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Saturday, February 27, 2016

West Third Street, Dayton Ohio Wright Brother Connection

(Updated 6/1/17) From my post "The Gem City Ice Cream Building and the First Wright Cycle Shop" I began by writing the following- 
The Wright Brothers Cycle Shop formally located at 1127 West Third Street in Dayton Ohio is currently preserved at the Henry Ford Museum Greenfield Village in Dearborn Michigan, purchased by Henry Ford in 1936, relocated there in 1937, and opened to the public in 1938 with the blessing of Orville Wright. The brothers relocated their business numerous times through the 1890's, and 1127 West Third was their last location. The reason this location was of major significance is of course that this is where their aviation experiments took place; where they performed their wind tunnel experiments, where Charlie Taylor constructed the engine, where the gliders and flyers were constructed.
In Fred Fisk's and Marlin Todd's book "The Wright Brothers from Bicycle to Biplane", the authors document six locations (there were likely actually only five) for the Wright Cycle Shop. The first location indicated was at 1005 West Third Street, opened in November or December of 1892. They remained here till May of 1893. Per Fisk and Todd, 1015 West Third was identified as the second location, but the evidence for this appears to have been due to a typo (see notes at end of this post). The shop moved from 1005 to the second location at 1034 West Third per Orville Wright when interviewed in 1936. The authors write "The building that housed the first Wright brother's bicycle shop was torn down in 1927 and the former Gem City Ice Cream Company building now stands on this property. We believe this shop was called 'Wright Cycle Exchange'" (In lieu of being torn down, the building that housed the Wright brother's bicycle shop was actually preserved and surrounded by the addition of 1927, Matt's note.)

Who were their neighbors during this time? I thought it would be interesting to research the names of the various business's through this stretch of West Third Street where Wilbur and Orville Wright conducted their printing, bicycle, and eventually their aviation business's. Using what I had available, I've marked a 1948 map of Dayton showing the various business locations from a time period of 1889 through 1898. A map from that period would have been more preferable, but the 1948 map should suffice. Many of the business addresses were as listed in an 1898 Dayton Pocket Business Directory. These appear in the list of business's legend I developed, listed below.  Other names in the list are from advertisers as listed in various issues of The West Side News, as published by the Wright Brothers from 1889 through 1890 (and one final issue printed in 1891). If the source of the business name is from the Dayton Pocket Directory, no source is listed, but if from a West Side News issue, the West Side News issue is listed. 

The difficulty with this type of map of business locations is that the various locations for each business often change from year to year, or even within a given year. Case in point- the Wright's Cycle shop and Print shops moved about West Third Street numerous times as previously indicated. You will also notice other business names listed at more than one address, as these business's would change location as listed from month to month in the West Side News advertisements.



Partial 1948 map of Dayton Ohio showing West Third Street.


Close up of map West Third Street in area of Broadway and Williams:


West Third Street map in area of Broadway and Williams Streets. Cross reference numbered and lettered ellipses with partial list below for business's at those locations between the years 1889 to 1898. The Wright's home is marked with a "W". Orville Wright's Lab (not constructed until 1915) is marked with a "Y".


West Third Street Business Neighbors of the Wright's:

1127       (1a) Final location, Wright Cycle Company, 1897-1903. The Wright's continued to lease                    this space from Charles Webbert through 1915 as I understand.
1125       (1b) Fetters & Shank- Undertakers and Embalmers Office, in east half of building.
1123       (2a) John L Boulie- Worker of Tin, Sheet Iron, etc. Job and Repair Work a specialty.
1121       (2b) Chas Webbert- Dealer in Pumps, Bath Tubs and Gas Fixtures. Specialty made of     
               Drilling 6 and 8-inch Wells. Charles witnessed flights at Simms station; see my post
               Witnesses of Wright Brother's Simm's Station (Huffman Prairie) 1905 Flights
1109       (3) Wm Tompert- Dealer in Choice Meats.
1109       (3) Gunckel Hall
1107       (3) Wm. Tompert- Dealer in all kinds of Fresh & Salt Meats. Spring Valley Hams (April 5th,
               1890 West Side News). (year 1890, 91).
1107       (3) Alf Harries Meat Market (Jul 3, 1889 West Side News).
1107       (3) Frank Hamburger and wife Blanch per 1900 Census. Frank also witnessed flights at
               Simm's Station. See Witnesses of Wright Brother's Simm's Station (H. Prairie) 1905 Flights
               Also see my post Gem City Ice Cream Building and the First Wright Cycle Shop for
               account of story told by George Antrim of Orville helping Frank at the time of the 1913
               Dayton flood.
1103      (5) Mulford’s- closing out sale of Millinery & Goods, Bonnets. (Jan 3, 1890 West Side News
               (1890) (5)
1129     (6) Residence of Z. T. Hoover and wife Mary, daughter Lura, and son-in-law Frank B. Hale.  
              See photo of Frank Hale below. 
1033       The West Side Building Association, Samuel L Herr, J C Patterson, James W Booth
               Listed in April 5th, 1890 West Side News (Year 1890, 1891).
1029       Mory’s Block.
1017       F Leatherman’s- for Screen Doors and Windows. (Jul 3, 1889 West Side News).

