DAYTON, Ohio — The National Aviation Heritage Alliance (NAHA) has scheduled free monthly tours of the Wright Company factory buildings through the end of 2015.
Tours of the two historic buildings will take place on the third Thursday of each month — Sept. 17, Oct. 15, Nov. 19 and Dec. 17. Each tour will begin at 10 a.m. except Dec. 17, when it will begin at 2 p.m. A tour typically takes about an hour.
The Wright factory is the first American factory built for the purpose of manufacturing airplanes. The two structures are the oldest airplane manufacturing buildings still standing in the world and the only buildings still in Dayton where the Wright brothers worked on airplanes.
Wilbur and Orville Wright formed the Wright Company in 1909 and built their first factory in 1910. They added a second one in 1911. The buildings later became part of the Delphi Home Avenue auto parts manufacturing plant. The plant closed in 2008 and is now owned by a redevelopment company.
In 2009, Congress authorized the National Park Service to restore the factory as a part of the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park, but it hasn’t provided funding to acquire or restore it.
With the cooperation of the property owner, Home Avenue Redevelopment, NAHA is conducting the public tours to raise awareness of the factory and build community support for its restoration. This site is not restored, so visitors will be asked to sign a hold-harmless agreement. Closed-toed shoes are required, and no restroom facilities are available.
The factory entrance is off West Third Street just east of Abbey Avenue. The gate has no specific address, but GPS users will find it by navigating to 2900 W. Third St.