Committee approves attempt to demolish first Wright Brothers bike shop

Committee approves attempt to demolish first Wright Brothers bike shop

Dayton, Ohio The Dayton District Court of Appeals approved the city’s request to demolish the 129-year-old building that was once the site of the Wright brothers’ first bike shop.

The Dayton Daily News reports that the city wants to demolish the site because the building has deteriorated to the point where it can no longer be maintained and redeveloped. Public safety concerns have also been raised by some who fear the building will collapse.

While the Dayton Landmarks Commission approved the demolition of most of the building, it rejected the demolition request in September. Instead, the commission recommended that the city re-advertise the property and encourage its renovation in a way that preserves the historic facade.

Conservation groups also opposed the city plan. They argued that preserving the building’s facade and incorporating it into a redevelopment would make the project eligible for historic tax credits.


The city appealed the landmarks commission’s decision to the zoning appeals committee, claiming that it erred in applying architectural design standards. The council voted 5 to 1 this week to overturn the committee’s decision and give the city permission to demolish the property.

The shop was first built in 1892 as the first bicycle shop of the Wright brothers. Shortly thereafter, Gem City Ice Cream Co. purchased the property and housed it until 1975 until it was sold to another company.

After years of a wide range of landlords, the city attempted to sell the dilapidated property to developers but failed its inspection tests. The building was deemed structurally damaged and in danger of collapsing.

City officials have also previously attempted to obtain approval for property demolitions but did not act after hearing community concerns.


The White brothers, Wilbur and his younger brother Orville, were pioneers of aviation and are generally credited with building the first aircraft. They got their start on board several years after they built the store that wouldn’t be destroyed.

The brothers made their initial powered flight with the Wright Flyer in December 1903 in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, then returned home to Dayton to solve problems. A monument stands in the Huffman Prairie, where they made flights in 1904-05 and really learned to control the plane.

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