1015       (U) Fouts W. C. & Co, proprietors the Owl Drug Co, Dealers in Drugs, Medicine, Toilet
               Articles, etc. (Dayton Directory 1898) William Fouts lived at this location with his mother
               and sister. William was a witness to the flights at Simm's Station- see
              Witnesses of Wright Brother's Simm's Station 1905 Flights
1007       (T) Miss L V Nicholas- Fine Millinery. All Latest Styles and Patterns a specialty.
1005       (S) Former first location Wright Cycle Exchange, year of 1892-93.

1210       (K) First former location of Wright & Wright Job Printers, April 1889-1890.
1210      (K) Chas Benz- Ladies and Gent’s Shoes, made to order, Repairing neatly done. (Jan 18,  
              1890, West Side News).
1210       (K) W H Snediker- has removed his Shoe Shop from the corner of Third and Summit to No.                1210 West Third, next door to West Side News. I am prepared to do all kinds of work on
               short  notice. New work done for prices to suit the times. (Jul 3, 1889 West Side News).
1234       (L) J A Gilbert (May 2, 1891 West Side News) (year 1891).
1246       (M) Chas Benz- Ladies and Gent’s Shoes made to order. Repairing neatly done. (April 
               5th West Side News) (year 1890).
1225       (H) J A Gilbert- Coal and Wood as good as any place in the City. (April 5th West Side
               News )(year 1890).
1226       John Gilbert's residence per 1900 Census (also wife Lucinda, and sons Allen and Jesse).
1231       (I) J R Blagg & Son- Peoples Laundry, the place to take your work to get it done in
               first class style. Lace Curtains neatly done. (Jan 18, 1890 West Side News)
1241       (J) Chas F Rhoades- Barber Shop (May 2, 1891 West Side News) (year 1891).
1263       (N) Chas Francisco- Drugs, Medicines, Stationary, News, Etc. (May 2nd 1891 West Side
              News) (year 1891).
1140       (F) S W Potterf- Dealer in fine Havana Cigars and all kinds of Tobacco. (April 5th West Side
               News) (year 1890).
1136       (Eb) S. Emens- Manufacturer and Dealer in Harness, Whips, Collars, Brushes, Bridles, 
               Combs. Repairing neatly done. All work warranted. (Jul 3, 1889 West Side News).
1134       (Ea) Gem City Buggy Works- Geo S Howell Prop’r, Dealer in Fine Carriages, Buggies,
               Phaetons, Wagons, Etc. Special Attention given to Painting and Repairing. Andrew  Smith                Sup’t. (year 1899)See letterhead below.
1130       (D) W A Lincoln’s- Ladies Underwear, Gent’s Underwear, Children’s Underwear, Gloves
               and Mittens, Skirts, All wool hose (Jan 25, 1890 West Side News). (D)
1128       (C) C F Surface- Use Oiline Dressing for Fine Shoes (April 5th, 1890 West Side News).
              (year 1890,91).
1124      (A) F Hamburger- Dealer in Builder’s Hardware, Fine Edge Tools, Tin and Granite Ware, 
              and Gasoline Stoves. Also a full line of Sporting Goods. See above, Hamberger lived at 1107
              per 1900 Census.
1120      (9) Walter’s Block- 1120-1130 West Third, West Side.
1042       (8) Hoover Block- southeast corner Third and Williams, West Side. Location of Wright &                Wright Job Printers, 2nd floor, from 1890 through 1895 per Fisk and Todd.
1036       (P) The West Side Bakery- for Fresh Bread, Cakes, Rolls, W P Troup. (Jul 3, 1889 West
               Side News).
1034       (O) Former location of Wright Cycle Shop, 1893-1894.
1020       (Q) Booth Grocery & Co- Hibbet & Sayer, dealers in Staple and Fancy Groceries.  (Was J  
               W Booth & Co in 1891 as advertised in West Side News). 
1016       (R) Miss Alice N Bamber- Fine Millinery. All the Latest Styles in Millinery Goods.
1016       (R) C C Chaffee’s- for Fine Ice Cream and Soda Water made from pure fruit juices. (Jul 3, 
               1889 West Side News).
1014       (R) Chas F Gray- Practical Watchmaker and Jeweler, two doors east of old number, 1018.

