Located in the South Park Historic District, at 1434-1446 Wayne Ave. Owned by Edward Mittman
Built by W.H.H. Ecki in 1929, the Ecki building is an expression of the Spanish Colonial revival applied to the “arcaded commercial block” popularized after California’s Pan-American exposition of 1915. Very little Spanish commercial architecture remains in Dayton, if indeed much was ever built. In addition, the Ecki building is South Park’s only surviving commercial block.
Throughout its history, the Ecki building has housed a kaleidoscope of independent small businesses. Its first occupants in 1930 were a beauty parlor, a dry-cleaners, a furniture store, a Kroger grocery, a dentist and a drugstore. The second floor was home to the Knights of St. John, a Catholic charitable organization. The second floor later hosted Camilla Schad, elocutionist, and the Julian Dancing Academy, before being rented as individual apartments.
In recent decades, urban decline has taken it’s toll on the Ecki building. As staple neighborhood businesses moved to suburban shopping centers, they were replaced by thrift shops, video arcades, and vacancies.
In 2002, despite inner-city development in the area surrounding the Ecki building, it sits vacant – a victim of fire and neglect. The building sits at a crossroads, philosophically as well as physically. Whatever fate, it will continue to reflect America’s attitude toward our urban landscape. The building may soon be demolished to become another statistic in bulldozing the past. Or it may be saved and refurbished, to carry on the revitalization of neighborhood small business in the inner city.