In early 1909, the Wright Brothers thrilled heads of state throughout Europe with flying demonstrations in France and Italy. This year brought recognition for the Wrights in the form of honorary degrees, ceremonies and galas, and special awards from countries all over the world. The city of Dayton, hometown of the Wright Brothers, planned the culminating Homecoming Days Celebration for June 17 and 18. Although the Wright Brothers were anxious to continue flight trials for the Army Signal Corps in Fort Myers, Virginia, they returned to Dayton and participated in the many events planned. The first day of the celebration included an opening ceremony at Van Cleve Park, an exhibition parade by the Dayton Fire Department, a review of the Ohio National Guard troops, and a gala reception at the YMCA Building followed by a fireworks display and the illumination of Cooper Park. The second day featured the presentation of national, state, and city medals at the Montgomery County Fairgrounds, a parade of federal and state troops as well as local civic organizations, and an illuminated automobile parade. Participants in the festivities included Ohio Governor Judson Harmon, Dayton Mayor Edward E. Burkhart, other city officials, and members of the Wright family.
For more information on this collection, please view the collection finding aid or visit Wright State University Special Collections and Archives.