Bill Franz

Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park

Dayton is the proud home of the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park a “must-visit” attraction in Dayton.

Throughout the sites of the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park, you'll find an evolving story of two ingenious Dayton brothers---Wilbur and Orville Wright, inventors of manned powered flight-- and one America's greatest African-American poets, their childhood friend Paul Laurence Dunbar. But the stories don't begin and end with just these three amazing Dayton men. Their stories coalesce around the many people who supported and loved them and the places where the magic of these brilliant minds were showcased.

The Park consists of multiple sites.

The Wright-Dunbar Interpretive Center includes an information area, bookstore, theater, exhibit gallery and bicycle shop. The center’s exhibits focus on the Wright brothers’ early printing and bicycle businesses, their family history, and their association with schoolmate, poet and author, Paul Laurence Dunbar. At the turn of the century, the neighborhood now known as the Wright-Dunbar Village was a vibrant community. This is the neighborhood in which the Wright brothers lived and worked. This is the neighborhood in which they started their printing business, entered into the bicycle business and became involved with the mystery of flight. FREE

The Huffman Prairie Flying Field Interpretive Center

Exhibits here focus on the Wright brothers' development of the world's first practical airplane at Huffman Prairie in 1904 and 1905, their flying school starting in 1910, and the development and accomplishments of Dayton’s Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.  Explore the exhibits, small gift shop, theater or try your hand at the flight simulator.  From the Interpretive Center you can drive down to the actual Huffman Prairie Flying Field and stand on the sacred ground where “the Wrights really learned to fly!”  The flying field is a National Historic Landmark. FREE

Paul Laurence Dunbar House Historic Site

Paul Laurence Dunbar was the nation’s first recognized African-American poet and author, a classmate of Orville Wright’s and friend of the Wrights.  Paul Laurence Dunbar lived in this house in west Dayton with his mother, Matilda Dunbar, from 1904 until his death in 1906. The home includes many of his original furnishings, such as his original Remington typewriter and a bicycle given to him by the Wright brothers. This is the first house museum commemorating an African American and is a National Historic Landmark.  Free public tours of the house and attached museum including a movie and artifacts are led by interpretive guides. FREE

John W. Berry, Sr. Wright Brothers Aviation Center at Carillon Historical Park and the original 1905 Wright Flyer III — the only plane to earn the title of National Historic Landmark

The world's first practical airplane, built by the Wright brothers in 1905 and flown at Huffman Prairie Flying Field, is the centerpiece of the Wright Brothers Aviation Center at Dayton History's Carillon Historical Park.  Orville Wright designed and oversaw the exhibit installation.  The Center also includes a replica Wright Brothers bicycle shop, an original Wright brothers’ Van Cleve bicycle, the wind tunnel and tools the brothers built and utilized to research and invent successful manned flight, as well as an object theater, and various displays including the actual camera that took the iconic photograph capturing the first successful flight over Kitty Hawk.

Hawthorn Hill

In 1914, Orville Wright, Katharine Wright, Milton Wright, and servants Charles and Carrie Kayler Grumbach moved into this large Georgian revival style mansion in Oakwood the first suburb south of Dayton.  Unfortunately, Wilbur Wright passed away from Typhoid Fever prior to the completion of the mansion.  Orville lived at Hawthorn Hill until his death in 1948.  Tours to Hawthorn Hill depart from Carillon Historical Park. $


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