was picked and evolved that fateful evening into Dayton.
The first boots were produced during the winter of 1946. The first Dayton Logger Boots named the 'Dayton 64' were introduced in May 1947 built in the original production location on Commercial Drive in East Vancouver. Charlie believed 64 was his lucky number. So in addition to the original Lumbermen's address of 64 East Hastings, Charlie had a gambler's instinct about the number 64.
As luck would have it, the Dayton 64 became an instant success. Loggers from all over British Columbia prized the Dayton 64 as the logger's choice because of its rugged, durable and comfortable benefits. Dayton quickly became the footwear standard for loggers, construction workers, rough necks and longshoreman as well as fire and police forces.
Today, the site of the original Lumberman's Social Club at 64 East Hastings is a vacant lot and the dream that was hatched that fateful night continues on down the street at 2250 East Hastings where 60 years later, Dayton still makes the same quality, durable footwear with the same passion and craftsmanship that would make Charlie Wohlford, his family and logger buddies very proud.