You can’t miss the big house that rests on top of the hill in Dayton’s Oakville neighborhood. These days, the Wright Brothers’ family home may be best known as a tourist attraction or the place where local kids go sledding after a snowstorm. But in 1914, Hawthorn Hill was welcoming some of America’s most famous people and of course, serving as a residence for members of the Wright family.
Living in the home was Orville, his sister Katharine, and their father Milton. (Wilbur died of typhoid fever at age 45, before construction had even started.)
If you’re lucky enough to catch a tour of the property, you’ll notice that many of the items still inside belonged to the Wright family. Even Orville’s bed and favorite reading chair are inside. There have only been three owners since it was built.
Orville’s library is essentially the same as it was when he lived there, including the books and furniture. Other notable features of the home include a wild looking, wrap around shower on the second floor. It was known as a “needle shower” and found mostly in the homes of rich and famous people.
Speaking of famous people – Hawthorn Hill welcomed many notable Americans over the years. Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, and Charles Lindbergh were among the famous house guests. Ronald Reagan stayed in the home in later years as have many other celebrities.
The house became known as Hawthorn Hill from the abundance of Hawthorn trees on the property. The house had five bedrooms, four bathrooms, servant’s quarters, and a full basement and attic.
Tours of the home are offered throughout the year on Wednesday and Saturday but pre-paid reservations are required. You can learn more about booking a tour through Carillon Historical Park in Dayton. (If you can’t make it for a tour, check out the video at the bottom of this post to take a virtual walk through the house! )