Sunday, May 18, 2008

Dayton View as Lost Cause.

You really realize what a tragedy Dayton is after checking out Dayton View.

Most cities have a surviving Victorian or early 20th century mansion district. Examples in the region are Old Louisville and Broad (or is it High) Street in Columbus, between downtown and Bexley. Or certain parts of Cincinnati.

Dayton lost its premier mansion districts to urban renewal, downtown expansion, and so forth, so very little survives.

What does survive is Dayton View, and it is the historic district that makes one consider how what a lost cause this city is.

Here is an example of a Dayton View mansion of the old grand manner. It looks like its being restored. And you'd have to wonder why anyone would bother.



Will anyone make any money on this place, or even break even, if one should decide to sell? Who would even consider buying a house like this in the middle of a drug-infested ghetto (with dealing going on in broad daylight on a corner half a block away)?

And, whats’ more, why isn’t anything being done to clean up the neighborhood and why are there are not more restorations going on in the neighborhood?

Then there is this restored apartment building across the street, probably from the 1920s, as an example of what could be...

Yet around the corner is this ruin. Maybe a more realistic fate for the multifamily things left in the neighborhood...
And finally, the ubiquitous bulldozed block, leaving a nice open space where a ruined house once stood (who knows or even remembers what was here?)


Will this be the fate of more old mansions in Dayton View?

On one hand I really have a lot of respect for the people working on restoration/rehab in this neighborhood as they are working on the best, most distinctive houses in the city, but in the least-likely-to-suceed historic district, so they are doing this not becuase its hip or trendy but becuase they probably have a genuine appreciation of the architecture and the neighborhood.

On the other hand buying and restoring here seems quixotic given the declining condition of the city and the trend to Downtown, South Park and Fairgrounds as the hot new in-town areas.

Dayton View just seems like such a lost cause.

2 comments:

Matt said...

But the Northwest Priority Board has the highest satisfaction rate in the city! Truly a collection of sleeper neighborhoods and completely unworthy of your early obituary. South Park might have the bloggers pumping up your perception of that neighborhood, but you've got photographic evidence here that things are bubbling north of the river, too.

Also, you talk about Dayton View as if it's one place, but there're a number of neighborhoods that vie for that title. Old or Lower Dayton View is what you've photographed, but the Golden or Dayton View Triangle up around the old seminary is much more solid, with fewer of the vacancies (and multifamily properties) that are in Lower DV or in Santa Clara and Five Oaks to the east.

I admire your analyses and insights, but some posts strike me as entirely counterproductive.

Hilary said...

University Row is in Dayton view, and has beautifully maintained and rennovated homes. I certainly wouldn't label it as a lost cause. I don't mean to sugar coat it; Dayton View has a lot of problems. There is progress, however, and there are some parts of the neighborhood that are extremely vibrant.