Find Aviation History in Dayton’s National Park
By Damaine Vonada

Find Aviation History in Dayton’s National Park

When you’re at Hawthorn Hill, you’ll be in the company of giants. Aviation giants, that is. Hawthorn Hill was the home of Dayton’s Orville Wright, who, with his brother, Wilbur, invented the airplane in 1903.  Their Wright Flyer changed the world, made Ohio the Birthplace of Aviation, and launched the Dayton area’s legacy of aviation leadership. 

Dayton Aviation History: Hawthorn Hill House


Credit: Damaine Vonada

Credit: NPS Photo / Tom Engberg


A lovely Greek Revival mansion, Hawthorn Hill is one of five sites that comprise the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historic Park.  This unique park salutes three famous Daytonians – Orville and Wilbur Wright and Paul Laurence Dunbar, a gifted African-American poet and friend of the Wrights – and tells their remarkable stories through authentic artifacts, enlightening exhibits, and activities that range from guided tours to “flying” a Wright Brothers aeroplane. 

Dayton Aviation History: Visit the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park


Credit: NPS Photo / Tom Engberg

Credit: Courtesy of the Wright Brothers & Library of Congress

Credit: NPS Photo / Tom Engberg


Because of the park’s multiple locations, plan on at least half a day to enjoy them all:


  1. The Wright Cycle Company Complex: Preserves the bicycle shop where Orville and Wilbur Wright began unravelling the age-old puzzle of controlled, powered flight.
  2. Paul Laurence Dunbar House: Where the black “poet laureate” lived.Among its many displays are Dunbar’s typewriter and a ceremonial sword presented by President Theodore Roosevelt.
  3. Carillon Historical Park, whose stellar exhibits include the world’s first practical airplane, the 1905 Wright Flyer III.
  4. Huffman Prairie Flying Field Interpretive Center: Highlights the Wrights’ achievements at nearby Huffman Prairie, the cow pasture where they taught themselves to fly.                          
  5. Hawthorn Hill: Where Orville Wright welcomed Charles Lindbergh after his trans-Atlantic flight in 1927.Image Orville and “Lucky Lindy” standing on the front balcony and waving to an unexpected crowd demanding a glimpse of the new American hero . . . and the venerable inventor who made Lindbergh’s feat possible.

Tip:  for more information, visit or telephone 937-225-7705.



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