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Crisis & Renovation

By Mark Martel

English Room. View a photo gallery of the Engineers Club Through the Years>>




Facilities Changes over the Years (coming soon)

National Register Application Form PDF




External Links

The 1913 Dayton Flood

A Pictorial History of the Great Dayton Flood

Miami Conservancy District

Dayton History

Ohio History Central


A Costly Crisis

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.


Renaissance 96

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 the Years


Historic Recognition

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 compelling reading.


Future plans


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The Engineers Club of Dayton building was erected in order that “…not only this but future generations shall be uplifted and moved to greater endeavors.”

—Second floor tablet