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Wright Memorial Commission Records

Identifier: MS-134

Scope and Content

The collection contains a variety of material describing the organization and development of the Wright Brothers Memorial Park outside of Dayton, Ohio. The park was finished in 1940 and was opened on National Aviation Day. The park was transferred to The United States Air Force in 1975 who maintains the park to this day. Most of the correspondence in the collection dates from 1938-1940 when the memorial was being completed.

The collection contains correspondence from 1912-1943 dealing with the organization and physical development of the Wright Memorial. There are also minutes from meetings and articles of dissolution. Most of the correspondence is written by Ezra Kuhn, secretary of the commission, concerning the commission's business proceedings. The materials for the development of the memorial date from 1938-1940 and consists mainly of the correspondence of C.H. Eiffert, chief engineer, Miami Conservancy Commission and include extensive correspondence with the Olmstead Brothers, the landscape architects of the memorial. There are also financial records for the development and a summary leaflet about the memorial, its history and the transfer of ownership from The Miami Conservancy District to The United States Air Force.


  • Creation: 1912-1943


Language of Materials

The records are in English

Restrictions on Access

There are no restrictions on accessing materials in this collection.

Restrictions on Use

Copyright restrictions may apply. Unpublished manuscripts are protected by copyright. Permission to publish, quote or reproduce must be secured from the repository and the copyright holder.

History of Wright Memorial

The Wright Brothers Memorial dates back to 1912 when a group of Dayton citizens recommended that an appropriate memorial should be erected to celebrate the Wright Brothers contribution to aviation. In February of 1913, a nationally known sculptor was commissioned to design a memorial. It was in March of that year that Dayton and other communities of the Valley were devastated by flood. Immediately after the flood, the completion of the flood control projects of The Miami Conservancy District were given top priority, thus suspending further planning of the monument.

After completion of Huffman Dam in 1922, Colonel Edward A. Deeds reorganized The Wright Brothers Memorial Commission for the purpose of completing the memorial. The site selected for the memorial was Tate Hill, at the south end of Huffman Dam. The location chosen was significant in that it overlooks the site of the hangar where the Wrights prepared for their history-making flight at Kitty Hawk and the site of the first flight in a heavier-than-air machine, in a complete circle, made in September 1904.

The Miami Conservancy District Board of Directors approved a resolution in September 1938 to proceed with the design and development of a Wright Brothers Memorial Park. The labor to construct the memorial was provided by the Civilian Conservancy Corps.

The Miami Conservancy District Court approved an appraisal of the benefits of the park to the City of Dayton in January 1939. The City of Dayton has provided funds for maintenance of the park since 1939, and the Miami Conservancy District has since maintained the park.

The memorial and park were completed in 1940. The decication ceremony was held on August 19, 1940. This was National Aviation Day and Orville Wright's 69th birthday. Orville Wright was present for the ceremony.

The city of Dayton requested the District to seek an alternate source of funds for maintenance in 1974. The District Board of Directors on December 31, 1975 authorized the transfer of property to the United States Air Force.

Henceforth, the park and memorial shall be maintained by the Air Force for the people of the United States of America.


0.4 linear feet


The Wright Memorial Commission was organized in 1912 to build a monument near Huffman Prairie in honor of the Wright Brothers' contribution to aviation. Records include minutes, financial reports, correspondence, and other materials that document the physical development of the monument.

Statement of Arrangement

The collection is arranged chronologically.

  1. Series I: Administrative Records

Acquisition Information

This collection was donated to the Wright State Special Collections and Archives by Phyllis Smith of the Miami Conservancy District, October 1983.

Related Material

MS-1 Wright Brothers Collection

MS-128 Miami Conservancy District Records

MS-136 Dayton Air Service Incorporated Committee

Guide to the Wright Memorial Commission Records (MS-134)
Finding aid prepared by Vicki A. Cooper, 1983
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • November 2012: The finding aid for this collection was reformatted and additions were added by Victoria Penno.

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Repository

Wright State University Libraries
Special Collections and Archives
3640 Colonel Glenn Hwy
Dayton OH 45435-0001 USA