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Founded in 1796, Dayton was named after Jonathan Dayton, a Revolutionary War captain and the youngest signer of the U.S. Constitution. Nicknamed the "Birthplace of Aviation," Dayton was home to flight pioneers Wilbur and Orville Wright. In fact, open to the public is the bicycle and print shop where the Wrights developed the principles of aerodynamics and designed and constructed a number of gliders and portions of their first airplane from 1895 to 1897. Both brothers are buried at Woodland Cemetery and Arboretum, as is their friend, renowned African-American poet Paul Laurence Dunbar, who was the son of freed slaves. Dunbar's home is ...

Founded in 1796, Dayton was named after Jonathan Dayton, a Revolutionary War captain and the youngest signer of the U.S. Constitution. Nicknamed the "Birthplace of Aviation," Dayton was home to flight pioneers Wilbur and Orville Wright. In fact, open to the public is the bicycle and print shop where the Wrights developed the principles of aerodynamics and designed and constructed a number of gliders and portions of their first airplane from 1895 to 1897. Both brothers are buried at Woodland Cemetery and Arboretum, as is their friend, renowned African-American poet Paul Laurence Dunbar, who was the son of freed slaves. Dunbar's home is also open to the public, and is the first state memorial to honor an African American.

It's only fitting that the oldest and largest military aviation museum in the world is in Dayton. The National Museum of the United States Air Force is a gem, featuring more than 400 aircraft and missiles in 17 acres of indoor exhibit space. Look for the unusual airplane dubbed "The Sacred Cow" with its retractable elevator for President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's wheelchair. Also see Air Force One, which took President John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Kennedy to Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963, the day of the President's assassination. Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson was sworn in as president aboard it shortly after the assassination. The aircraft then carried Kennedy's body back to Washington.

The Sunwatch Indian Village/Archaeological Park is an intriguing reconstructed village of early American Indian farmers. There Native Americans developed a complex system of charting time based on observations of the sun's position.

Jackie Finch
About the Expert

Jackie Sheckler Finch has written several guidebooks, including The Unofficial Guide to Campgrounds in the Great Lakes States, and four times she was named Travel Writer of the Year by Midwest Travel Writers Association.

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Jackie Finch for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Spring and autumn