Carillon Historical Park celebrates the opening of its new Winsupply Center of LeadershipKevin Michell For almost 70 years, Carillon Historical Park has distilled so much of Dayton’s rich legacy into a single place for all to enjoy. The 65-acre park on the Great Miami River gives its visitors a place to learn, gather and relax—now it celebrates the opening of its new, multipurpose Winsupply Center of Leadership.
The $10 million addition sits in between the Kettering Family Education Center and the Carillon Brewing Co. building near the park’s entrance.
“It provides a good and needed welcome not only into Carillon Park but also, we feel, a welcome to Dayton, Ohio,” says Brady Kress, CEO and president of Dayton History, the nonprofit organization that manages Carillon Historical Park.
The new addition is helpful in a multitude of ways. The leadership center contains new gallery spaces for displaying key artifacts in Dayton History’s possession such as an unrestored fragment of the 1905 Wright Flyer—the third powered aircraft the Wright brothers built—and one of the largest pieces of the plane still in existence, an antique NCR cash register and the one millionth Huffy bicycle produced.
These items, just a few of the three million historically and culturally significant artifacts Dayton History has accumulated, provide a glimpse of what Carillon Historical Park can teach visitors to the city and residents. After all, not everyone knows that the first cash register was invented in Dayton or that The Huffy Corp. is still headquartered here.
“They’re just single artifacts that represent an entire story and the rest of that story is told deeper in the park,” Kress says, pointing out that they are intentionally kept in a nonticketed area of the park so anyone stopping by can see them and have their interest piqued. “One thing we wanted to make sure of is that even if you were only here for a short time you didn’t leave Carillon or didn’t leave Dayton without knowing some key elements of our story.”
Carillon Historical Park sees about 50,000 students visit annually from around 22 surrounding counties. The popularity of Dayton History’s workshops and classes—which span topics such as local inventions, engineering and flight—necessitated the addition of several classrooms within the Winsupply Center of Leadership.
But perhaps the jewel of the new building is its indoor pavilion, which serves as a needed upgrade for rentable event space at the park. Before the leadership center’s opening any indoor gathering on the grounds had to happen after 5 p.m. and be kept to less than 150 people. The new pavilion can comfortably host up to 700 and is open to reservation any time.
This event space was created with a painstaking attention to detail, taking design inspirations for the wallpaper and carpeting from the ornate decorations of pre-war NCR cash registers. The second-floor balcony railing was inspired by the railing at James Ritty’s Dayton saloon, which operated in the late 1800s, a flourish that only occurred after Kress went through hundreds of photos in the Dayton History archives.
The Winsupply Center of Leadership—as well as the renovated Culp’s Café connected to it—is finished and open to the public for everyone to catch some of the infectious passion that Dayton History has for the city.