In November, Dayton History announced a $500,000 gift from Dayton’s Brethen Foundation to build a tower home for the once familiar Gem City/Callahan clock that towered over motorists on Interstate 75 in previous decades.
The new tower will be “interactive and interpretive,” allowing visitors to climb the tower’s stairs to a viewing platform above Carillon Park, encountering educational panels describing the history of the clock and the surrounding landscape and transportation corridors, the organization added.
Part of that project was to involve a working railway station serving a real rail line across the 65-acre, triangular Carillon Park. The tower is expected to stand around 100 feet high.
Construction on the tower should start in the next four to six weeks, Kress said. There is no timeline yet for construction of the railway station, he said.
Kress described the station as “currently on the back burner until we are ready to move forward with the entire train layout portion of the master plan.”
Culp’s Café will be moved to the new Heritage Center and will include a large, early 20th century soda fountain as well as a restored 1904 Barney & Smith rail car. An outdoor dining plaza, new restrooms, and an expanded terrace open into a future event garden.
“We are thrilled to get this key piece of our master plan underway and are looking forward to working with Danis, who we feel offers the expertise and finesse for this type of historically detailed project,” Kress said.
John Danis, Danis Construction chairman and CEO, said company officials consider it an honor to be named construction manager for the Heritage Center project.
“Having been in this community for more than 100 years, Danis understands the importance of celebrating Dayton’s long innovative and creative history,” he said.
Construction of the Heritage Center is slated to start next month.
Long-term, this year’s projects represent about half of the $20 million in construction concepts Dayton History first unveiled in 2015.
One concept on the Dayton History drawing board has been a walkway physically connecting land-locked Carillon Park to the former Neil’s Heritage House restaurant nearby at South Dixie Drive and Schantz Avenue.
After Dayton History announced its purchase of the restaurant in August 2015, the organization said it planned to tidy up the exterior and take advantage of the 200-plus parking spots for special events at Carrillon.
Carillon Park features nearly 30 historical buildings and thousands of artifacts that tell the story of Dayton’s history from the late 1700s onward.