Mound Cold War Discovery Center

1075 Mound Rd,
Miamisburg, OH 45342


Dayton Ohio and the surrounding area has a long history with inventions, technology, and war. The National Museum of the United States Air Force tells the story of the war. Dayton History at Carillon park tells the story of the technology. Now Dayton History has helped to preserve the history of a major component of technology in war. The Mound Cold war Center tells the story of the part Dayton played in creating some of the most destructive weapons ever used.

On August 6, 1945 the United States, while at war with Japan, dropped the most destructive weapon ever used. The Atomic Bomb was again used on August 9th. These two bombs ended the war and changed the world forever. The bombs were so powerful that they were developed under the most secret project of the early 20th century. The Manhattan Project, while most known for being at the Los Alamos Laboratory in New Mexico, had sites across the country. One such site was in Dayton, Ohio.

The Dayton Project was created to make the neutron initiator that would start the reaction process in the bomb. Many sites through out Dayton were used. The Dayton Project was the only portion of the larger Manhattan Project to be based in an urban area. At the end of the war the US Government decided to continue stockpiling weapons in case of future tensions. The weapons would need initiators, or triggers, and decided to keep making them in Dayton. Because this work was going to be done on a larger scale a suitable location outside of town was needed. A location was found near the ancient Adena culture’s burial mound in Miamisburg Ohio. The Atomic Energy Commission built its first site after the war and called it Mound Laboratories.

As tensions between the United States and the USSR grew into the Cold War, Mound Laboratories was in full swing. Later, as the stock pile grew large enough and the space race picked up the labs used the nuclear technology to invent a new type of battery. These batteries would be able to power a device for over 40 years. They were perfect for long duration space flight were battery replacement was not an option. Some of them have even left our solar system aboard the voyager spacecraft. The batteries are said to last until 2025.

Eventually the Mound Laboratories ended operations and the site was cleaned up. The buildings have either been taken down or turned into office space. A few of the building remained empty and workers from the labs decided to try and tell its story and preserve its history. The museum they created, while small, did a good job of telling the untold story. The times were not great and the presentation was a little haphazard. Eventually they joined forces with Dayton History to completely redesign the small museum. The New creation is the Mound Cold War Museum.

The Museum is a one large room with displays along the walls that tell the story of the mound. Using videos, pictures and artifacts the museum unfolds the work from the early days of the Dayton Project to the clean up and closure. Many of the displays are just text and pictures, or artifacts and text. Some however are larger interactive items, such as a working Geiger counter and a glove box. Upstairs is the archives with information on almost every worker at the mounds, and photos of the workers experience.

Overall the story gets across with out bogging down too much in the details. With the price of admission being free, it is well worth the price. Adding in a trip to the Miamisburg Mound across the street, and a stop downtown for lunch, one can easily fill a morning.


Paul Laurence Dunbar: Poet and Park

With this being National Poetry Month and National Parks Week, We thought we would honor both by honoring Ohio’s own Paul Laurence Dunbar. His house is free to visit, and part of the Dayton Aviation National Historical Park. Here is his most famous poem.

Paul Laurence Dunbar, 1872 – 1906

I know what the caged bird feels, alas!
When the sun is bright on the upland slopes;
When the wind stirs soft through the springing grass,
And the river flows like a stream of glass;
When the first bird sings and the first bud opes,
And the faint perfume from its chalice steals—
I know what the caged bird feels!

I know why the caged bird beats its wing
Till its blood is red on the cruel bars;
For he must fly back to his perch and cling
When he fain would be on the bough a-swing;
And a pain still throbs in the old, old scars
And they pulse again with a keener sting—
I know why he beats his wing!

I know why the caged bird sings, ah me,
When his wing is bruised and his bosom sore,—
When he beats his bars and he would be free;
It is not a carol of joy or glee,
But a prayer that he sends from his heart’s deep core,
But a plea, that upward to Heaven he flings—
I know why the caged bird sings!

Western Reserve Historical Society History Center


Rating: ****

Address: 10825 East Boulevard
Cleveland, Ohio 44106

Website: http://www.wrhs.org/plan-your-visit/history-center/

Review: The Western Reserve Historical Society is more than just a museum. For this article we are only reviewing the museum. The museum contains many parts: Euclid Beach Park Grand Carousel, Browns Town 1964, Bringham-Hanna & Mckinney House, Crawford Auto Aviation Collection, In Grand Style: Fashions form 1870s to 1930s, Kidzbits Family Education Center, and Research Library. Some of these are exhibits and some are permanent areas.

The museum is maybe one of the hidden gems of the Cleveland Area. The museum a very good way to learn about the history of the Cleveland area. The museum has something for all tastes. Kids will love the kids area and adults might like the classic cars.

The upstairs area of the museum houses lots of aviation memorabilia and other interesting artifacts. The downstairs houses Crawford Aviation Collection. This collection has cars that range from old to newer. There are race cars, protype cars, and your typical classic car. This was an area that one can walk around in for a while. Even a non car person would find something to love.

The museum does give tours of the Hanna & Mckinney House, which is housed inside the museum. Their are tours daily to see the house. Tours are included in admission. The house is set up with rooms that represent different historical periods. Having the house lead by a tour guide is a good idea because you learn so much more about the house than if you went on your own. The house is a great place to see how people once lived, especially how the well to do lived. Make sure to sign up in the gift shop for a house tour as early as possible. The tours are limited and can fill up fast.

This museum is bigger than it lets on from the outside. You snake down one exhibit hall to another, with more to see. The Browns area is great, probably better if you are a true browns fan, but it is nice to see the history. The invention exhibit area was another great exhibit. It was nice to see some local inventions. It is hard to talk about museum exhibits in a review, as they might change, but these two exhibits were fun to see.

Their is a grand carousel to ride. This carousel comes straight out of 1910. We can not do the carousel justice in our description, so after your done reading this review hop on over to the carousel’s website page.


Call before hand and time your visit to go along with when a house tour is happening. This way you can see the museum after or before your tour and not have to wait around.

If your coming to Cleveland put the Western Reserve Historical Society History Center on your itinerary, you will find something new to learn.

This museum does cost along with a separate parking fee. Two carousel rides are included with admission.