Preservationists select 10 of Dayton’s ‘most endangered properties’ to try to save

‘We should be doing everything we can to bring these properties back to life ’

The first step toward saving some of Dayton’s most endangered historic structures has begun.

Preservation Dayton Inc. sought community input earlier this year to determine which buildings should be added to its most-endangered historic properties list.

More than 50 unique properties were nominated, said Monica Snow, Preservation Dayton president. Ten have been selected to be stabilized or obtain control of and prevent further deterioration.

Credit: Chris Stewart

Credit: Chris Stewart

“The community realizes this is a huge asset for our city and our region,” Snow said. “We should be doing everything we can to bring these properties back to life and encouraging homeownership in our community.”

Among the 10 properties the nonprofit will focus on are the Traxler Mansion, an elegant 10,000-square-foot home built in French Chateauesque-style in the Dayton View Historic District, the Gem City Ice Cream building in the Wright-Dunbar Business District and the downtown former Dayton Daily News building.

To be selected the properties had to be at least 50 years old, associated with significant contributions in Dayton’s history and have exceptional architectural style.

Credit: Chris Stewart

Credit: Chris Stewart

Preservation Dayton’s initial goal is to ensure the neglected properties are stable and water-tight so they can be viable for resale and restoration before they are lost forever.

“The architecture and craftmanship in most of these homes can’t be replicated,” said Fred Holley, chairman of Preservation Dayton’s endangered properties committee.

The organization will then work with current owners to improve or market the property and screen prospective investors to ensure they are financially able to tackle a renovation.

Historic preservation experts on the Preservation Dayton board will offer workshops to ensure potential new owners understand the needs of a property.

Many of the historic structures, once the residences of Dayton’s prominent families, are large compared to the square footage of today’s homes, but Preservation Dayton says that should not be a deterrent for a prospective new owner.

Credit: Chris Stewart

Credit: Chris Stewart

The Traxler Mansion and similarly large-scale buildings have the potential to be repurposed as condominiums or converted into event centers.

“We see so much regret and sadness when we lose historic properties and we’re trying to be as proactive as possible to stabilize them so that they can become productive assets in the community and we don’t lose our cultural heritage,” Snow said.

Preservation Dayton needs support from the community to maintain these structures. Its fundraising goal this year is $100,000 and so far $4,000 has been raised.

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“We’re asking people to contribute any small amount because every little bit will make a difference,” she said. “If we really care about our historic legacy and irreplaceable historic treasures, we all have to start getting behind that with tangible resources.”

Tax deductible contributions for property stabilization for the Endangered Properties Fund can be made through The Dayton Foundation (#8630).

For more information about Preservation Dayton, how to donate and the historical biographies of the 10 structures selected as Dayton’s most endangered properties can be found at

Dayton’s Most Endangered Properties 2021

Biographical information about the structures provided by Preservation Dayton.

Traxler Mansion

This Dayton View Historic District mansion was built in 1912 for Louis Traxler, a Dayton department store owner.

The elegant 10,000-square-foot home is built in French Chateauesque-style, the same concept as the storied Biltmore House on the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina.

PHOTOS: Vacant for a decade, the elegance of Dayton’s Traxler Mansion can still be seen

Credit: Chris Stewart

Credit: Chris Stewart

Leopold Rauh House

This Jacobean Tudor home in the Dayton View Historic District was built in 1910 for Leopold Rauh.

Rauh was the president of the Egry Register Co. and instrumental in establishing Dayton’s commission-manager form of government.

Designed by Dayton architect Albert Pretzinger, the home has 24 rooms and 8½ baths. During the housing shortage of World War II, the third-floor ballroom was converted to six bedrooms and occupied.

Credit: Chris Stewart

Credit: Chris Stewart

Michael Neil House

Built around 1900 for Michael Neil, who platted the Wolf Creek Area, the house was sold shortly after it was built to Charles M. Seybold, president of the Seybold Machine Co.

Located in the Grafton Hill Historic District, this brick Queen Anne style building and property was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.

Former Dayton Daily News Building

This 1908 downtown Dayton building was the flagship of James M. Cox, an Ohio governor and presidential candidate. The Cox newspaper empire began with the Dayton Daily News.

Architect Albert Pretzinger modeled the building on the Knickerbocker Trust building in New York City, with massive Corinthian columns and elaborate portico.

In 2007 the newspaper relocated to 1611 S. Main St. At the time Dayton Daily News owner Cox Enterprises contributed $1 million for environmental remediation and demolition of the former downtown newspaper building.

The new owners plans to convert the site into a student housing project were dropped in 2016.

The building, at the corner of South Ludlow and East Fourth streets, now belongs to demolition contractor Steve R. Rauch Inc.

Credit: Chris Stewart

Credit: Chris Stewart

Van Deman Apartments

This three-story, Jacobethan influenced brick apartment building in the Dayton View Historic District was built in 1908 for John N. Van Deman, a Dayton lawyer.

When built, the building contained five very large apartments, four of which had servants’ rooms and large front porches. The interior is finished in mahogany and oak.

Credit: Chris Stewart

Credit: Chris Stewart

Thomas E. Tucker House

This home was built in 1906 for Thomas E. Tucker, president of the Gem City Boiler Co.

The Tucker house, located in the Dayton View Historic District, features Italian Renaissance style, apparent in the arched windows, pedimented dormer windows and the low-pitched hip roof.

However, the veranda which conceals much of the façade is built in the Classical Revival style with a dentil entablature and balustrade supported by fluted Doric columns.

Gem City Ice Cream Building

This building in the Wright Dunbar Business District was the home of the first manufactured ice cream facility in Dayton.

Founded in 1901, the Gem City Ice Cream Co. represents some of the first manufactured ice cream in Ohio. The original building was expanded upon and a new facade was added to the building in 1914, replacing the original.

Credit: Lisa Powell

Credit: Lisa Powell

John R. Reynolds Mansion

John R. Reynolds built the home in 1873 at the eastern end of the city limits on a rural hilltop with sweeping vistas of the city of Dayton.

The Montgomery County Historical Society described the 12,000-square-foot mansion as “an exemplary Midwest statement of Second Empire Architecture.”

Credit: Chris Stewart

Credit: Chris Stewart

Santa Clara Business District

Built between the late 1800s and the 1920s, a complex of building in the Santa Clara Business District represents some of the early suburbanization in Dayton.

The business district is located on North Main Street near Santa Clara Avenue. The district represents an era of unbridled growth and optimism in Dayton, and took on various identities of as a center of retail, entertainment and the arts.

Credit: Chris Stewart

Credit: Chris Stewart

Judge Edward T. Snedicker House

Judge Edward T. Snediker built this brick Georgian-style home in the Dayton View Historic District in 1905.

Snediker died on Oct 19, 1939. The property was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1984.

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