Demolition Process Begins on Ohio Codebreaker Building 26

Posted on: September 11th, 2007 by Margaret Foster

NCR Building 26The Ohio building that was the headquarters for codebreakers during World War II is coming down.

The University of Dayton is moving forward with its plans to redevelop the 11-acre riverfront site. Workers began removing crown moulding, limestone art deco details, and bricks from Building 26 last week; the university will donate them to Dayton History for a future exhibit in a nearby park. Building 26 will be gone by early 2008, according to university spokeswoman Teri Rizvi.

"When it became clear that the building was coming down, our board wanted to make sure that the story wasn't lost," said Brady Kress, CEO and president of Dayton History, in a statement. "We want people to understand, remember, and get excited about the kind of world-changing events that happened in Dayton, Ohio."

In 1943, National Cash Register Company engineers led by Joseph Desch invented the machine that broke the Enigma code.

The state office of historic preservation ruled in May that a steel facade added to the sandstone building made it ineligible for the National Register of Historic Places, paving the way for the university to move forward with demolition.

Because the National Cash Register Company's 50-acre parcel is considered a brownfield, a Clean Ohio Revitalization fund grant is funding the $2.5 million project.

According to a university-commissioned study by Martin-Beachler Architects, it would cost $3 million to demolish the three additions to Building 26 and restore its original art deco facade.

"I respect the passion of those who wanted to save the building," Daniel Curran, University of Dayton president, said in a statement. "I also appreciate the support of others who recognized that this building lost its historical integrity decades ago and know that as a tuition-driven university, UD cannot justify spending millions of dollars to save it."

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