St. Clair Lofts, built in 1898 by a Dayton entrepreneur, Frederick Phillip Beaver. At the time, spec loft industrial spaces were called “Power Buildings,” as they had their own power supply. Our five-story industrial building provided factory and shop space for a variety of small manufacturing needs.
St. Clair Lofts is an early example of a reinforced concrete building. The overall architectural character of the building has remained relatively intact over the years. Our biggest historical significance is that we were the first home of Charles Kettering’s and Edward A. Deeds’ Dayton Engineering Laboratory Company (DELCO), Dayton’s first and largest auto-related company. In 1911, Charles Kettering and Edward Deeds signed a contract with Henry Leland of Cadillac Motor Car Company to provide 12,000 electric-starting systems for installation on the 1912 Cadillac. After experiencing quality control problems with subcontractors, the two partners decided to establish their own manufacturing and assembly facility. Therefore, in the spring of 1911, they rented the 4th floor of our building to manufacture their own electric self-starters. The tremendous success of Delco forced Kettering and Deeds to seek additional factory space.
St. Clair Lofts, located on St. Clair Street, in Dayton which was named after General Arthur St. Clair, a Revolutionary War Commander from the early 1700s, based out of Fort Washington in Cincinnati, OH. Another interesting fact, Orville and Wilbur Wright, before building airplanes, they built bicycles. In 1895, they introduced the “Van Cleve” bicycle that was named after Dayton’s first settlers and were ancestors of the Wrights. The second, less expensive bicycle model, the “St. Clair” was named after General Arthur St. Clair, who was the first president of the Northwest Territory, which later became Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois.
In December 2010, St. Clair Lofts was purchased by Philadelphia-based Lindy Property Management Company. The new owners have since then redesigned St. Clair Lofts. The building has new galvanized awnings surrounding the exterior of the building, a signature St. Clair Lofts corner sign with LED lighting and gears, new retail spaces, newly designed courtyard, community room and fitness center. New exterior and interior painting, new carpet, new office, and newly renovated loft style apartments are among some of the many improvements.