Built in 1841, the Arnold House is the oldest house on Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and serves as a symbol of Air Force history.
The house, which is officially designated as Bldg. 8, is located in Area A at the corner of Pearson Road and Wright Avenue.
It is named after Gen. Henry Harley Arnold, who played a major role in establishing the U.S. Air Force. Arnold was a major at the time he moved into the home and learned how to fly from Orville Wright while living there.
Arnold resided in the house between the years of 1921 and 1931. Since then, it has been utilized as a residence, office and event space.
The house has had several renovations and additions over the years, but some areas remain intact since its early years.
The original design is a cube structure with a flat roof that has since been expanded. Much of the interior has been repainted and restored while the original flooring remains intact. There is a furniture restoration plan underway that will add period pieces back into the home.
Over the years, the Arnold House has held new relevance to the community. On Sept. 19, 1986, a POW/MIA memorial was added to the south yard in honor of Airmen who were former prisoners of war and for those still missing in action. The memorial is surrounded by benches and shrubs to promote reflection and remembrance to those who fought and never returned.
A tribute to the Wright brothers is located on the north porch entrance from the side walk. Consisting of a stone bench with two bowler hats, it serves as a marker to the aviation history this location holds for the Wright brothers and the U.S. Air Force.
Jene Curell, 88th Air Base Wing protocol chief, is the custodian of the Arnold House and considers it to be a gift of historical significance and a cultural necessity to the base. As the house is no longer an office space, Curell has been working to ensure it is a usable asset for military members.
While the house is a continuous project, much of it will remain unchanged. It will continue to stand as a reminder of those who came before and how hard work, though done almost a century ago, lives on to serve those to come.
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