The end is near for Wright brothers’ first bicycle shop location

A drone photo of the Gem City Ice Cream Co. building on West Third Street. CONTRIBUTED

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A drone photo of the Gem City Ice Cream Co. building on West Third Street. CONTRIBUTED

The city of Dayton has approved an agreement with a local company to knock down the old and deteriorating Gem City Ice Cream building in the Wright Dunbar business district.

Charles F. Jergens Construction Inc. will be paid about $158,630 to demolish the vacant building at 1005 W. Third St., but the company also will salvage and preserve some historic pieces of the property that the city hopes will be incorporated into a future redevelopment project, according to city documents.

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Historical and modern photographs of the Gem City Ice Cream Co. building. CONTRIBUTED

Historical and modern photographs of the Gem City Ice Cream Co. building. CONTRIBUTED

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Historical and modern photographs of the Gem City Ice Cream Co. building. CONTRIBUTED

Last year, the city received permission from the Board of Zoning Appeals to raze the former ice cream company structure.

Some local community members and historic preservation groups urged the city to try to save the building’s front façade, hoping it could be a key part of a new development project at the site.

But city officials and some neighbors said the building urgently needs to be torn down because it could collapse at any time, which could cause significant harm and property damage.

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In this undated photo, a sign notes the site of the Wright brothers' bike shop outside the former Gem City Ice Cream building in Dayton, Ohio. The city of Dayton plans to demolish the 129-year-old historic building that once was the site of the Wright brothers’ first bike shop because the building has deteriorated and is unable to be maintained and redeveloped. The shop was first built in 1892 to serve as the Wright brothers' first bike shop. Soon thereafter, Gem City Ice Cream Co. bought the property and housed it until 1975 until was sold to another company, the Dayton Daily News reported. (Ty Greenlees/Dayton Daily News via AP, File)

Credit: Ty Greenlees

In this undated photo, a sign notes the site of the Wright brothers' bike shop outside the former Gem City Ice Cream building in Dayton, Ohio. The city of Dayton plans to demolish the 129-year-old historic building that once was the site of the Wright brothers’ first bike shop because the building has deteriorated and is unable to be maintained and redeveloped. The shop was first built in 1892 to serve as the Wright brothers' first bike shop. Soon thereafter, Gem City Ice Cream Co. bought the property and housed it until 1975 until was sold to another company, the Dayton Daily News reported. (Ty Greenlees/Dayton Daily News via AP, File)

Credit: Ty Greenlees

Combined ShapeCaption
In this undated photo, a sign notes the site of the Wright brothers' bike shop outside the former Gem City Ice Cream building in Dayton, Ohio. The city of Dayton plans to demolish the 129-year-old historic building that once was the site of the Wright brothers’ first bike shop because the building has deteriorated and is unable to be maintained and redeveloped. The shop was first built in 1892 to serve as the Wright brothers' first bike shop. Soon thereafter, Gem City Ice Cream Co. bought the property and housed it until 1975 until was sold to another company, the Dayton Daily News reported. (Ty Greenlees/Dayton Daily News via AP, File)

Credit: Ty Greenlees

Credit: Ty Greenlees

The property was briefly home to the Wright brothers’ first bicycle shop. There has been debate in recent years about how much, if any, of the original structure remains today. City officials said years ago that the building was reviewed for inclusion on the National Register, but there wasn’t enough “historic integrity” to get it designated as a Wright site.

The city says it evaluated all redevelopment options for the property, which included possible restoration, but demolition was the only viable choice.

The city says once the building is demolished, the site will be prepared for future development.

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The Gem City Ice Cream Co. building, the site of the Wright brothers' first bike shop, at 1005 W. Third St. The city of Dayton wants to demolish the property, which officials say is a nuisance. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF

The Gem City Ice Cream Co. building, the site of the Wright brothers' first bike shop, at 1005 W. Third St. The city of Dayton wants to demolish the property, which officials say is a nuisance. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF

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The Gem City Ice Cream Co. building, the site of the Wright brothers' first bike shop, at 1005 W. Third St. The city of Dayton wants to demolish the property, which officials say is a nuisance. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF

The contract with Jergens Construction says that salvaged historical materials will be transported to a property the city owns to be put into storage.

This is expected to include decorative panels on the front wall that read Gem City Ice Cream Co. and a tile mosaic on the floor in the doorway alcove that also says the company’s name.

Jergens also is supposed to preserve 500 bricks from the southeast portion of the building.

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A map showing the Gem City Ice Cream building in Wright Dunbar. CONTRIBUTED

A map showing the Gem City Ice Cream building in Wright Dunbar. CONTRIBUTED

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A map showing the Gem City Ice Cream building in Wright Dunbar. CONTRIBUTED

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