5 little-known facts about the Keyes Building in downtown Dayton

  • Tom Gilliam
6:00 a.m. Monday, Nov. 14, 2016 Homepage
Exterior of The Keyes Building on the corner of Third & Jefferson Streets in downtown Dayton, October 18, 2016. PHOTO / Tom Gilliam

Have you ever been curious to learn about Dayton's occupied buildings?  

This week, I'm going to tell you the story of The Keyes Building, located at 50 E. Third St. in downtown Dayton. Here are five little-known facts.

>> PHOTOS: A look inside the Keyes Building in downtown Dayton

1.) Constructed in 1870 for the Independent Order of Odd Fellows (IOOF) fraternal organization in the Gothic Revival architectural style, the building originally had three floors, with the third being the IOOF meeting hall. This was the first building constructed by a fraternal organization in Dayton. 

Undated photo of The Odd Fellows Temple in downtown Dayton. From the Dayton Metro Library's Lutzenberger Picture Collection

At this time, even the Freemasons had to rent halls and various buildings around the city for their meetings. A mansard roof topped out the building with a tower above on the corner of Third and Jefferson Streets. Out of the three IOOF buildings constructed in Dayton, this is the only one still standing. 

>> MORE: A look inside the Buildings of Dayton: J.K. McIntire Company 

2.) The building has survived two major disasters: the Great Flood of 1913 in which the structure sustained serious damage, and a fire on the third floor in 1935. The fire damage was so severe that the third story had to be completely removed, reducing the structure to that of a two story building.

3.) Due to the removal of the third floor and other extensive renovations and updates, the building is no longer eligible to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  

>> RELATED: Photos of the historic Delco Building renovation

4.) For many years, this building was home to the Merchants National Bank & Trust Company and the law firm Turner, Granzow & Hollenkamp. According to the Williams' Dayton City Directory, the radio stations WONE-AM (980) and WTWO-FM, which would later become WTUE-FM (104.7), were located on the second floor from 1950 until 1953.  

5.) In 2012, Key-Ads, Inc., an outdoor advertising company founded by Ed Keyes in 1955, moved to this building after outgrowing their previous office, located at 5412 N. Main St. in Harrison Township. Since Key-Ads purchased the property, it was renamed The Keyes Building.  

“We have, at present, 12 employees here working out of our building with room to double in size over the coming years,” said President Nick Keyes, Sr., son of company founder Ed Keyes. “We’ve been growing ever since our move to downtown and enjoy our building’s central location in, not only downtown, but the community at large.”  

What does the future look like for The Keyes Building?  

“In the near future we will be adding a digital display on the rooftop, which will be unlike any other in the marketplace,” Keyes said. “We’re excited to bring another first to the area!” 

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