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A 1960-style glass and metal facade hides the remains of the original concrete building, used first as a school, then as a secret factory for the development and assembly of devices that cracked the enemy codes, leading to the end of World War II.

A 1960-style glass and metal facade hides the remains of the original concrete building, used first as a school, then as a secret factory for the development and assembly of devices that cracked the enemy codes, leading to the end of World War II.

An internationally significant Art Deco landmark building, the birthplace of a secret code-breaking project that helped allies during World War II, appears doomed, its original Deco architectral facade covered over, possibly destroyed by numerous expansion projects. NCR Building 26 in Dayton, Ohio, where 800 civilians and Navy personnel, including 600 U.S. Navy WAVES, designed and built cutting-edge machines to break the Nazi and Japanese code, can’t be restored to the way it was during the war, say representatives for both NCR Corp. (formerly the National Register Co.) and the University of Dayton, which recently purchased 49 acres of former NCR land that includes Building 26.

“A lot of people would like to see it stay, but cosmetically, no one wants to go to the expense and evidently it was never placed on the National Register of Historic Places and won’t be now that it has a modern façade,” said Jim DeBrosse, a writer for the Dayton Daily News who authored a book in 2004 and a series of newspaper articles on the significance of Building 26 in the defeat of the enemy in World War II.

The book, The Secret in Building 26, DeBrosse, Random House, N.Y., 2004, tells the story of the U.S. Navy and the manufacture of more than 100 giant code-breaking machines. The work which was done by the National Cash Register Corp., has been credited with bringing World War II to an end, but remained classified information and an untold story until recently.

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