This Week in Dayton History: Orville Wright’s will, Thomas Cloud dies and more stories to remember

Dayton has a fascinating history, which the Dayton Daily News has been there to chronicle since 1898.

Each week, we’re going into the archives for stories both important and interesting that happened this week through the years.

Here’s a look at some stories from the week of Feb. 4-10.

Feb. 6, 1938: Daytonian plans to bury data on life for recovery in 2035

Otto M. Summers devised a plan to make a bronze cylinder, fill it with an array of articles, and then bury it under a stone in his front yard on Burroughs Drive.

The original burial was made on Christmas Day in 1935. Summers’ intentions were for his daughter to open the tomb in 1985, remove nothing, but add more to it. The contents then were not to be disturbed again until 2035.

Interest in his plan stretched across the nation, with many people sending him items to include in the tomb, along with ideas and suggestions.

At the time of this article in 1938, Summers was working on a new device, hollowed out of a sizeable rock, that was to be placed near Mammoth Cave in Kentucky. In it would be placed his original bronze cylinder, another cylinder made of iron that weighed 250 pounds, and another container with unknown contents.

A large bronze plaque as to be placed at the site, with a message on it saying, “Not to be opened until 2035.”

Feb. 5, 1948: Orville Wright will leaves first airplane in museum in London

Orville Wright died on Jan. 30, 1948. On Feb. 5, the contents of his will were made public.

In it were his wishes for the placement of the original Wright airplane, known as “Kittyhawk.”

Orville decreed that the plane should remain in the possession of the science museum in South Kensington in London, England, where it had been on display since 1928.

The remainder of the will dealt with his estate. Annuities were to be paid quarterly to Lorin Wright, his brother; Lulu Wright, a widow of a brother; Mabel Beck, Wright’s secretary; Charles Taylor, a former mechanic and aide; Carrie Grumbach, Wright’s housekeeper; and Charlotte Jones, a Wright employee.

All of Wright’s bronzes and all gold or other medals were to go to the Dayton Art Institute.

At the time, the director of the Smithsonian, which wanted the airplane, said Wright’s decision was “one in which we will have to abide.”

The airplane was returned to the United States in 1948 and formally donated to the Smithsonian Institution in an elaborate ceremony on Dec. 17, the 45th anniversary of the flights, and it has been on public display there ever since.

Feb. 5, 1957: Safety belts could save lives, Dayton officials say

Montgomery County Coroner Dr. Robert Zipf, Dayton police traffic analyst Sgt. Ray Metzger and county safety officer Deputy Harold Angel all felt that seat belts were the answer to the growing number of traffic injuries and fatalities.

In early February, there had already been 11 deaths on the year. The three men all agreed that many lives are lost each year when a simple “web belt harness” would have prevented it.

Of the previous year’s 28 fatalities on city streets, Metzger believed that at least six people would have survived with the use of a seat belt.

On the county roads, Angel’s study found that at least 14 lives could have been spared by protective belts.

All three men said their personal cars were equipped or were being equipped with the life-saving seat belts.

Sheriff Bernard Keiter said all county patrol cars would soon have seat belts.

Feb. 4, 1968: Kettering breaks ground for municipal building

In 1968 ground was broken in a heavily wooded eight-acre tract of land at Shroyer Road and Lincoln Park Boulvard for Kettering’s new $740,000 Municipal building.

It was a cold and wet day and only a small gathering of city officials and employees was in attendance.

Kettering Councilman Glenn Price sat atop a bulldozer for the ceremonial moving of the dirt.

Vice Mayor Charles Horn stood inside the scoop shovel and for a time was lifted four feet off the ground.

Feb. 8, 1976: Thomas Cloud moved through life at go-getter pace

Tom Cloud, the county administrator and former county commissioner, had died at the age of 41.

Cloud attended Fairview High School and graduated as an industrial engineer from General Motors Institute. He was a sales coordinator at the Delco-Moraine GM plant before quitting to become county commissioner in 1969.

Cloud was known as a “go-getter” who kept a busy work schedule. His mother, Audrey Cloud recalled telling him, “Tom, you can’t do this, you just have to slow down. He died doing what he wanted to do. I think that has some importance.”

Some of his accomplishments in office included clearing the way for the community park in Huber Heights, pushing for restrictions on commercial blight and improving the police and fire departments. He also championed the building of Courthouse Plaza, downtown.

The Mad River-Wayne Playfield in Huber Heights was later renamed Thomas Cloud Memorial Park.

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