Modern History in the Making

 Modern History in the Making

Dayton History’s new multipurpose center to open soon at Carillon Historical Park

By Kevin Michell

Dayton’s Carillon Historical Park has long been a valuable public space for the city and the surrounding region, but the impending completion of its new Heritage Center of Regional Leadership will add a magnificent multipurpose facility to the 65-acre open-air museum.

Over its nearly 70 years of existence, Carillon Historical Park has provided a place for visitors that is chock full of historical exhibits and public amenities. In that span, the park and its parent organization Dayton History—founded in 2005 with the merger of Carillon Historical Park and the Montgomery County Historical Society—have kept adding to the appeal.

This fall will bring the opening of one of the park’s biggest additions in a while. The 32,000-square-foot Heritage Center of Regional Leadership will connect the Carillon Brewing Co. with the nearby Kettering Family Education Center at the eastern end of the park.

This new building will house historical exhibits such as a restored Barney & Smith railcar from 1904 and a gallery of regional leaders and their stories, as well as rentable spaces and rooms open to community use.

“Dayton History seeks to inspire generations by connecting them with the unique people, places and events that changed Dayton and the world,” says Lauryn Bayliff, director of community development for Dayton History. “With classrooms, meeting spaces, a new exhibit gallery, an outdoor dining plaza, new restrooms and a banquet facility with seating for 700 guests the new Leadership Center will provide ample space to find such inspiration.”

This new building joins many others in Carillon Historical Park that are equal parts public amenity and museum. The James F. Dicke Family Transportation Center, near the historic Morrison Bridge, continues to be one of the most popular destinations for outdoor weddings while also housing several restored 19th century vehicles.

The handcarved Carousel of Dayton Innovation, featuring 29 figures of the city’s impact and legacy for children and families to ride, opened in 2011. Carillon Brewing Co., opened in 2014, is a brewery located within the park that functions both as museum and beer hall. There, brews and ciders are painstakingly created according to 19th century recipes.

Construction of the Heritage Center of Regional Leadership began with a groundbreaking in July 2018. Now the slightly over yearlong project is on the verge of opening its doors to the public.

“We are delighted that several financial champions have stepped forward to help make this Leadership Center a reality,” says Dayton History President & CEO Brady Kress.

The Heritage Center is yet another addition to one of the country’s fastest-growing historical centers, furthering Carillon Historical Park’s reputation as a unique and exemplary combination of public space, museum, educational and entertainment venue and event facility. In addition, it’s yet another helpful resource for aiding Dayton History’s mission of connecting visitors young and old with the figures and events which have shaped the city’s history.

“We are hopeful Carillon Historical Park’s new Heritage Center of Regional Leadership will inspire a new generation of proud Daytonians that will someday make history all their own,” says Bayliff.