22           (X) South Williams Street, second to last location of Wright Cycle Company 1895-1897 per                Fisk and Todd.(third from last location concurrently at 20 West 2nd Street till 1896).

Obviously, this is only a partial list, and my hope is that over time, I'll continue to update this list and provide additional information for the various business sites as I come across the historical data. If interested, check back from time to time. As always, any input is welcomed!

Wright Brother GIS map Dayton Ohio
GIS 2016 map indicating addresses along West Third Street, between S Broadway and S Williams Streets. Courtesy of Montgomery County GIS.


Wright Brother business neighborhood
GIS 2016 map showing addresses along West Third Street east of South Williams. Courtesy of Montgomery County GIS.

Business near Wright Cycle Shop location
Letterhead from B. F. Arnold, 1133 West Third, The Ladie's Friend Washing Machine. Located to the west of the Wright Cycle location, from author's collection.

Business across the street from Wright Cycle Company
Letterhead from Gem City Buggy Works, 1134 West Third Steet. Across the street and to the west of the 1127 Wright Cycle Shop location. From author's collection.


Frank Hale served with Lorin Wright on Dayton City Commission
Frank Hale lived adjacent to the 1127 West Third Street Wright Cycle Shop and was friends of Orville and Wilbur Wright. He served as Mayor of Dayton with Lorin Wright, 1922-1925. Under the Dayton system of Government, the mayor is one of the five members of the city commission. Lorin served from 1920 through 1927. J.M. Switzer was mayor 1920, 1921; Frank Hale from 1922-1925, and Allen C. McDonald from 1926-1933. O.B. Kneisly also served on the commission from 1921-1925. Photo from author's collection.


Hand written on backside of this photo- "Wright Brothers original shop building as it appears today July 3, 1936......the day Henry Ford purchased it for removal to Greenfield Village. Fisk and Todd in "The Wright Brothers from Bicycle to Biplane" indicate the addition was constructed in 1912 (third window to right, center building, is the addition. The building to the left replaced the home of Frank Hale. Empty lots now exist where the center building and building to the right used to stand. Press photo from author's collection.

Google Earth view of intersection of North/South Williams and West Third Streets. North Williams runs up from center of view, and South Williams runs down from center. West Third runs east/west. Note the empty lots several buildings west of the intersection, former location of two of the three structures from the 1936 picture above. The Third building in the 1936 photo, to the west, still stands and can be seen here.

2016 West Third Street view showing location of former Wright Brothers Cycle Shop at 1127. Other address are repeated below for reference.
West Third Street Business Neighbors of the Wright's for map directly above:

1127      (1a) Last location of Wright Cycle Company, 1897-1903. Orville Wright continued to                   lease this space from Charles Webbert through 1915 as I understand.
1125       (1b) Fetters & Shank- Undertakers and Embalmers Office, in east half of building.
1123       (2a) John L Boulie- Worker of Tin, Sheet Iron, etc. Job and Repair Work a specialty.
1121       (2b) Chas Webbert- Dealer in Pumps, Bath Tubs and Gas Fixtures. Specialty made of     
               Drilling 6 and 8-inch Wells. Charles witnessed flights at Simms station; see my blog
               Witnesses of Wright Brother's Simm's Station (Huffman Prairie) 1905 Flights
1136       (Eb) S. Emens- Manufacturer and Dealer in Harness, Whips, Collars, Brushes, Bridles, 
               Combs. Repairing neatly done. All work warranted. (Jul 3, 1889 West Side News).
1134       (Ea) Gem City Buggy Works- Geo S Howell Prop’r, Dealer in Fine Carriages, Buggies,
               Phaetons, Wagons, Etc. Special Attention given to Painting and Repairing. Andrew  Smith                Sup’t. (year 1899)


Historical Aerial Views of West Third Street showing changes over time are indicated below. Views for 1938, 1949, 2016, and 1975 are shown. The location of Orville Wright's Lab and the Wright's Cycle Shop is identified in each photo. The Cycle Shop had already been relocated to Henry Ford's Greenfield Village prior to the 1938 photo. The Lab remained till 1978, and so can be seen in all but the 2016 photo. Also visible in each photo are the Hoover Building at southeast corner of West Third and Williams (blue roof in 2016 photo), and the 22 S Williams Wright Cycle Co.

