More Wright Brothers Facts

Here are a few more interesting facts you may not know about the Wright Brothers!

  • The first woman to fly was Mrs. Hart O Berg. Mrs. Berg and her husband often accompanied Wilbur to various flying fields where he demonstrated his machine.
  • The first flight in Dayton occurred on September 22nd, 1910, as part of Aviation Day in Dayton. Orville flew from Huffman Prairie Flying Field in a Wright Model B flying machine. He circled the city and returned to the starting point. There were over 100,000 people to witness the flight, which lasted 33 minutes and spanned 25 miles.
  • After achieving the first flight on December 17th, 1903, Wilbur and Orville’s brother Lorin presented the story to Dayton Journal representative Frank Tunison. Tunison blew off the story, stating that a 19 second flight was not newsworthy. The first story to be run was an inaccurate piece which appeared in the Virginian Pilot and was reprinted in the Cincinnati Enquirer and the New York American. Later that day, Dayton Daily News ran an accurate story of the flight, and the Dayton Herald summarized the inaccurate version. The brothers’ flight finally made the pages of the Dayton Journal on December 19th.

Wright Brothers – Did you know?

There is so much known about Dayton’s own flying brothers, but did you know:

  • When Wilbur knew he was dying of typhoid fever, he called his lawyer, Ezra Kuhns, to make his Last Will and Testament. To his father Milton, he left $1,000. To his brothers Reuchlin and Lorin and his sister Katharine, he left $50,000 each. The remaining balance, which was over $100,000 (plus patent rights and shares) were left to Orville. Wilbur wrote in his will that he was sure Orville would use the money in very much the same manner as they would together if they were both to live to old age.
  • Also in his will, Orville left $300,000 to Oberlin College following the fulfillment of the following lifetime annuities: Lorin was to receive $4,000 per year, Reuchlin’s Widow Lulu was to receive $500 per year, Orville’s secretary Mabel was to receive $3,000 per year, and a few staff members received a yearly stipend as well. The files, notes, and other flight memorabilia were to be dispersed to museums and institutes.
  • The Wright Special, one of the brands of bicycle the brothers created, did not sell many units. According to the financial ledgers, only eight were sold.
  • Hawthorn Hill, site of the Wright House, was named so because of the Hawthorn trees growing on the land.

Eddie Breen

Eagles can fly, but can’t talk; parrots can’t really fly but can talk; so I just think I’m an Eagle.” Orville Wright to Eddie Breen, when asked why he doesn’t say much. Eddie Breen would later serve as pallbearer at Orville’s funeral.

Eddie Breen served as Mayor of Dayton from 1946-1948 then served as a member of the US House of Representatives from Ohio’s 3rd District.

Eddie had many notable members of his family, including:

  • John Breen, who along with John Ohmer had invented and manufactured the Taxi Meter. They originally planned to take the maiden voyage of the Titanic but opted instead to continue their sales trip in Europe.
  • Maurice Breen, who smuggled runaway slaves in his wagon among parts for railway construction.
  • Bernadina Focke and her sons, who set up a card table in the Arcade selling meat. This business would become a successful meat packing business that lasted until 1972.
  • Mary Lousie Breen, who spied for FDR in France and Germany during WWII.
  • Marie Berno Focke, who sang and danced with Fred Astaire in the 1920s.

Eddie Breen died on May 8, 1991, and is buried at Calvary Cemetery. For more information about these events and more stories about this family, check out the book Lucky Eddie, by Edward Focke Breen.

A Few Fun Facts about Dayton

It’s shaping up to be a busy year, so here are a few fun facts about Dayton!

  • Dayton’s first attorney was Judge Joseph Crane.
  • James Cox served 2 terms as governor of Ohio and ran for US President.
  • Charles Lindbergh flew into Dayton’s McCook Field on August 5, 1927.
  • Susan (Koerner) Wright, mother to Wilbur and Orville, was highly-educated, especially for her time. She met Milton, her future husband, while attending Huntsville College in Huntington, Indiana. After being ordained in the United Brethren ministry, Milton was assigned to Oregon. He asked Susan to accompany him as his wife. She agreed to the marriage proposal but did not want to go to Oregon. She waited 2 years and they wed on November 24, 1859.

