18 Lesser Known Historic Sites in the United States that We've All Been Missing Out On

A Wright Flyer III with Orville Wright at the controls soars over Huffman Prairie in 1905. Wikimedia

3. Huffman Prairie in Ohio is where the Wright brothers learned how to fly

Following their first successful powered flights at Kitty Hawk in North Carolina in December of 1903, Wilbur and Orville Wright returned to their home town of Dayton, Ohio to learn how to master the techniques of controlled flight. An empty field outside of Dayton known as Huffman Prairie, natural grassland used for the grazing of cattle, was an ideal location for their experiments. After obtaining permission of the owner the brothers commuted from their Dayton home to the field using the interurban. A hangar for the airplane and a system used to catapult it into flight were erected on the property. The brothers made well over 100 flights over the property, which was secluded enough for them to perform their experiments in relative secrecy.

By 1910 the brothers were operating the Wright Flying School on the property, training future aviators as pilots. Among them was Henry Arnold, known as Hap Arnold, who commanded the United States Army Air Corps, and later Army Air Forces, during the Second World War. Another student was Marjorie Stinson, who became the first female airmail pilot in the United States. Huffman Prairie is physically located within the grounds of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, though it has separate entrances and is secured from the rest of the base, making it accessible to visitors. Replicas of the Wright’s hangar and catapult are on display. The little known site is part of the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historic Park, established in 1992.