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Orville's Lab

A commemorative façade marks the spot:

Just a few hundred feet from West Third Street, at 15 North Broadway in Dayton, stands a solitary brick façade of a building. Mounted on a nearby utility pole is a sign with the Aviation Trail logo and the inscription “Orville Wright’s Laboratory Site”. After brother Wilbur’s death in 1912, Orville had sold his interest in The Wright Company in 1915 to concentrate on his research. The façade is a re-creation representing the original Wright Aeronautical Building that Orville Wright had built for his research and consulting activities in 1916. The location is less than a block from the former site of the brothers’ Wright Cycle Shop where they designed and built the plane that made the first successful heavier than air powered flight. The one-story cement block, brick fronted building housed his office in the front, and a workshop in the back. The equipment included a wind tunnel now on display at NMUSAF.

Orville occupied the building until his death in 1948. Some of Orville Wright’s contributions to aviation during that time include:

• Consultant to the Dayton Wright Airplane Company, manufacturer of WWI airplanes.

• Worked on the propeller for “The Bug”, the first “guided missile”.

• Co-invented the split-wing flap to help prevent stalls

The original building was demolished in 1976 to make way for a gas station that was never built. But today, behind the brick façade, a statue of Orville still stands at his workbench, holding a large propeller.

The location is designated as Aviation Trail site #WA6 in Mary Ann Johnson’s 1996 book “A Field Guide to Flight on the Aviation Trail, Dayton, Ohio”.


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