Fun Dayton Facts

Here are a few more interesting facts about Dayton!

  • Of the original purchasers of the land for Dayton, Jonathan Dayton’s name was chosen because it was considered the most pleasing name to grace the township.
  • Dayton’s first hanging took place on a gallows east of the river, where Sinclair Community College is now located. This fact is the basis for the storied hauntings of the campus.
  • Dayton’s flood of 1866 cost the city a quarter of a million dollars and left only the corn crops standing in its wake.
  • Dayton born Daniel Denison Bickham pitched for the Cincinnati Reds in 1886 for one game. He returned to Dayton when his father called him home because he felt baseball was “not a gentlemanly sport.”
  • Charles Bickham, Daniel’s brother, was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor in 1904 because he “crossed a fire-swept field, in close range of the enemy and bought a wounded soldier to a place of shelter.
  • Father to Daniel and Charles Bickham, William Bickham, was Dayton’s leading newspaper editor. After the riot that burned the office of the Dayton Journal, Bickham arrived to revive the paper and return it to financial stability.
  • The Wright brothers built their first glider for about $15.

Miscellaneous Dayton Facts

It’s been a while since we shared some miscellaneous facts about Dayton, so here are a few!

  • The expression “You’re fired” dates back to John Henry Patterson, founder of NCR. Patterson was reported to have terminated an employee by having his desk taken outside and set on fire.
  • The name of the horse in the statue with John H. Patterson in Hills and Dales Park is Spinner.
  • The Ohio accent is the basis of the accent taught to newscasters – The Ohio accent is considered to be so bland that you don’t hear the accent, just the words.
  • The group Stars of Joy was the first local African American gospel group to air on WHIO TV.
  • Possum Run Creek got its name from the great number of possums being caught in the lowlands.
  • John H Patterson urged the city to build a road over the canal, and that’s how Patterson Boulevard got its name.
  • The Thomas Clegg house on the corner of First and Jefferson is Dayton’s oldest continuously occupied home. Downtown used to be a glamorous place for the rich to live in young Dayton, but the 1913 flood and increasing noise of streetcars and traffic made downtown living less appealing. The house was renovated in the early 2000s for condo use.
  • The Wright Brothers purchased Spruce from Requarth Lumber in Downtown Dayton for the second and third Wright flyers.

Dayton Unknown Merchandise

Did you know Dayton Unknown has merchandise?We have several Dayton-centric designs that we have personally designed ourselves on shirts, sweatshirts, stickers, tote bags, and mugs on our storefront on Tee Spring! Check it out!

We might be biased, but we think Dayton Unknown merch might be a great Christmas present for you or your Dayton-loving friends and family!

Here are a few examples of our designs!

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Asahel Wright

While driving through downtown Centerville, you may have noticed a little sign on the side of the road denoting the Asahel Wright Museum.

Asahel Wright was born in 1786 in New Hampshire and moved to Centerville with his parents in 1814. In November of 1814, Asahel leased a farm of seven acres of land from Aaron Nutt, located near the southeast corner of Far Hills and Alex-Bell Road. Later, in August of 1816, he then purchased a portion of Lot # 3 of the Nutt Platt for $150, making the first recorded purchase of the property.

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One Missing Bench Found

As you may remember from the story of the Missing Benches, there has been a mystery surrounding the rest of the benches that are supposed to be located all around the Miami Valley.

Well, one of the benches has been located! Right in front of the Wright Brothers Airport in Springboro, with a lovely mural with the Wright Brothers in the background.

Found Bench

The remaining benches really are a mystery:

  1. Two at the National Museum of the US Air Force – Bethany spoke to the staff and volunteers (including a groundskeeper) at the museum, and nobody had any recollection of the benches.
  2. One somewhere at the Dayton International Airport

– no idea where!
Have you seen one of these benches at one of these two locations? We’re still hunting!