1938 Historical aerial view of West Third Street showing Orville Wright's Lab location at 15 North Broadway, and former location of Wright Cycle Shop at 1127 West Third (arrow).

1949 Historical aerial view of West Third Street showing Orville Wright's Lab at 15 North Broadway, and former location of Wright Cycle Shop at 1127 West Third (arrow).

2016 Google Earth view of West Third Street showing former location of Orville Wright's Lab at 15 North Broadway, and former location of Wright Cycle Shop at 1127 West Third. Comparing with the 1949 view above is useful in understanding  the number of buildings that formally existed at the various present day empty lots.

1975 Historical aerial view of West Third Street showing Orville Wright's Lab at 15 North Broadway, and former location of Wright Cycle Shop at 1127 West Third (arrow). The Lab, still standing in this photo, was torn down in 1978.




Additional Reading:
The Wright Brothers from Bicycle to Biplane by Fred C. Fisk and Marlin W. Todd. This reference contains many interesting photos of the various Wright business sites.
Ohio Home of the Wright Brothers by Louis Chmiel. See the chapter on The Newspaper and Bicycle Business, and also the extensive Appendix with various maps of Dayton showing other sites of interest as related to the Wright Brothers.

Related Posts:
The Gem City Ice Cream Building and the Wright Cycle Shop

Witnesses of the Simm's Station (Huffman Prairie) 1905 Flights

A Journey Back in Time- An Interview with Orville Wright

Index of Topics

Revisions:
Greenfield Village link revised 7/17/16
Updates 7/30/16 from 1900 Census
8/5/16 GIS, Bing, and Historical aerial views added
8/14/16 GIS map east of S Williams added
6/1/17 B. F. Arnold letterhead added


Note added September 4, 2016-
I came across an interview by Ann Deines with Mary Ann Johnson dated February 21, 1996 in which Mary Ann states doubt that 1015 West Third address was actually a location of the Wright Cycle Exchange. She stated that she felt the evidence pointed to the address as being a typo. From the interview:
Ms Johnson: The first printing shop outside the house had been torn down. The second bicycle shop, the 1034 West Third, the building it had been damaged by fire, and I think it had just been torn down maybe in the 70's. It wasn't long before we got there. And 1005, the first one.....Even though Fred thinks there might be a 1015, I will say I have never found any other evidence, so I .....
Ms. Deines: For 1015?
Ms. Johnson: Right. And I've found some evidence where......well, some other evidence that I feel it's a typo. But that has to be decided. So we may or may not include it. I don't include it, other people do. But then we found out that 1005 had been incorporated in the building that's there now.....

Fred Fisk had first come across a newspaper section dated April 5, 1893 which included an add for the Wright Cycle Exchange and the address of 1015 West Third Street. He contacted Nancy Horlacher with the Dayton and Montgomery County Public Library and asked her to check newspapers for this ad. She found the ad had been printed in the Dayton Evening Press for dates March 25, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, April 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, for a total of 14 ads. Then another 11 ads were run between April 11 and May 16, all indicating the 1015 address. 

Could the ad have run for a total of 25 times without the Wright's noticing an error in the address? Should 1015 have read instead as 1005?

Note added October 11, 2016
Orville Wright was interviewed November 20, 1936, and per interview notes provided courtesy of The Henry Ford Wright Brother archives, Dearborn Michigan, "their first bicycle shop was located in the middle of the one thousand block on the #1005 north side of Third Street, that they were in this location only four or five months- November or December, 1892 to May 1893. They moved because there wasn't sufficient room. Their next location was on the south side of #1034 Third Street in the same block. In the early part of 1895 they moved again, this time to 22 So. Williams Street where they began building the Van Cleve bicycle in 1896...."






