Between 1899 and 1905, the Wright brothers conducted a program of aeronautical research and experimentation that led to the first successful powered airplane in 1903 and a refined, practical flying machine two years later. All successful airplanes since then have incorporated the basic design elements of the 1903 Wright Flyer.
The Society prospers
The Society earned a five-year reprieve from the state's proposed actions. They salvaged a guestbook that state workers had thrown in the trash - it was a book used by the family who had purchased the farm to collect the names of people who came knocking on the door after the Wrights 1903 flight. The signatures of Orville and his sister Katherine are in the book since they came to the dedication of the memorial in New Castle.
The Society built a museum and anchored it with a historically correct full-sized 1903 Wright flyer. They created an interactive museum. At the museum is a sewing machine that inspired 5-year-old Orville to play hooky from kindergarten and tear it apart.
The museum now has a large community room that can be rented, a gift shop, a theater and lecture hall. They built a 1900s-era barn complete with tools, buckboard and buggy. Visitors can also learn how the wrights preserved food at the smokehouse and how they took a bath using an outdoor pump.
In 2003, the Society completed a 1903 street with shops so visitors can stroll, stop at the Wright Print Shop and see where 16-year-old Orville started his Dayton newspaper, the Westside News, which was where the phrase 'Wright Brothers" first appeared. Then go over to the Wright Bicycle Co. and see where they sold their own safety bicycle.
For directions or more information on the Wilbur Wright Birthplace and Museum, go to www.wwbirthplace.com