Column: A Visit to Carillon Historical Park


Today, as we continue visiting sites within comfortable driving distance from Indianapolis, we come to Carillon Historical Park in Dayton, Ohio.

Carillon Historical Park, lying along the east bank of the Great Miami River, is named for the 151-foot-tall Deeds Carillon at the north end of the park, erected in 1942 by the family of Col. Edward Deeds. Deeds was a prominent Dayton industrialist, president of the National Cash Register Co., and co-founder of Dayton Engineering Laboratory Company, or Delco). The 65-acre park celebrates Dayton’s history with 30 historic structures, including the Newcom Tavern, built in 1796 and Dayton’s oldest building.

The park also celebrates Dayton’s reputation for technical innovations. At the turn of the 20th century, Dayton received more patents per capita than any other U.S. city.  The patents included those for the first airplane, cash register and electric starter. The 1905 Wright brothers’ Flyer III, the first practical airplane and the only one designated a National Historic Landmark, was restored in 1948 with Orville Wright’s help and is in the park’s Wright Brothers Aviation Center. The park also displays one of the few remaining bicycles produced by the Wright brothers and includes a replica of their print shop. Among 3 million other items the park owns are an 1835 locomotive, the oldest built in the United States, and a 1912 Cadillac featuring a Delco electrical system.

Carillon Historical Park also includes the operational Carillon Brewery, a hand-carved carousel, and a so-called “4-D theater,” in which five animatronic figures, including the Wright brothers and Col. Deeds, are placed in period settings and talk about what was happening in Dayton in 1909. Finally, the park is the gateway for tours of nearby Hawthorn Hill, the home designed by the Wright brothers and lived in by Orville and Katherine Wright and their father beginning in 1914.


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