New Collection: Aviation Trail, Inc., Records

The Aviation Trail, Inc., Records (MS-577) contain a wide selection of materials that document the history and activities of Aviation Trail, Inc., with the bulk of materials pertaining to each trail site. Record types include fundraising materials, pamphlets, flyers, guides, maps, photographs, and news clippings of the official trail sites, as well as drafts of the trail and descriptions of potential historic sites. The collection is 12.9 linear feet and dates between 1924 and 2014.

The Dayton Aviation Trail is a self-guided tour of selected, aviation-related sites open to the public. The trail grew out of a regional economic development conference held at the University of Dayton on November 18-19, 1980, which was co-sponsored by the Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission and the Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce. The purpose of its creation was to use Dayton’s unique aviation heritage to market the region as a tourist and business attraction.

In February 1981, an official committee was formed to implement a tourist organization. Five months later, on August 3, 1981, the committee established a not-for-profit corporation called Aviation Trail, Inc. Since then, their mission has been to identify and preserve the Dayton and the Miami Valley’s aviation heritage, as well as engaging in promotional and educational activities to spread awareness of the region’s rich history.

Groundbreaking for the Wright-Dunbar Interpretive Center, 1995 (MS-577, Box 27, File 4)

After discovering two Wright Brothers sites in original condition, their mission of Aviation Trail, Inc. expanded to include preservation.  In 1982, they acquired the Wright Cycle Company building.  This site was developed into the Wright-Dunbar Interpretive Center, currently under the administration of the National Park Service.

As of 2019, the trail consists of 18 aviation related sites, such as Carillon Historical Park, Huffman Prairie Flying Field, The Wright Cycle Company, and National Aviation Hall of Fame. Today, visitors who tour a minimum number of sites can receive a free “Wilbear Wright” aviation teddy bear.

For more information, visit the organization’s web site at

This collection was processed in Summer 2019 by Allie Edmonds. For more information about this collection, including a detailed box and file listing, please review the MS-577 Aviation Trail, Inc., Records finding aid.

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