DAYTON, Ohio — A building once used by the airplane inventors, the Wright Brothers, is getting new life. 

What You Need To Know

  • The building organizers said the Wright Brothers used it as an airplane factory sits empty near Abbey and Third streets in Dayton

  • Dayton’s Aviation Heritage National Historical Park service started a volunteer clean up

  • Organizers hope to one day turn the building into an airplane museum

Kendell Thompson has been checking for vandals who broke into what looks like just an old dilapidated building in Dayton. 

“This is why people are breaking in, for stripping wire and selling it,” said Thompson. 

Thompson is the superintendent of Dayton’s Aviation Heritage National Historical Park. 

He's been trying to keep vandals out because they’re trying to save these empty buildings. He said they're historic. 

“We’re looking at one of the most important structures in aviation history, and you could argue, as part of human history and the world," said Thompson. 

More than 100 years ago, the Wright Brothers, the brothers who invented the airplane, used the buildings as a factory to make early airplanes. 

Bob Petersen, knows that history all too well. He’s been a park ranger for decades and saw the old plane factory used as a GM car factory and then on to being unused.

“Right across the sidewalk were a lot of other buildings. You could not get into this area without a visitor pass, this was a 45-acre industrial complex, but like a lot of heavy industry it has left the city of Dayton,” said Peterson. 

That’s why, now, he’s leading the volunteer effort to help get it back into shape, starting with the grass. 

“Clean up the weeds, make its appearance a little bit greater than it is right now,” said Petersen.

It’s the start of a multi-million dollar project to restore it and one day turn it into a museum. 

They said it could be years before that happens, but to Thompson and Petersen, the old building has potential in its history.

“I feel the spirit of Wilbur and Orville [Wright] out here, because they were both here,” Petersen said. “This is where the industry we take for granted today really starts.”