The Story of Brethen Tower & The Callahan Building Clock
The Callahan Building Clock above you has been a Dayton landmark since 1921. Generations of Daytonians used it to check the time of day and set their watches. They knew where to go when asked to meet "under the clock.” That it still exists today demonstrates the love Dayton has for this iconic timepiece.
Dayton manufacturer and banker, William P. Callahan, built Dayton's first skyscraper in 1892 at the corner of Main and Third Streets, across from the 1850 Old Court House. At nine stories tall it was considered to be Dayton's finest and most modern building. Even before the foundation was laid, Dayton citizens wanted a town clock on the building. Callahan added one a few years later.
But in 1919, plans to enlarge the building to 12 floors did not include the original clock. The public opposition was so great that a Callahan Building tenant, City National Bank, offered to pay for and operate a new illuminated clock. The new clock, above you, officially began to keep time on March 30, 1921.
When City National Bank left the Callahan Building in 1930 they ceased operating the clock. Dayton Power
The Callahan Building with the first clock, ca. 1910.
Two workmen putting the finishing touches on the new clock, ca. 1921. Each company that operated the clock put their name on it as a.way of advertising their business. City National Bank operated the clock from 1921-1930, State Federal Savings from 1938-1950, and Gem City Savings from 1955-1978.
The Callahan Building, 1930. The 1921 addition is the lighter part of the building on top of the 1892 building.
The Callahan Building, 1946. The name on the clock was changed to "State Federal Savings" after the bank agreed to operate and maintain it.
State Federal Savings moved out of the Callahan Building in 1950. The building owner took up the operation of the clock until 1955 when the Gem City Savings Association bought the building. The Callahan Building was renamed the Gem City Savings Building and the clock was overhauled. It received new clockworks, new faces, and the red tile roof was replaced with a copper roof.
In 1977, Gem City Savings decided to tear down
There it remained until 2006 when the Reynolds & Reynolds building was slated for demolition. It was at that moment that Reynolds & Reynolds, Dayton History, and the City of Dayton collaborated to save the clock and give it a new home at Carillon Historical Park.
Inspired, by Dayton History's master plan to return the Callahan Building Clock to the Dayton skyline, the Brethen Foundation stepped forward in 2017 as the champion of the project. The Brethen Tower, on which the clock e now resides, was realized through their generous financial support.
The Gem City Savings Building, 1958. The name on the clock was changed once again to "Gem City Savings" in 1955.
The Gem City Savings Building clock after its removal, 1978.
The Callahan Building Clock on the Reynolds & Reynolds Company headquarters as seen from l-75 (foreground), 1985. The company put "Since 1866” on the clock in reference to the year of its founding in Dayton."
The Callahan Building Clock being moved to its
Robert Brethen (at center with white collar and glasses)
and his family in front of the Callahan Building Clock at
Carillon Historical Park, 2018. The clock was displayed
at ground level from 2006 to 2018.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Notable Buildings. A significant historical date for this entry is March 30, 1921.
Location. 39° 43.734′ N, 84° 12.282′ W. Marker is in Dayton, Ohio, in Montgomery County. Marker is on Carillon Boulevard 0.3 miles west of South Patterson Boulevard, on the left when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1 Carillon Blvd, Dayton OH 45409, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Morrison Iron Bridge (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); James F. Dickie Family Transportation Center (about 500 feet away); Canal Superintendent's Office (about 500 feet away); Miami and Erie Canal Lock No. 17 (about 600 feet away); Dayton Cyclery (about 600 feet away); Smith Covered Bridge (about 700 feet away); Bowling Green Depot (about 700 feet away); The Great 1913 Flood Exhibit Building (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Dayton.
Credits. This page was last revised on May 25, 2021. It was originally submitted on May 23, 2021, by TeamOHE of Wauseon, Ohio. This page has been viewed 34 times since then. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on May 23, 2021, by TeamOHE of Wauseon, Ohio. • Devry Becker Jones was the editor who published this page.