These long-gone Dayton landmarks live on in photographs

Yesterday’s turrets and spires


While some stunning examples of early Dayton architecture surround us, many did not withstand the test of time.

The historic Arcade, Memorial Hall and the Old Courthouse still stand, but these six other landmark buildings now exist only in historic photographs. 

Steele High School opened in 1891 at the corner of Main and Monument Streets, and was named for Robert Steele, a Dayton educator.

Reminiscent of a castle, the four-story building, which flanked the Great Miami River, had turrets at each corner.

The structure was razed in 1955 to make room for a parking garage. Today the CareSource building stands in place of the high school.

The Callahan Building, sometimes referred to as Dayton’s first skyscraper, was completed at the northeast corner of Third and Main streets in 1892. The building was crowned with a clock built with Swiss-made wooden works inside.

As a young man, Dayton poet Paul Laurence Dunbar worked as an elevator operator in the building crafting poetry from observations he made about the riders.

The building was razed in the late 1970s to make way for a new modern structure designed by famed architect I.M. Pei. The clock tower was saved and today has a home at Carillon Historical Park.

The Gothic-style Dayton Library was constructed out of Dayton limestone with Marquette red sandstone trimmings, and built on a plot of land purchased in 1808 by Daniel Cooper.

The library was “rated as the largest and best building in the state of Ohio devoted exclusively to library purposes,” when it opened in 1888, according to the Dayton Metro Library.

That building gave way to a modern library in 1960 and was replaced again last year with a sleek new library building with soaring glass windows that provide views of Cooper Park and the city.

Dayton’s Union Station, described as a “handsome palace” when it opened, was dedicated July 21, 1900.

A seven-story clock tower crowned the station at W. Sixth and S. Ludlow streets, an upgrade from an earlier round-topped depot built in the mid-1850s.

Fewer people across the country rode the rails in the 1960s, which was the starting point for the downsizing of the station. Over the next two decades, Union Station was demolished bit by bit. The last passenger train left the station in 1979.

For many years two court houses, standing side by side, encompassed a block of downtown Dayton: the 1850 Greek-Revival Old Courthouse, which is still standing, and a new, larger court house that opened in 1884.

The new courthouse was demolished in the early 1970s as part of a downtown revitalization project. Today the location of the former building is Courthouse Square, a popular downtown spot for community gatherings.

Soaring spires framed Grace Methodist Episcopal Church at the southeast corner of Fourth and Ludlow Streets. The church, constructed out of limestone and designed in the Gothic style, was dedicated in 1870.

The church was razed for construction of the Keith Theater which opened in 1922. Today the city’s first modern skyscraper, the Grant Deneau Tower, which opened in 1969, sits on the site.



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