Dayton History

Dayton History brings the past to life to understand the present and inspire the future by collecting, preserving, interpreting, presenting and promoting the Dayton region’s past. Visitors can enjoy heritage of Dayton at Carillon Historical Park, the Archive Center, Hawthorn Hill and Patterson Homestead. In addition, it operates Old River Park, a family oriented recreational facility that provides a number of outdoor activities including games, a miniature golf course and boating in a 1.5 mile lagoon.

Carillon Historical Park engages you to sample Dayton’s rich heritage of creativity and invention. Founded by Colonel Edward and Edith Deeds, the Park is situated on a beautiful 65-acre campus between the Great Miami River and a glacial moraine. The Park immerses you in the region’s history—from Dayton’s founding in 1796 through two centuries of expansion, industrialism and innovation. Learn about these revolutionary achievements while strolling through the Park’s 25 historical buildings and interacting with the hundreds of artifacts in our exhibits. One of the featured exhibits is the original 1905 Wright Flyer III, the world’s first practical airplane and a National Historical Landmark. The Park is also home to the Deeds Carillon, one of Dayton’s best-known landmarks, and the largest carillon in Ohio.

Dayton History is also the gateway to Hawthorn Hill, the Oakwood mansion that Orville Wright called home for nearly 35 years. Tours depart from Carillon Historical Park on Wednesday and Saturday but visitors must make arrangements through Carillon Park in advance of your visit. The building itself has had a long and colorful history of hosting distinguished visitors. Charles A. Lindbergh, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and many others were guests of Orville Wright at Hawthorn Hill.

Patterson Homestead is an historic house museum operated by Dayton History, that provides a glimpse into the multi-generational lives of Dayton’s influential Patterson family, who lived on the site from 1804 to 1904. The Federal style house, which was constructed in three major components between 1810 and 1850, was originally the home of Revolutionary War veteran Colonel Robert Patterson and his wife, Elizabeth Lindsay Patterson. The house was presented to the community in 1953, fully furnished with 18th and 19th century antiques along with several original family pieces.

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