Dayton Arcade

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Dayton Arcade
Third Street Entrance
Dayton Arcade is located in Ohio
Dayton Arcade
Location Dayton, Ohio
Coordinates 39°45′30″N 84°11′33″W / 39.75833°N 84.19250°W / 39.75833; -84.19250Coordinates: 39°45′30″N 84°11′33″W / 39.75833°N 84.19250°W / 39.75833; -84.19250
Built 1902
Architect Frank M. Andrews
Architectural style Renaissance, Other
Governing body Private
NRHP Reference # 75001498 [1]
Added to NRHP June 18, 1975

The Dayton Arcade is a collection of five buildings located in Dayton, Ohio.The Historic Arcade is a historical, architecturally elegant complex located in the heart of Dayton's central business district. Built between 1902 and 1904, it was conceived by Eugene J. Barney of the Barney & Smith Car Company and consists of five interconnecting buildings topped by a glass-domed rotunda, 70 feet (21 m) high and 90 feet (27 m) in diameter (detailing around the dome includes oak leaves and acorns, grain, rams' heads, wild turkeys, and cornucopia), below which two balconied upper floors circle the central enclave. As President of the Arcade Company, Barney made sure the Arcade had the latest innovations, including elevators, a power plant and a cold storage plant. The architect was Frank M. Andrews, known also as architect for many of NCR's factory buildings (notable for their use of progressive fenestration) and the American Building (originally Conover) at Third and Main Streets in Dayton.

The most notable building, which fronts on Third Street, is of Flemish design and is said to be patterned after a guild hall in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. It looks like typical old Dutch architecture.. The Fourth Street and Ludlow Street facades are done in Italian Renaissance Revival. The most interesting architectural feature is the great dome. The classic detailing usually found in such rotundas was replaced by detailing representative of Ohio. The cornucopias are filled with fruits and vegetables from Ohio. There are festoons of oak leaves with acorns, ram heads and garlands of grain. At each framing member of the dome are colorful turkeys.

Quoting the souvenir program book issued upon the commencement of the Arcade's grand opening festival "The construction of the splendid group of buildings, known as the Arcade, was commenced on March 1st 1902, and completed on March 1st, 1904. The Third Street Building has a frontage on Third street of 66 feet, and was built by Mr. M.J. Gibbons and The Dayton Arcade Company. The Ludlow Street Building has a frontage on Ludlow Street of 66 feet, and the Fourth Street Building has a frontage on Fourth Street of 200 feet. The buildings are of steel and concrete, fireproof construction throughout, and possessing every modern equipment and convenience. The elevator service is furnished by six Otis electric elevators, and the Power Building is equipped with a complete steam heating, electric light and refrigerating plant of the most modern type. Through each building runs spacious arcades, richly constructed of marble and mosaic tile, converging into the Arcade Market House, which, with its magnificent glass dome and beautifully decorated galleries surrounding and overlooking the Market House, is unlike any buildings in this country; artistic in conception and perfect in execution."

Originally, the main spaces were utilized for a major food market with retail, offices, and housing located on the upper floors. Through the first four decades of Twentieth Century, this super supermarket and retail center was one of Downtown Dayton's prime attractions and destinations. Here, one shopped for the unusual in fruit and vegetables, seafood, baked goods, food specialties, meats and meat specialties, fresh-cut flowers and assorted luxury items available in or out of season.

In 1974, the Arcade was placed on the National Register of Historical Places.

In the late 70s, investors began planning and implementing a major restoration of the Arcade. In May 1980, the newly refurbished Arcade was reopened as a retail shopping and food center. In its new guise as Arcade Square, the center offered a lively collection of boutique stores, restaurants, stores offering staples, kitchen apparel, books, and luggage (and even a museum devoted to Coca-Cola). The Dayton Philharmonic, among other offerings, performed to holiday crowds from the vast floor below the Arcade rotunda. Given the general decline of retail activity and volume within the central business district, financial success gradually eluded Arcade Square, and it was closed to the public in 1990. Its final tenants still included its famous Arcade Seafood store and the last traditional dime store to operate in Downtown Dayton - McCrory's -- both of which remained open for a time after the closure of the Arcade Square public spaces themselves.

Although currently mothballed, save for certain brief re-openings for holiday traffic, several plans are in the works by preservation minded organizations to reopen the Arcade and its adjacent upper levels. The building was in use until 1991 and remains empty today.[2]

Currently the Dayton Arcade is a Dead Mall. An Ohio not-for-profit group, "Friends of the Dayton Arcade" was created to advocate for the Arcade Building. The group published a book in 2008 entitled, "The Dayton Arcade; Crown Jewel of the Gem City." The former owner owes several hundred thousand in back taxes. This tax obligation was purchased by American Tax Funding. The sheriff's sale occurred on March 12, 2009 and the building was purchased by Dayton Arcade, LLC for the minimum bid of $615,106.02. New Arcade owners, Gunther Berg and Wendell Strutz say they will begin work on the Arcade in 6 months to restore the building to its former glory (with mixed use developments - housing, offices, restaurants, and commercial space). Early estimates on the restoration totals $30 million. Since the purchase by Dayton Arcade LLC on March 9, 2009, no additional real estate taxes have been paid by the new owners. Currently the delinquent real estate taxes total $164,679.62 and the second half installment due in July, 2011 will bring the total amount due to $193,506.34.

Mayor Nan Whaley announced the formation in August 2014 of a Task Force to determine whether redevelopment is possible.[3]


  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2008-04-15. 
  2. ^ Please See Preservation Dayton's Website
  3. ^

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