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Contact: Ryan QuallsThe Wright Company Factory, the place where the Wright brothers started the modern aviation industry with the first purpose-built airplane manufacturing site in the United States, was damaged in a fire that started around 2:00 am on Sunday, March 26 and burned throughout the day. At the time of this release, the Dayton Fire Department crews are still on site to prevent the fire from restarting.
The Wright Company Factory site is closed at this time as fire crews work to evaluate the extent of the fire and clear the area. All other park locations are open normal operating hours.
The cause of the fire is currently under investigation by the Dayton Fire Department Fire Investigation Unit.
“Despite over 100 years of intense use, the Wright Company Factory still had most of its original wood roof, windows, and other historic fabric intact. We are working with our partners to assess the damage to this irreplaceable resource,” said Superintendent Kendell Thompson. “I am thankful for the hard work and dedication of the firefighters who worked diligently through the night to quell the blaze and prevent further destruction of this unique part of aviation history.”
The Wright Company Factory site was added to the legislative boundary of Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park in 2009 and is currently owned by the City of Dayton.
Dayton's involvement in the invention of early flight and airplane manufacturing started in the back of a bicycle shop and grew to a full-fledged industry that today supports world travel and the exchange of goods and services across the globe. The Wright Company Factory opened in 1910 as the first factory in the United States designed especially for building airplanes, a testament to the brothers’ attempt to commercialize their invention. Students at the Wright School of Aviation also came to the Factory to learn flight controls on a simulator as part of their flight school training at Huffman Prairie Flying Field, now Wright Patterson Air Force Base. Beyond the Wright Company, the site was used extensively for manufacturing and became part of a larger automotive manufacturing complex.
For additional information on Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park find us on social media at facebook.com/DaytonAviationNPS, and @DaytonAviationNHP on Instagram.
Last updated: March 28, 2023