The author of the best-selling book The Wright Brothers endorses the effort in a new video filmed inside the historic factory.
“I applaud all of you who are working to save these buildings and to bring them back into being part of the story” of the Wright brothers, McCullough says in the video.
The National Aviation Heritage Alliance (NAHA) released the video Thursday, Sept. 1, on its YouTube channel with McCullough’s permission. NAHA interviewed McCullough for the video on April 19 following McCullough’s tour of the factory.
Wilbur and Orville Wright formed the Wright Company in 1909 and built the company’s first factory building in Dayton in 1910. The company added a second building in 1911. The factory was the first in America built for manufacturing airplanes.
Orville sold the Wright Company in 1915. The factory was the nucleus of what became the 54-acre Delphi Home Avenue Plant, which shut down in 2008.
NAHA, a nonprofit, has been working with the National Park Service, state of Ohio, city of Dayton and others to make the factory a unit of the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park.
“I’d like to be able to walk in here and see their airplanes being built at various stages,” McCullough says in the video. “I’d like to see the tools that were used. The saws, the lathes, that sort of thing. I’d like to see where they had lunch. I’d like to see the whole world, the whole reality of this community. This was a community in here, a community at work.”
“David has made it no secret that he reveres the Wright Brothers, and America’s National Parks. And after several visits to our Dayton community, he was truly taken with our work to restore the Wright Company factory,” said Amanda Wright Lane, great-grandniece of the Wright brothers and a NAHA trustee.
NAHA is negotiating with the current property owner, Home Avenue Redevelopment LLC, to buy the 54-acre site. Dayton Metro Library has committed to locate its new West Branch on the site, an approximately $10 million investment.
NAHA projects it will need $4 million to buy the property, stabilize the buildings, make initial site improvements and begin redeveloping the remaining acres in ways that would complement the Wright Factory Unit of the national park. It has raised about $2 million so far in public and private funds.
At the request of many individuals wanting to contribute, it has added a donation page to its website.
In the video McCullough says, “I applaud all of you who are working to save these buildings and to bring them back into being part of the story. Those who went before us here, those who did things of merit and changed the world, deserve to be present, as it were, among us.”