Stop 5: The 1926 Dade City Hall
Next is the spectacular 2016 City of Dade City Building (previous location of 1925 George C. Dayton building).
We have now arrived at a piece of modern history, the new city hall and police station of Dade City, designed by Wannemacher and Jensen Architects and constructed by Ajax Building Company in 2016–a stunning complex! The design echoes Dade City’s historic main street while housing police and administration. As you gaze at the brick complex, let’s reflect upon the original building, The George C. Dayton Building held this space for close to 100 years, and it weaves an interesting story of local history.
As part of the real estate boom with unprecedented population growth and building, the original 1925 plan was to create a spectacular six-story hotel with a façade of masonry and limestone. The local news coverage reported weekly the monetary value of building and growth, and was clearly languishing in a time of great prosperity.
The collapse of the Florida Boom however, abruptly halted the unprecedented population and economic growth and brought the hotel endeavor to an abrupt screeching pause.
Transformed into a municipal building, after the city acquired it because of years of delinquent taxes owed, the building was depicted in many historical photos. Dealing with the economic crises in the Great Depression, there were delays but it was completed in the 1930s, with funding from Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal project known as the Works Progress Administration, WPA. A World War II look-out tower was positioned on top of the building in the heat of the war, and volunteer citizens manned the tower as a safety measure during the ardor of concern regarding the intensity of the war. The structure served as a city hall for many decades until 2013.
The long tenured city attorney George C. Dayton said that the old city hall was the best place to shelter with an approaching hurricane because it was physically the strongest building in the county as it was tested by a certified laboratory.
The city honored Dayton for his years of service by naming the building for him in 1987.