Building in Dayton where Nazi military codes were broken to be demolished

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Efforts by preservationists and history enthusiasts to save an Art Deco building in Dayton where a secret program broke Nazi codes have failed to stop plans to relocate some architectural flourishes and raze the rest.

Contractors are scheduled to begin removing the building’s crown molding, limestone window sills, stone lintels and bricks on Monday. What is left will be demolished next year to make way for a 50-acre redevelopment on land bought in 2005 by the University of Dayton.

University officials ruled that a steel skin that was wrapped around the original 1938 brick and sandstone structure has stripped it of its historic value and made it too expensive to renovate. A study conducted by the Ohio Historic Preservation Office did not find the building to be eligible for the National Registry of Historic Places.

All sides agree that what occurred inside the building was groundbreaking. In 1942, the National Cash Register Company, working with naval engineers, began work on an advanced version of Polish and British code-breaking machines that unscrambled the German Enigma codes but that became obsolete after German technological advances.

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