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Weeks after tragic fire, Dayton's historic Traxler mansion sells at auction

A historic brick and stone house is charred and heavily damaged from smoke. A yellow caution tape surrounds the house and the roof is gone.
Desmond Winton-Finklea
A fire caused heavy damage to the historic Traxler Mansion in north west Dayton on Sunday, April 23, 2023. Dayton firefighters fought the flames for nine hours and say the house is likely a total loss.

Weeks after the fire at the Traxler mansion in Dayton's northwest side, the historic building has been sold at a sheriff's auction. It’s the second tax foreclosure auction of the property, which has garnered significant attention from the community and preservation enthusiasts.

The building was constructed in 1911 for Louis & Adeline Traxler, President of the Traxler Department Store, who moved to the Dayton area from Austria in 1899.

It was identified as one of Ohio's Most Endangered Properties by Preservation Ohio in 2019 and 2022. On April 23, 2023 , the building was severely damaged by fire.

The Montgomery County Treasurer John McManus, said the most recent owners had a history of property tax delinquencies, which ultimately led to the foreclosure.
“This particular parcel did have a number of instances in terms of difficulties paying the outstanding tax obligations over the years,” McManus said.

Preservation Dayton said the organization is working on different preservation scenarios after the fire.

The first scenario would be to rebuild as close as possible the exterior of the historic property. Another scenario is stabilization for 2 to 4 years of the remaining walls and cleaning up the debris, to avoid further deterioration of the property.

The third option would be the careful salvage and demolition to use the salvage architectural unique architectural features in new construction.

“We don't have all the estimates in, but the rebuild estimate is upwards of $4 to $6 million,” said Monica Snow, president of Preservation Dayton. 

According to The Montgomery County Treasurer's Office, the purchaser has up to 30 days from the sale to pay the full amount of $41,000 thousand.

My hope is that they are prepared to take the steps necessary to renovate the property because the Dayton community just holds this property in such high regard,” McManus said.

The Dayton Fire Department is still conducting an arson investigation.

Ngozi Cole is the Business and Economics Reporter for WYSO. She graduated with honors from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism in New York and is a 2022 Pulitzer Center Post-Graduate Reporting Fellow. Ngozi is from Freetown, Sierra Leone.