Wright-Dunbar Business District

The Wright-Dunbar Business District is a five-block commercial corridor on West Third Street in Dayton, Ohio that begins at Edwin C. Moses Boulevard to the east and ends at Paul Laurence Dunbar Street to the west. The area includes the Wright-Dunbar Historic District, a two-block section of the corridor that served as the centerpiece of the neighborhood of the Wright brothers and Paul Laurence Dunbar at the peak of their creativity in the fields of aviation and literature.


The Wright-Dunbar Business District, also known as the West Third Street Historic District, is a commercial district made up of two and three story brick buildings built between 1885 and 1924. As is typical of turn-of-the-century commercial districts, most of the buildings originally had stores on the ground level with offices and residences above. The style of the buildings is predominately Romanesque Revival, with several examples of Italianate and Classical Revival buildings enlivening the mix. It is also architecturally significant as a cohesive collection of late 19th and early 20th century buildings, which give people the opportunity to experience a virtually uninterrupted historic streetscape.

This neighborhood was one of Dayton’s first streetcar suburbs, and owes its development to the building of the Dayton Street Railway by W. P. Huffman and H. S. Williams in 1869. Commercial ventures sprang up along the rail line and residential neighborhoods followed behind.