Greater Dayton


Paul Laurence Dunbar Paul Laurence Dunbar

Daytonians are proud of their history, and why shouldn’t they be? The city has been home to important events, world-renown inventors and influential artists. You can learn more about the region’s history from the historical sites included on this page, but here’s a quick primer to some of the region’s highlights.

– Corinne Minard

• In 1859, future president Abraham Lincoln made a speech at the Montgomery County Courthouse against the expansion of slavery.

• Paul Laurence Dunbar, whose parents were previously enslaved, was born in Dayton in 1872. A writer of poems, short stories and novels, he became one of the first African American writers to become internationally famous before his death in 1906 in Dayton.

• John Henry Patterson founded the National Cash Register Company in 1884. In 1906, the company debuted the first electric cash register.

• Orville and Wilbur Wright developed and built the world’s first successful motor-operated airplane in Dayton in the early 20th century.

• The Barn Gang—which included Charles F. Kettering, Henry M. Leland and Edward A. Deeds—invented the automobile electric starter and founded the Dayton Engineering Laboratories Company (DELCO).

• The Dayton Accords—a peace agreement between Bosnia and Herzegovina that ended the Bosnian War—were agreed upon at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in 1995.

Historical Sites

Carillon Historical Park: A museum complex that houses local artifacts, like the original 1905 Wright Flyer III, and a collection of historic buildings. 1000 Carillon Blvd., Dayton.

Dayton Arcade: Built between 1902 and 1904, the five interconnected buildings and the glass-domed rotunda are in the process of being renovated and reinvigorated. 15 W. Fourth St., Dayton.

Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historic Park: Home to several important Dayton sites, including the home of Paul Laurence Dunbar, Huffman Prairie Flying Field, the Wright Brothers Memorial and the Wright Cycle Shop. 16 S. Williams St., Dayton.

Hawthorn Hill: Home owned by Orville Wright and his family. Tours start at Carillon Historical Park.

SunWatch Indian Village/Archaeological Park: Reconstructed Native American structures and an interpretive center that explore the ancient history of the area. 2301 W. River Road, Dayton.