Created through the merger of Carillon Historical Park and the Montgomery County Historical Society in August, 2005, Dayton History brings the past to life with passion and pride in the region’s creative heritage.
Dayton History is the recognized regional historical organization that collects, preserves, interprets, presents and promotes the region’s assets, stories and experiences to help visitors understand what it means to be a Daytonian, and to help people everywhere know the enormous impact creative Daytonian's have had, and continue to have, on the nation and the world.
Dayton History partners with community organizations, government entities, businesses and non-profits to achieve its mission, and offers like-missioned organizations the opportunity to tap Dayton History for support services that will help them expand operational capacity, increase organizational efficiency or deliver improved programming.
Carillon Historical Park showcases Dayton’s rich heritage of creativity, invention, and milestones in transportation that changed the nation and the world. Founded by Colonel Edward and Edith Deeds, the Park is situated on a beautiful 65-acre campus between the Great Miami River and a glacial moraine.
The Park shares the region’s history from its founding in 1796 through the important local contributions made during World War II. Visitors learn about these achievements while strolling through the Park’s 25 historical buildings and interacting with hundreds of artifacts and exhibits. Among them is the 1905 Wright Flyer III, the world's first practical airplane and National Historic Landmark, the 1835 B&O (Grasshopper) steam locomotive, and the first automobile self-starter. Visitors also experience Dayton’s pioneer history and its importance as a major transportation center illustrated by remnants of the Miami-Erie Canal. The Park is home to the Deeds Carillon, one of Dayton’s best-known landmarks, and the largest carillon in Ohio.
Dedicated in 1942, the carillon is Ohio’s largest with 57 bells. The Park’s carillonneur performs live carillon concerts every Sunday during June, July and August.
Carillon Historical Park features over 25 exhibit buildings and structures that celebrate the history of the Dayton, Ohio area. Set in a 65-acre green space next to the Great Miami River, just south of downtown Dayton, Carillon Historical Park is a unique combination of museum, park and natural area.
In addition to the carillon, the Park is home to a variety of collections which document the area's history. While touring the Park, you may visit Newcom Tavern, Dayton's oldest standing building, view an original Wright Flyer built by the Wright Brothers, and board a 1903 Barney & Smith Parlor car. Antique automobiles, a working 1930's Print Shop, and vintage bicycles are some of the other exhibits you will see along the way. The Wright Flyer III, a National Historic Landmark, is a unit of Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historic Park.
This building houses most of the park’s historic public transport collection. The building itself is a modern interpretation of historic railway architecture in what might be considered a modern roundhouse. The front of the building evokes the architecture of the roundhouse, where locomotives were stored in front of a massive turntable that could hold a locomotive and actually turn the engine in a circle.
The deep overhanging eaves and the tower are reminiscent of many turn of the 20th century city railway stations. Not far from the Transportation Center is the Carillon Park Rail & Steam Society mini-train layout. The society builds, operates and promotes the sub-scale railroad in the park and is available for rides throughout the season.
Carillon HIstorical Park is indeed a surprise for first time visitors. It is similar to Greenfield Village created by Henry Ford in Detroit, but on a much smaller scale and focusing on the contributions and history of Dayton. At one time Dayton was the heart of creativity and invention. Much of what is on display at the park helps to protect and preserve those items for everyone to remember.