How to get a rare glimpse of Hawthorn Hill, the Wright family’s Oakwood mansion

Dayton History is once again hosting its Wright at Home at Hawthorn Hill event April 28.

An event at the historic Wright family mansion in Oakwood will provide visitors with the opportunity to explore the Wright family mansion, Hawthorn Hill.

This year will feature a celebration of Katharine Wright’s 150th birthday with pictures, artifacts and anecdotes.

During a walking tour, visitors can learn about historic Wright family neighbors, including the founder of Cheez-It Crackers, a famous Dayton architect, a man nicknamed the “Maker of Machines,” and more.

RELATED: PHOTOS: Hawthorn Hill, the Wright family home, through the years

Stephen Wright, the brothers’ great grandnephew, will be present, and light refreshments will be provided.

Wright at Home is presented as a collaboration between Dayton History and the Oakwood Historical Society. Proceeds from this event will benefit both history organizations.

The event is Sunday, April 28, from noon to 5:00 p.m. Hawthorn Hill is located at 901 Harman Ave. Tickets can be purchased HERE

Credit: Staff photo by Chris Stewart

Credit: Staff photo by Chris Stewart

Fun historical facts about Hawthorn Hill

  • Hawthorn Hill was built in 1914, and Orville Wright moved in with his sister Katharine and father Milton.
  • The property originally covered 17 acres, though most have been sold, leaving three acres now.
  • During maintenance in 2020, crews uncovered a pair of historic signatures on the wall. The first was written in 1914 by Frank Lutzenberger, who put up gold damask to cover the walls, writing “This entire floor put up by F. Lutzenberger, April, 12 / 1914.” Next to that signature was a message from a designer who redecorated the home in 1949 after it was purchased by National Cash Register: “Remodeled by Clem Welty Deiter 1949 / NCR.”
  • Hawthorn Hill was named for the abundant Hawthorn trees on the property, but the Wright family also lived at 7 Hawthorn Street in West Dayton.
  • The home was in a much more rural area when it was built — in 1914, it took half an hour to reach Oakwood from downtown Dayton by street car.
  • The mansion features a whole-home central vacuum system. Housekeepers could connect vacuum hoses to special outlets in the floor or walls to sweep the entire house, using a motor housed in the basement. Despite the convenience, the home’s housekeeper reportedly hated using it.
  • The basement also contains a vault where Orville Wright would store his patents and documents, since banks at the time didn’t have safe deposit boxes.
  • Orville Wright lived in Hawthorn Hill until he died of a heart attack in 1948, at the age of 76. The house was sold to National Cash Register, which refurnished every room except for Orville’s library, which was left untouched to honor his memory. The clock on the shelf is always set to the same time — the hour that he passed away.

About the Authors