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Paul Laurence Dunbar House, Dayton

4.3
#7 of 8 in Museums in Dayton
The Paul Laurence Dunbar House was the 1904-1906 home of poet Paul Laurence Dunbar in Dayton, Ohio. It is a historic house museum owned by the state of Ohio and operated by Dayton History on behalf of the Ohio Historical Society. It is located at 219 Paul Laurence Dunbar Street (formerly called North Summit Street) in Dayton.HistoryDunbar had a long association with Dayton. He was born there in 1872, the son of former slaves, and his first poems were printed in the Dayton Herald in 1888. His first book, Oak and Ivy (1892) was published in Dayton by the United Brethren Publishing House as well.After serving as an elevator operator in Dayton and meeting some success for his writings, Dunbar took a job in Washington, D.C., at the Library of Congress.Dunbar purchased the home for his mother, Matilda Dunbar, in June 1904. The house is an eight-room brick structure on a quiet street. When Dunbar separated from his wife Alice Ruth Moore in 1902, he moved in as well.By the time Dunbar moved into the house, he was very sick with tuberculosis. He also suffered from alcoholism. It was in this home that Dunbar died in 1906. His death that February was signified by a black wreath which hung on the front door of the home.After Dunbar's death, his mother Matilda lived here for the remainder of her life and kept his books, manuscripts, and study as he left them. In 1932, it was reported that Matilda held an open house every year on June 27, the anniversary of her son's birth. She died February 24, 1934.
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Paul Laurence Dunbar House Reviews
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4.7
TripAdvisor
  • We have been to Paul Lawerence DUNBAR'S house several times. The grandkids get the biggest joy from viewing the bathroom. It has period fixtures. Very entertaining!!  more »
  • Mr. Dunbar's house tour, video and small museum are all free, run by the National Parks. He was a poet, novelist, newspaperman and master of music lyrics. He was a big deal, not just in African Americ...  more »
  • The House is well preserved and interesting. More interesting is the history about Dunbar and his family. Dunbar played an important part in history, establishing African-American writers. Didn't know...  more »
Google
  • A nice visitor center attached to this home is a great place to kill some time before the next home tour, showing some of the books, clothing, and other memorabilia owned by Paul Laurence Dunbar. The home tour itself is quite memorable in that it is different than a lot of the typical home tours within the National Park Service as well as state-level historical societies. Most are for presidents, where one can tell that more often than not the homes were built to above-average means and standard of living. Here, there is some evidence that Dunbar's rise to national acclaim helped furnish more for the den and some living areas, but the home retains its humble roots. It is very interesting and different as a home tour in that regard. It is incredible to think how this man managed to produce such a large volume of writing and get a good chunk of it critically acclaimed across the nation, all before the civil rights movement. It is an upbeat feeling to consider that a truly soulful expression can touch people in a way that helps people look past the author's skin color. Well done, National Park Service and Ohio History Connection. Oh, a tip, there is a public parking lot with plenty of space just to the east, but there should be enough street parking just in front of the home at any given time.
  • Knowledgeable staff. Off the beaten track, great background information about the author resorted and maintained wekl
  • It's a great tour. The National Park Service gives a great tour of the home and are knowledgeable in every area of the home. So far I've been twice and each time I learn something new.
  • It was very knowledgeable, I went with my friends.
  • A quick, enjoyable add-on stop for any visitor to Dayton. There is a brief film to watch, and National Park Rangers provide a short, informative tour of the final home of the famous poet and friend of the Wright Brothers.

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Where to stay in Dayton

Modern hotels with both executive suites and standard rooms are conveniently located downtown. Just outside this area are family-owned bed and breakfasts, which have fewer rooms but an abundance of character. Both locations offer easy access to sites in the downtown area.
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