A Proud Legacy

 A Proud Legacy

Interior designers to showcase their skills at the Leland Manor to benefit Dayton Philharmonic group

By David Bukvic

In the first half of the 20th century, a mid-sized city in the heart of our nation was hard at work creating the new technologies that would put America on the map for innovation and manufacturing. In a very short time, Dayton, Ohio, had become the cradle of the industrial revolution, ushered in by giants such as the Wright Brothers and John Patterson along with many others who left their stamp on the new age as well. These were men of high ambition and rare genius.

Enter George Leland, a man cast from the same mold. His talent was innate. Self-taught in mathematics and engineering, he was responsible for more than 100 patents over the course of his amazing career. He arrived in Dayton in 1918 with three little girls and a pregnant wife to take a job at the growing Delco Products Division where he designed a winding machine capable of mass production of coils for Charles “Boss” Kettering’s new aircraft generator.

Of course, George Leland and Hazel Leland required a unique home to contain their burgeoning family and expanding interests. Raised on a farm, Leland wanted some green space around his home. So, he directed his attention north of Dayton.

As their family grew from three little girls to a total of 6 children they began to plan for a house at 1375 E. Siebenthaler Ave. Between 1926 and 1932 the home was constructed and the family moved in. At 6,700 square feet the home was large enough to hold them all, including his various projects, yet gracious enough to be a warm, solid family home.

The Leland Manor sits on four acres where tennis courts and gardens welcomed both family and guests. It overlooks the Wegerzyn Garden Center and boasts six bedrooms, three-and-a-half baths, fireplaces, wood floors and exposed beams throughout. It is a wonderful example of the classic Tudor style which was the rage in American home design up through WWII.

Leland was a man who needed to control his own destiny. By the mid-1930s he had departed Delco and was now running his own manufacturing facility at 1501 Webster St. The Leland Electric Co. employed 500 workers and sold a variety of electric motors of Leland’s design. The company was affectionately known as “The Leland” and helped carry many Dayton families through the Great Depression.

At the same time, up the hill at the new Dayton Art Institute, an enterprising young musician named Paul Katz was premiering a new orchestra. Known first as the Dayton Chamber Orchestra, and later as the Dayton Philharmonic, the new organization’s first concert was June 1, 1933. A 25-cent ticket would buy you a seat. Two decades later, the Dayton Philharmonic Volunteer Association was born to support the education mission of the orchestra and its youth orchestra.

And now, these two threads of history have come together as the Dayton Philharmonic Volunteer Association presents a glimpse into our city’s legacy, re-envisioned through the skills of local interior designers. The 2019 Designer’s Show House and Gardens opens on May 3 featuring the Leland Manor. The proceeds will help support the Dayton Philharmonic’s many education programs.

George and Hazel would be proud.