‘A great way of celebrating that heritage;’ Wright Flyer III sculpture moved to new home

The sculpture that was once the centerpiece of the invention station artworks at RiverScape MetroPark has a new home.

A replica sculpture of 1905 Wright Fyler III has been moved to the corner of Edwin C. Moses and West Third Street after spending two years in storage at Montgomery County’s Solid Waste District in Moraine.

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The sculpture was purchased in 2001 for $165,000 by the Montgomery County Commissioners.

“Our County Commissioners at the time had a great vision for this piece, creating something that visitors would always remember and identify as an icon in the birthplace of aviation. When the land was sold and it had to move, we immediately began working on a plan for a new home,” Montgomery County Commission President Debbie Lieberman said.

The relocation was made possible by Wright Dunbar Incorporated and the City of Dayton, where each donated a piece of land for the project.

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“We are thankful the City of Dayton and Wright Dunbar Incorporated donated a parcel of land. But even more so, we really appreciate getting their buy-in so we could move forward with this project,” Montgomery County Administrator Michael Colbert said

The sculpture was created by Alabama artist Larry Godwin, who had previously made two other Wright Fyler sculptures in Florida and Alabama.

“The neighbors of Wright-Dunbar Village are very pleased that the county chose the corner of Edwin C. Moses Blvd. and Third St., our neighborhood, for the relocation of the Wright sculpture. The anticipation was high, and it was fun to see the installation day by day. There were so many positive comments and photos from various social media sources about the installation. We are excited to see it completed and proud to have it as an impressive and appropriate gateway to the neighborhood!” President of Wright-Dunbar Village, Jeff Jackson, said.

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The full-scale Wright Flyer III replica features bronze figures with Orville Wright on the ground, cheering on their accomplishment. This sculpture was a highlight of RiverScape for 20 years.

“Our new Third Street Bridge was constructed with great attention to Dayton history, complete with images of Paul Lawrence Dunbar and the Wright brothers. Locating this sculpture near the bridge is an extension for that Montgomery County story, and it really calls greater attention to the historic neighborhood Dunbar and the Wright brothers actually called home,” County Commissioner Judy Dodge said.

A curved concrete wall surrounds the statue with “1905 Wright Flight Flyer III” on it. Later this month, pavers, sidewalks, and landscaping are to be installed.

“In December, Montgomery County was designated as Ohio’s only American World War II Heritage City by the National Park Service. The bravery and sacrifice of our men and women were critical to the country’s war effort. That, combined with the innovation of the Wright Brothers and other Montgomery County citizens really pushed our county forward as a global leader. This sculpture is a great way of celebrating that heritage, and we are so proud to be part of preserving it,” Commissioner Carolyn Rice said