Monday, August 4, 2014

The End of the Hall

Editor's Note: We're returning to our blog so that we can share this story for the record. To learn more about the Oddfellows Hall, check out our previous stories on this topic here and here.   While we mourn the loss of such a historic treasure, it reminds us exactly why it is so important that we join together in preserving the structures that represent the rich architecture, culture, and history of our community.

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For Immediate Release
July 29, 2014

St. Anne's Hill Historic Society Marks Demolition of Historic Oddfellows Hall

Dayton, Ohio - The St. Anne's Hill Historic Society regretfully announces that the historic Oddfellows Hall, located at 6 La Belle Street, is being demolished.   The three-story building has contributed to the unique Victorian-era architecture of the St. Anne's Hill Historic District since the Hall was built in the late 1800's.

Although the building has been abandoned for nearly a decade, the fate of the structure was sealed when one of the main roof trusses collapsed and threatened the integrity and stability of the structure.  The local Landmarks Commission approved the demolition in 2012.  The City of Dayton hired a contractor to demolish the building as part of their Nuisance Abatement program, which is now underway.

The St. Anne's Hill Historic Society is extremely disappointed that the building could not be saved, despite the efforts of many people over the years, but nevertheless supports the City's effort to protect the health and safety of the community.  The adjacent property owners were facing considerable danger from falling bricks and portions of the roof, as well as an unknown quantity of asbestos.

Historically, the Oddfellows are groups dedicated to charity and volunteer work in their community, similar to Masons or Rotary Clubs.  They were first established in Victorian England, and later created their first American organization in 1819.  The first known Dayton lodge was created in 1833, and for a time they were a very successful organization.  By 1861, there were reportedly over 200,000 Oddfellows across the county.   They remain active around the world, including several surviving lodges in Ohio.

However in 1982, the remaining Dayton Oddfellows sold their historic LaBelle Street building.   Although it changed hands several times in the last thirty years, no one was able to restore the building to the grandeur it once knew.  Today, the property taxes stand over $65,000 in arrears.   After demolition, the land will mostly likely be foreclosed and sold to the highest bidder for a new development opportunity.

Meanwhile, the St. Anne's Hill community has recently seen a rebirth of new investment and growth.   The Fifth Street Brew Pub has been a major success, thanks to a dedicated group of neighborhood leaders.   The Turkish-American Cultural Center acquired the former Bomberger Teen Center, and several small businesses have moved in as well.  There is currently a new home under construction, which recreates the original structure that once stood there, and many more homes being renovated throughout the neighborhood.

The St. Anne's Hill Historic Society has also undertaken several projects over the years, including the revitalization of Terry Street Park, and decorative signage and artwork throughout the neighborhood.  Last year's "Dickens of a Christmas" holiday tour broke a new record, drawing over 1,000 visitors to downtown Dayton.  The Historic Society has offered programs and services to the neighborhood for nearly 40 years.

For more information about the community or development opportunities, please visit our website at, visit our page on Facebook at, or contact news(at)

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The following media reports were published as a result of our press release:
WDTN - "Odd" Piece of History Meets Common Fate
WHIO - Remembering Oddfellows Hall in Dayton

This photo was taken just days before the demolition began...

By the end of the week, this was all that was left standing...

Monday, March 3, 2014

Taking a break...

Our regular readers may have noticed that we're not blogging here quite as much anymore.  As more of our neighbors and stakeholders have transitioned to FaceBook, we've been spending more time on social media.
Please join the conversation at and 'Like' our page to stay in touch with the latest information.

We will continue use this blog from time to time for longer historical articles and important announcements.   We invite you to browse through some of the old posts to learn more the unique history of St. Anne's Hill and some of the great things that have happened over the last few years.

Communication is a key part of our strategy as a neighborhood association.  In case you haven't noticed, we also redesigned our website at and we continue to provide monthly newsletters for our residents and property owners.   If you are a new neighbor and have not received anything from us, please contact us for more information about how you can stay informed.

Most of all, thank you for reading our blog!   If you have any questions about our community, or if you'd like to volunteer your talents for one of our committees, please let us know!  

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Dickens' Return

It's back!   The St. Anne's Hill "Dickens of a Christmas" Holiday Home Tour is back for another unforgettable year.  Tours will run December 13-15, 2013.

Please visit for information and tickets.

We hope you will join us!


Friday, April 19, 2013

More Construction!

In St. Anne's Hill, we tend to take a longer view of history than most folks.  Living in a 150-year old home will change your perspective a little bit.    So a recent blast from the past was all the more surprising when we realized it only went back a handful of years.

Back in 2009 we reported in another blog post that the owner of a vacant lot on High Street had plans to re-build his childhood home, which was lost to a fire in the 1970's.    He announced his intentions to the neighborhood after he was already working with the City of Dayton and an architect to design the structure and apply for building permits.

Then, nothing.   Nada.  Zip.   Maybe it was just a dream.   He seemed to have vanished, and we heard nothing more about it.   

Until now!

All of sudden, there was a big hole in the ground!   And bricks!   And mortar!   And men working!    Much to our surprise, the house is now under construction.    We verified that he finally pulled a building permit earlier this year and the house is literally rising up from the dirt, like a phoenix rising from the ashes.

This is the first new construction in St. Anne's Hill in many years, perhaps even since it became a registered historic district and "modern" architecture was essentially banned from the neighborhood.   Let me tell you, recreating a historic structure from scratch is probably the most difficult way someone could possibly choose to build a house - and it looks like he might just pull it off.

Stay tuned for more news as this project unfolds!    With the new Fifth Street Brewpub, and the Terry Street Park project both under construction, there is a lot of excitement in St. Anne's Hill again.    Come be a part of it!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Construction News

More good news for St. Anne's Hill this week!   The City of Dayton is investing thousands of dollars to replace the sewer lines on Henry Street.    This represents a significant infrastructure project for our community.   

Please note that portions of Henry Street will be closed at various times during the construction period.   The project is estimated to take 60 days or less.

We also appreciate that McLain Street was re-surfaced last year, and that Fifth Street is scheduled for a major repaving project in 2016.   These projects demonstrate how sustainable communities can be revitalized with new public investments at a fraction of the cost of new development.

Please stay tuned for more exciting news in St. Anne's Hill soon!