Friday, February 5, 2016

The Diamond Chain Company and The Wright Brothers

 
The Indianapolis Chain & Stamping Company was established in 1890 in Indianapolis Indiana. In Dayton Ohio that same year, Orville and Wilbur Wright were involved in printing "The West Side News", and then "The Evening Item" through July of 1890. In December of 1890, the Brothers provided services for Paul L. Dunbar, printing his "Dayton Tattler" newspaper. They later established their first Wright cycle shop in 1892 at 1005 West Third Street (current location of The Gem City Ice Cream Building). In 1899, the American Bicycle Company purchased the Indianapolis Chain & Stamping Company and renamed it as Diamond Chain Factory; Lucius M. Wainwright became the company's President. During these early years, the Wrights first purchased chains for their bicycles and then eventually, chains for their flying machines. In 1905, the Diamond Chain Factory was incorporated as the Diamond Chain & Manufacturing Company.

The Diamond Chain Factory as it appeared in 1911.

From 1911 Diamond Chain and Mfg Co. Power Chains and Sprockets catalog. From author's personal collection.

Lucius M. Wainwright's son Guy A. Wainwright, became President of the Diamond Chain Company after his father passed away in 1931. He wrote to Louis Christman June 29th of 1948 concerning the 1905 Wright Flyer III restoration project at Carillon Park, Dayton Ohio. Some portions of this interesting letter follow:
Diamond Chain Company and Wright Brothers Flyer III
June 29, 1948 letter from Guy A. Wainwright to Louis P. Christman mentioning his father's early relationship with the Wright Brothers. From author's personal collection.
 
1948 letter Guy Wainwright to Louis Christman


Guy Wainwright letter to Louis Christman
Portion of June 29, 1948 letter, Guy A. Wainwright quotes from August 11, 1911 letter written by his father.

From the quoted August 11, 1911 letter by Lucius to his son concerning chains provided by the company for the German Wright machines, he indicated they used the ordinary #155 chain initially. From the 1911 Catalog, this chain is pictured below:

From 1911 Diamond Chain Company catalog. From author's personal collection.


Wright Flyer III at Carillon Park, engine and propeller drive assembly. Author's photo.




Louis Christman responded to Guy Wainwright's letter on July 8th.
"Dear Mr Wainwright, We want to thank you for your letter of June 29th and for the interest you have shown....concerning chains for the reconstruction of a Wright Bros Aeroplane........

Carillon Park, Diamond Chain Company
Portion of Louis Christman July 8th, 1948 letter to Guy Wainwright, Diamond Chain Company concerning the restoration of the 1905 Wright Flyer III. From author's personal collection.

Portion of second page of Louis Christman July 8th, 1948 letter to Guy Wainwright. "This is authentic because Mr. Orville Wright personally gave us the propeller shaft with the sprocket and the crankshaft sprocket in Dec 1947...."

Louis Christman further writes "It is Col. E. A. Deed's wish that we make every effort to restore the Aeroplane as near as possible in conformity with the 1905 status. We are using all available original parts and replacing missing parts with duplicates conforming to the design and construction in accordance with the Wright Bros practices of that time and, for this reason we are requesting that the chains should conform to the sample submitted."

The letter continues, and Christman indicates another chain type which was used for "driving the exhaust valve cam shaft from the crank shaft", a type #45. This "has a diamond shaped hole pierced thru..."

Louis Christman July 8th, 1948 letter to Guy Wainwright, "this type of chain has a diamond shaped hole pierced thru the connecting links which conform to photograph records of the "Kitty-Hawk" and 1905 model Aeroplanes."

Chain type 45 from the 1911 Diamond Chain and Mfg Co catalog.



Guy Wainwright responded to Louis Christman's July 8th letter on the 12th with the following....

Portion of July 12th, 1948 letter from Guy Wainwright to Louis Christman. "We consider it a privilege to participate in Col. Deed's interesting project."

Col. Deeds responded to Guy Wainwrights kind offer of providing the chains (at no cost) for the 1905 Wright Flyer III restoration......

Portion of first page of July 29th, 1948 letter from Col. Edward Deeds to Guy Wainwright. "Mr. Wright immediately became interested, and he very shortly suggested reconstructing the 1905 plane which made its many important flights in Dayton, and on which most of their important improvements were developed. We had originally planned a replica of the 1903 Kitty Hawk plane......A colonial and fireproof building is now under construction. It is to house the plane......" From author's personal collection.


"A colonial and fireproof building", Carillon Park, March of 2015 photo by author.


A short History of the Diamond Chain Company is also available at the Diamond Chain Company website.

The Diamond Chain Company Papers, 1890-1993, Collection #M 1019, are available at The Manuscript and Visual Collections Department at The William Henry Smith Memorial Library, Indiana Historical Society.


Index of Topics