DAYTON (OHI) — The Dayton Board of Zoning Appeals approved the request by the city to demolish a 129 year-old historical building that was once the home of the Wright Brothers’ first bicycle shop.
According to the Dayton Daily News, the city is looking to demolish the site as the building has become too dangerous to be maintained or redeveloped. Some fear that the building might collapse, raising safety concerns.
Although the majority of the building should be destroyed, the Dayton Landmarks Commission denied the request for demolition in September. Instead, the panel recommended that the city re-advertise and encourage its renovation to preserve the historic facade.
Preservation groups also opposed the city plan. They claimed that the city’s plan would be eligible for historic tax credits if the facade of the building is kept intact and it was incorporated into a redevelopment program.
The landmarks commission’s decision was appealed to the zoning appeals boards. They claimed that the city had erred in applying architectural design standards. This week, the board voted 5-1 to reverse the decision of the commission and granted permission for the city to raze this property.
It was built as the first bicycle shop by the Wright brothers in 1892. Gem City Ice Cream Co. purchased the property shortly thereafter and remained there until 1975, when it was sold to another business.
After many owners, the city tried to sell the abandoned property to developers for years but failed inspection tests. The structure of the building was found to be in danger of falling.
Officials from the city had previously tried to get approval to bulldoze this property, but were unable to do so after listening to community concerns.
Wilbur Wright and Orville Wright, the younger brother, were aviation pioneers who are often credited with creating the first plane. After they had built the shop that would be demolished, they began work on flight.
In December 1903, the Wright Flyer was launched at Kitty Hawk in North Carolina. The Wright brothers returned to Dayton to fix the bugs. Huffman Prairie is where the brothers made their first powered flight in December 1903. There they also learned how to control the plane.