Ohio has always been recognized as the birthplace of aviation, all thanks to a pair of world-renowned brothers, Wilbur and Orville Wright. As the state has fought to preserve this recognition, the Ohio House has worked in collaboration with the National Aviation Heritage Alliance (NAHA) and the National Park Service to ensure that the Wright brothers’ legacy endures.
That’s why I was proud to announce last week that a capital appropriation of $1 million will be utilized to save the Wright brothers’ factory for a national park site. The factory is located on the former Delphi Home Avenue plant in Dayton, Ohio, consisting of two buildings that were completed in 1910 and 1911. This is the site where Wilbur and Orville built their first experimental airplanes, which they developed in the back of their bicycle shop.
With the passage of Substitute House Bill 390 by the legislature this spring, a portion of state funds will go towards the conservation and maintenance of the buildings located on this site, pending the Governor’s signature. While the buildings are closed to the public now, the goal of the NAHA is to restore them and open them to the public as a part of the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park.
The addition of the Wright brothers’ factory to the park will not only be valued and historical, making it more well-rounded and comprehensive, but it also has the potential to increase tourism at the national park, bringing in history buffs and lovers of aviation from all over the country. Ohio is home to many tourism sites, and the Wright brothers’ factory can become one of them, adding an economic benefit to the region.
Preserving and appreciating all facets of our state’s history is an important component of preparing for a prosperous future. You must know where you have been to know where you are going. Ohio has a rich aviation history, one that has forever impacted the United States and world as a whole. The Wright brothers’ legacy deserves to be forever upheld as a symbol of Ohio’s contribution to the aerospace industry.
By providing these funds to renovate the historic factory as a national park site, their work can be rightfully commemorated. As a lover of history, Ohio, and all things aviation, I am excited to see this project funded and look forward to witnessing the impact it will make on the Dayton community and this state.
Cliff Rosenberger is the Ohio House Speaker.