A sculpture of the 1905 Wright Flyer III has made its final descent in the Wright Dunbar Historic District. The Flyer spent two years in storage at Montgomery County’s Solid Waste District in Moraine, but its new home is at the corner of Edwin C. Moses and West Third Street.
“This is the neighborhood where Wilbur and Orville Wright designed the world’s first powered airplane,” said Montgomery County Administrator Michael Colbert.” “It’s also where African American poet Paul Laurence Dunbar wrote his celebrated poetry. It is on the National Register of Historic Places, and it is home to the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park, National Aviation Heritage Alliance and the Dayton Region’s Walk of Fame.”
Commission President Debbie Lieberman said it took teamwork to put the Flyer into place.
“We owned a parcel of land here but needed three parcels to make this area as we envisioned,” Lieberman said. “The adjacent parcels of land had two owners more than willing to work with us. The City of Dayton and the Wright Dunbar Inc. were there, not just with land, but with much needed buy-in and support for this project, she said.”
The new Third Street Bridge, or Peace Bridge, completed in 2021, provides the gateway into west Dayton, and includes images of both Paul Laurence Dunbar and the Wright Brothers.
“Locating this sculpture near the bridge is an extension of that Montgomery County story,” said County Commissioner Judy Dodge, “and it really calls greater attention to the historic neighborhood that all three gentlemen actually called home.”
Commissioner Carolyn Rice agreed, saying the National Park Services has declared the City of Dayton and Montgomery County as an American World War II Heritage City. There is only one location allowed per state.
Rice said, “This sculpture is a great way of celebrating the innovation of the Wright Brothers, the service and sacrifice of the Airmen and Civilians at Wright Patterson Air Force base, the creativity of one of our nation’s first influential Black Poets in American History, Paul Laurence Dunbar, who incidentally was also a former classmate of Orville Wright and all the citizens who make this a thriving region.”