Many people know about Kitty Hawk and about Dayton, Ohio, where the Wright brothers had their bicycle shop, but a lot of people don’t know that Wilbur Wright was born right here in Indiana. It was Milton Wright (Orville Wright’s father) that was born in a log cabin on a farm in Rush County.
More than a century ago, his son’s Wilbur and Orville Wright “slipped the surly bonds of earth” and took to the skies. “It was amazing what they did, says Charles Fields. We are so accustomed to flying today that we have to stop and think what it was like back then, how dangerous it was to do what they did.” Fields, along with a group of volunteers helps maintain the birthplace of Wilbur Wright in Henry County. “The state of Indiana owned and operated this site from 1929 to 1995 but it is now owned by a local volunteer group, the Wilbur Wright Birthplace Preservation Society, a non-profit organization,” stated Fields.
In the midst of vast corn and soybean fields in Henry County stands the birthplace of Wilbur Wright. Along with the restored Wright home is a life-size replica of the Wright Flyer, a large museum featuring family artifacts, an exhibit of the Kitty Hawk campsite, a Main Street set in the year of the flight, an actual F-84 Jet, numerous newspaper clippings about the Wrights, a gift shop, shelter house, community center and picnic area. The peaceful rural setting of Milltown in East Central Indiana also has an airstrip for the Henry County Wright Flyers.
This historic site is marked by a sign indicating it is the birth place of Wilbur Wright. Along with any type of historic site comes constant maintenance and refurbishment. Such would be the case with this historic maker. After years of weather and wear, the sign is receiving much needed attention. A new post has been placed on site and the sign itself has being repainted and lettered in gold. Under the leadership of Julie Leisure, club sponsor, The Little Hoosiers Club at Mays Elementary School is taking part in the restoration project and hopes to plan a trip to this historic site.
On Sept. 26, the sign was unloaded at Mays Elementary School and members of the Little Hoosiers Club went to work on helping bring it back to life. “This is a great group of kids and we look forward to eventually seeing our part in this project on site,” stated Leisure.
Marianne Scott is the Legacy Fund director/Information officer with Rush County Schools.