Paul Laurence Dunbar House Historic Site

Photo By Chris Light at English Wikipedia

219 N Paul Laurence Dunbar St,Dayton, OH 45402


Some places in Ohio are run by local history groups. Some places in Ohio are important enough for the Ohio History Connection to get involved. A select number of places in Ohio have even gotten the National Parks service to recognize them. One place in Ohio is run by the local, state, and national historical systems, The Paul Laurence Dunbar House Historic Site.

Paul Laurence Dunbar was an African American poet at the turn of the 20th century. He wrote in both dialect and standard English. Dunbar became famous as a poet after self-publishing Oak and Ivy, his first book, in 1892. After the popularity of the book he began to tour around the state, then then the nation, and finally England.  At the height of his career in 1902 Dunbar bought a house in Dayton for his mother. After he started to suffer medical issues he moved in to the house with his her. On February 9, 1906 in this house he died of tuberculosis.

The House was bought by the state in 1936 and turned into the first state memorial to an African American. It was later in the century that people started to notice his works effect on the larger literary world. Maya Angelou even named her first book after a line in his poem “Sympathy.” In 1962 the house became a National Historic Landmark. 30 years later it was incorporated in to larger Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park when the park was created.

The Paul Laurence Dunbar House Historic Site is a small location with just the house and accompanying visitor center. The center contains a short film on the life of Dunbar, a few of his artifacts, and information about the history of the house. The House itself is a small 2 story building common of the area. Together the entire site can be visited in 1.5 hours.

While that may seem too small for a journey to the area, the House is only 1/2 mile from the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park’s Wright-Dunbar Interpretive Center. The center contains more information on the life of the printers of Dunbar’s first Newspaper, Orville and Wilbur Wright. One could easily spend an entire morning visiting both the Paul Laurence Dunbar House and Wright-Dunbar Interpretive Center, grab lunch at one of the areas great restaurants, and spend the heat of the afternoon walking around Woodland Cemetery where both the Wright Brothers and Paul Laurence Dunbar are buried. With the Carillon Historical Park, National Museum of United States Air Force, and the rest of the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park one could make a long weekend in Dayton. Even being rewarded if they go to enough places.

The National Museum of the United States Air Force

1100 Spaatz St,
Dayton, OH 45431


Quick Review: A must stop if in Dayton. Free to the public and worth the time to drive there.

The Air Force Museum is one of the best museums in the nation. It has the world largest collection of American Air Force airplanes. Not just pictures and artifacts, but full sized planes. When documentaries talk about the history of flight it is often hard to put everything into scale. This museum helps. The ability of to see everything from the 1911 Wright flyer to the modern B2 is amazing.

As has been said, museums cannot just be houses of artifacts but must help to teach in some way. This one does. With videos, pictures, planes and memorabilia one feels as if they are walking through history itself. If you want an even more in-depth experience take a guided tour. The staff (many volunteer retired Air Force Airmen) is quite knowledgeable and happy to answer any questions one might have.

The best of the museum is only accessible on the Presidential Hangar tour. Here is where all of the former Air Force Ones and many of the experimental aircraft are housed. I recommend go just to see the aircraft Kennedy took to Dallas. The tours do fill up fast and it is recommended to sign up early to guarantee a spot.

The museum also has an Imax, showing mostly space and Air Force movies, a gift shop, with a large selection of Air Force books and posters, and a café, with good food at a reasonable price.

If in Dayton this is a must visit. If not for the sheer history of the place, then for the awe inspiring grandeur of the planes on display.

Quick Tip: It is known locally as Wright – Patt Air Force museum due to be located on the Wright Patterson Air force Base. Also check out the license plates in the parking lot. Most states are represented on a Saturday.