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!