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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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Reviews
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
33 reviews
Google
4.9
TripAdvisor
  • August 2, 2017
    they've done a wonderful job of keeping the Dunbar home as it was in his time-so great to walk through and feel as though time stopped and he'd be walking through the door at any moment. it brings his...  more »
  • August 1, 2017
    We didn't know much about Dunbar before visiting Dayton, only what we'd read about his connection to the Wright brothers. But we learned a lot visiting this beautiful home. The ranger who gave us the ...  more »
  • June 14, 2017
    The Paul Laurence Dunbar House was built by Dunbar for his mother. It has been restored to look as it would when he was still alive and lived there with his mother. The tour is done by State Park empl...  more »
Google
  • July 5, 2017
    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.
  • April 9, 2017
    This home was so beautiful. It was a wonderful experience visiting a home such a powerful person in history lived in.. The nice guy who gave the tour was very knowledgeable of the history and a great personality
  • June 9, 2017
    Such history! Amazing. Please visit and tell a friend.
  • January 30, 2017
    Paul Laurence Dunbar was a literary genius whose poetry, prose and dramatic works as well as his very existence as a black complexioned celebrity vindicates the humanity of a beseiged people. Dunbar was a national icon with schools named for him from his home in Dayton to Little Rock, Lexington, Baltimore, Ft. Myers, Ft. Worth and Washington, D.C. which is infact the first Black public high school in the USA - see the book, "First Class: The Legacy of Dunbar, America's First Black Public High School" by Alison Stewart, Melissa Harris-Perry (Foreword by Melissa Harris-Perry). It is an honor to walk into Dunbar's home and see his possessions kept so well over the years by the Ohio Historical Society, Dayton History and the National Park service. It is my hope that the site will again employ a full time African American curator of the caliber of the retired LaVerne Sci.
  • July 6, 2016
    Nice tour, "the first recliner" and a dining room cupboard that makes into a drop down bed.

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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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