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August 02, 2017

Carillon Historical Park - The Heritage of Dayton


Over 3 decades ago Fran first took me to Carillon Historical Park.  I thought it was a silly idea to recreate what either already existed, or was given away.  For instance Henry Ford relocated the Wright family home and the brothers original factory to his museum in Dearborn.  The Wright Bicycle Shop was still on W 3rd Street when it was recreated at the Carillon.  OK that was not the best part of town 30 years ago (Fran didn’t get out of the car!), it is now a National Historic Site and restored by the NPS.  You can read about our visit in my blog HERE.

I did not return to the Carillon until 2015.  Now I’d say if you only have one day to ‘discover’ Dayton there’s no better place.  As a museum of local history it has become an outstanding venue.

The carillon was built by the prominent Deeds family, who also donated the land.
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The most successful of the early Dayton manufacturing was National Cash Register (NCR).  The NCR’s museum of cash registers was moved to the Carillon as University of Dayton expanded, moving onto the old NCR property.
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In 1921 Frigidaire began production in Dayton.  Fran’s dad spent his career there.  Over the years Frigidaire became a household name, until the last unit rolled off the line in late 1970s.  It was signed by the remaining employees as the plant was shut down.
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The working carousel features historic items of Dayton’s past and present.  Orville Wright’s dog, Ester Price chocolates, Mike-sells Potato Chips, etc.
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Mead Paper, McCall Magazine, Reynolds and Reynolds all got their start in Dayton
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Another interesting Dayton startup is the Dayton Computing Scale Company.  In 1911 it merged with 3 other local companies to form Computing-Tabulating-Recording CorporationThomas J. Watson left NCR to become CTR’s first president.  Watson changed the name to International Business Machines (IBM).  IBM’s Jeopardy winning computer Watson is named for its first president.
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The Liberty 12 aircraft engine was the workhorse of WWI.  No one facility could keep up with the demand with engines being produced thought the Midwest.
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The oldest standing building in Dayton, the Newcom Tavern was moved to the Carillon Museum and is again open to the public.
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Dayton once had 14 automobile makers, many are on display, here’s a few of my favorites to drive home.
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The year Fran’s mother was born was 1913, the year of the Great Dayton Flood that left much of Dayton under nearly 20 feet of water.
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Patterson had NCR shift into support/rescue mode.  The factory floor began to manufacture flat bottom rescue boats.  The cafeteria was staffed 7/24 offering a hot meal to anyone who was hungry.
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One building is dedicated to the Huffman Manufacturing Company that made its Huffy bicycles here until 1999, when foreign competition forced them to close.  The Huffy collection is now displayed at the Carillon.
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Iron works were a part of Dayton’s past, including the Columbia Bridge Works, where pieces of a bridge were made and then shipped to and assembled on site, now a common engineering design.
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The Miami and Erie Canal connected Dayton to Cincinnati in 1829.  A local section of the locks are on display.
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In my opinion the gem of the Carillon Park is Wright Hall,
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which includes a replica of the cycle shop …
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and the brothers efforts at obtaining powered flight …
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And Drum-Roll - it also houses the original 1905 Wright Flyer III, the world’s first airplane.  The plane was reassembled under the supervision of Oriville Wright.  A piece of strut and the muslin wing coverings were replaced the remainder of the plane is original.  Take that Smithsonian!, this is the original Wright Flyer III.  Oriville did not live to see his flyer restoration completed, but did oversee the reassembly and design of the display.
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If you’ve worked up a thirst or appetite walking the Carillon grounds there’s Carillon Brewing next door with ‘Hearty Fare’ and historical beers.
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I went for a sampler flight, which comes with raspberry syrup – the beers are strong and hoppy.  The sampler is heavy on German fare, but it does have vegies too – look close there’s a bit of pickled beet and a few midget pickles.
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Another fun fact:  The Dayton Triangles won what is considered the first NFL game, October 3 1920 on their home field at Triangle Park, defeating the Columbus Panhandles 14-0.
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