National Park Service Photo of the Paul Laurence Dunbar house

Paul Laurence Dunbar House free to public

In Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park, NAHA News /

DAYTON, Ohio—The home of African American poet Paul Laurence Dunbar will be open to the public at no charge beginning Friday, April 17, according to a National Park Service announcement.

National Park Service rangers will lead tours of the historic house Fridays through Sundays between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., with last call for tours at 3:30 p.m.

Visitors may go directly to the house at 219 North Paul Laurence Dunbar St. and enter via the attached visitor center.

The Paul Laurence Dunbar House is a unit of the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park, but the Ohio History Connection  (formerly the Ohio Historical Society) owns the property, and Dayton History manages it under an agreement with OHC.

Previously, the house was only accessible in group tours that Dayton History operated from Carillon Historical Park, and an admission fee was charged.

Dunbar (1872-1906) published 24 books of poems and prose. Drawing on his own observations of society—and the stories of his parents who had been slaves—Dunbar gave voice to the social dilemma of disenfranchised people and addressed issues of equality and justice. He counted among his friends Frederick Douglass, Booker T. Washington, and Orville and Wilbur Wright.

Dunbar was diagnosed with tuberculosis in 1899. In 1902, he came to this home to be with his mother Matilda, where he died in 1906. The restored Italianate home contains many of Dunbar’s personal items.

For more information about visiting the house, call the national park at (937) 224-7061.