Wright-Dunbar Historic District

Bounded roughly by US 35, Broadway, West Thirst Street and the Great Miami River.

Best known as the home of Paul Laurence Dunbar and Orville and Wilbur Wright, the Wright-Dunbar historic district developed as a Dayton streetcar suburb in the half century following the civil war. Known as “Mexico” and later as “Miami City,” the area was annexed to Dayton in 1869.

In the late 1890′s, Wright-Dunbar became home to a diverse urban population, including Hungarians, Rumanians and Eastern Europeans of the West Side Colony. These workers, brought in to work in Dayton factories, formed a tight community with a host of businesses, churches and social organizations built to meet their needs.

In the years following World War I, the area emerged as the cultural and commercial center of Dayton’s African American community. Black-owned businesses such as the Palace Theatre along with variety of shops, restaurants and doctors’ offices, built a strong African American community which remains an important part of Dayton’s heritage today.

Although a large portion of the area was lost in the 1950s and 1960s to interstate construction, urban renewal, and civil unrest, the remaining structures in Wright-Dunbar are experiencing an unprecedented period of revitalization since Citirama in 1997. Innovative housing strategies have been combined with a national historic park of aviation heritage and a network of Black cultural landmarks to create a viable urban neighborhood and a resource for Dayton history.