Carillon Historical Park

Wealthy people who spend their resources creating something affordable for others to enjoy are some of my favorite people. It’s even better when what they create disguises learning with fun.

Once upon a time, there was a couple named Edward and Edith Deeds. He was a noted industrialist and they were well known as Dayton, Ohio elite. Their list of contributions to the world and to Dayton is pretty lengthy but the one I want to talk about is Carillon Historical Park.

This 65 acre park and museum center is a terrific day trip for any history buff or anyone looking for a fun way to learn about something different.

You enter through a visitors center and rather large museum. Here you’ll find exhibits about the stories that make Dayton special. Did you know that Dayton gave the world the cash register and the electric automobile self starter?

Under this roof, you’ll find everything from an enormous collection of gorgeous antique cash registers to a working carousel you can ride on. There are antique toys, Frigidaire appliances and artwork. Theres an inexplicably large collection of vintage beer steins and pictures of entertainers who fare from the Gem City.

There’s a ton of neat stuff to see.

And then you go outside to a village made up of recreated buildings that are historically important. I told you earlier this week about the incredible Wright Brothers tribute. There’s also a 19th century school house, an early tavern, a small filling station and print shop. There’s a museum of transportation where you can walk through train and trolley cars that are so ornate they put our modern public transit vehicles to shame.

One of the most moving museums is about the 1913 flood. They use a combination of pictures, artifacts and sound to tell deeply personal and moving accounts of what it was like. There’s an imagine of people using telephone lines to escape. Sounds effects convincingly transport you to another time. The blue line on the building’s exterior represents the flood line and will break your heart. It’s so high you have to stand back to even see it.

This park was dedicated in 1950 and still grows. In fact, it is vibrant. There are so many interesting things to see here that it is well worth the $12 adult admission.

In case you are wondering, they do have a Carillon here. Known as the Deeds Carillon, it is 151 feet tall and has 57 bells, making it the largest Carillon in Ohio. And like an idiot, I didn’t even think to snap a picture of it. Next trip!

This place reminds me a lot of Henry Ford’s Greenfield Village in Dearborn, Michigan. It’s smaller than Greenfield but it’s also cheaper and closer to home for my Ohio readers – perfect for a late summer day trip!

Next time, we’ll talk about where we ate. Meanwhile, plan your trip to this fabulous place by learning more here. Oh, and that carousel? It’s just a dollar a ride!