January of 1985 saw sudden flooding of the club building from top to bottom. A bitter
cold snap broke a third floor water pipe, which flowed down through the floors, destroying
the club’s last pool table and much carpeting, peeling paint but miraculously missing
the south wing, library and wooden paneling in the Ivory Room. Fortunately the club
carried good insurance. The adjuster estimated $30,000 damage initially.
Other long-term problems would call for larger efforts. By 1996 the Foundation was
positioned to accept tax-deductible donations for the required renovation. This involved
revising the Foundation’s charter to allow for financial interaction with the club
property and still remain within IRS regulations for a non-profit. An earlier success
at the Masonic Temple pointed the way.
Soon a full $3.5 million building restoration was underway, a joint effort of Club’s
Board of Governors and the Foundation called Renaissance 96. Between this and a follow-on
Renaissance II program, the restoration/modernization touched all areas of structure
and grounds including structure integrity, assessing hazards like lead paint, a complete
electrical modernization, enhanced security, and making a conversion to internal
steam heat due to a DP&L phase-out downtown.
Another half million dollars are needed to complete restorations. The most pressing
concerns include replacing the roof, upgrading third floor electrical system, restoring
the Library and relocating staff offices to the east basement. Also planned are new
carpets and drapes, fixing the dining room window walls and doing a full stage upgrade
of the auditorium.
For renovation details see Jack Darst’s first-hand account: Facilities Changes over
In 2007 a team of club members, architects, librarians and national park rangers
applied to have the Engineers Club of Dayton building placed on the National Register
of Historic Places. On Oct 17, 2007 their work paid off. This recognition should
help publicize and protect the structure indefinitely. Their application makes for
Increase the club’s appeal to the next generation of professionals
Find new roles—serve retirees, go online, broaden appeal, etc
Preserve & share Dayton’s history of innovation
Help the greater Dayton community continue to thrive & reinvent itself