Want to help the Dayton Arcade? Sponsor a turkey.

Dave Williams, senior development director with Cross Street Partners, examines the metal cornucopia in the center of the metal Dayton Arcade dome. The metal structure will be repainted, as will the 16 plaster turkeys around the dome. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF
Dave Williams, senior development director with Cross Street Partners, examines the metal cornucopia in the center of the metal Dayton Arcade dome. The metal structure will be repainted, as will the 16 plaster turkeys around the dome. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF

Like the Dayton Arcade itself, the 16 plaster turkeys that ring the complex’s iconic dome have seen better days.

Their colors have faded. Pieces of some of their wattles are gone. Their feathers are cracked and worn down.

That’s what happens after more than 115 years. Signs of old age are hard to miss.

But the turkeys look to have a bright future because, like the arcade, soon they should get some much-needed TLC.

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That will come from what might be a surprising source: The grandson of the artist who originally made the birds, as well as groups that want to sponsor a turkey.

The team redeveloping the arcade has talked about offering sponsors naming rights for individual birds, which need to be hand-cleaned and re-painted.

“The turkeys will be reinstated, for a lack of a better term,” said Dave Williams, senior development director with Cross Street Partners, the lead partner on the arcade’s redevelopment.

The inside of the rotunda is dark at the ground level because the skylights, high above, have been obscured by plywood.

Crews have installed a temporary wood deck near the top of the Dayton Arcade’s rotunda, giving workers a floor to stand on while ice-blasting the steel support structure to remove the old paint and paint scrapings.

The steel will be painted glossy black. The silver aluminum frame also might be painted the same color.

Perched on the ledges around the dome are 16 plaster turkeys that have been in the arcade since its opening in the early 1900s.

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The arcade began as a marketplace and food court. The plaster turkeys and a metal cornucopia at the center of the dome celebrated those uses.

The turkeys were fabricated by Byron Landsiedel, a local glass and ceramic artist.

Landsiedel moved to Dayton from Cincinnati, where he played violin in the Cincinnati symphony.

Aside from his art, Landsiedel also sewed custom shoes on Main Street for people with foot issues.

Bryon Landsiedel died of strep throat in the 1930s, leaving behind three kids.

Landsiedel’s grandson, John Landsiedel, has been recruited to help bring the turkeys back to life.

Landsiedel, 68, is a well-known local artist who works in all sorts of art mediums.

He works out of a barn in the Dayton View neighborhood, where he makes art that have elements of materials he’s found in streets and Dumpsters across the city.

“You name it, I do it,” John Landsiedel said. “You give me something, I’ll make something out of it.”

John Landsiedel’s grandfather died before he was born.

But he remembers visiting the arcade when he was younger and learning about his grandfather’s contribution to one of Dayton’s most famous and treasured properties. His father, Howard, also was an artist, who worked with wood.

John Landsiedel this week climbed the towering scaffolding to examine the condition of the turkeys.

“It’s kind of a Michelangelo moment up on those scaffolding,” he said.

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John Landsiedel will repaint the birds — but he won’t do it alone. Cross Street Partners wants sponsors to help fund and support the work.

Historic restoration is pricey, and this is a great opportunity to get the community involved in the arcade project, said Williams, with Cross Street Partners.

Crews also plan to repaint the cornucopia and remove a metal umbrella that hangs from it. The umbrella, which was installed around the 1920s, will be moved to elsewhere in the arcade complex.