Located in the heart of downtown Dayton, between Third, Fourth, Ludlow and Main Streets. Owned by Brownfield Charities Inc.
The Historic Arcade is a historical, architecturally elegant complex located in the heart of Dayton’s central business district. Build in 1902, it was conceived by Eugene J. Barney of the Barney & Smith Car Company and consists of five interconnecting buildings topped by a glass-domed rotunda, 70 feet high and 90 feet in diameter, below which two balconied upper floors circle the central enclave. As President of the Arcade Company, Barney made sure the Arcade had the latest innovations, including elevators, a power plant and a cold storage plant. The architect was Frank Andrews, known also as architect for NCR’s factory buildings and the American Building at Third and Main in Dayton.
The most notable building, which fronts on Third Street, is of Flemish design and is said to be patterned after a guild hall in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. The Fourth Street and Ludlow Street facades are done in Italian Renaissance Revival. The most interesting architectural feature is the great dome. The classic detailing usually found in such rotundas was replaced by detailing representative of Ohio. The cornucopias are filled with fruits and vegetables from Ohio. There are festoons of oak leaves with acorns, ram heads and garlands of grain. At each framing member of the dome are colorful turkeys.
Originally, the main spaces were used as a major farmers’ market with housing located on the upper floors. Through the first four decades of this century, this super supermarket was one of downtown’s prime attractions. Here was where one went for the unusual in fruits and vegetables, seafood, baked goods, food specialties, meats and meat specialties, fresh-cut flowers and assorted luxury items available in or out of season.
In the late 70s, investors began planning and implementing a major restoration of the Arcade. In May 1980, the newly refurbished Arcade was reopened as a retail shopping center, but success eluded the Arcade and the Arcade was closed in 1990. Although currently mothballed, several plans are in the works by preservation minded organizations to reopen the Arcade and its adjacent upper levels.