Dayton and the Indy 500

Hawthorn Hill, located in Oakwood’s rolling, idyllic hills, has long been synonymous with the Wright family. Upon completion in 1914, Hawthorn Hill became the residence of Orville, Katharine, and their elderly father, Bishop Milton Wright, and hosted famous visitors such as Charles Lindbergh, Henry Ford, and Thomas Edison.

John W. Stoddard, the son of Henry Stoddard, was one of the early settlers of Oakwood. In 1869, Mr. Stoddard was one of the first to promote the idea of the streetcar. The Stoddard Company, in 1884, was widely known for its quality-made agricultural implements but in 1904, the company announced it was turning its attention to manufacture automobiles and established the Dayton Motor Car Co. Soon after, it began production on the famous “Stoddard-Dayton” automobile.

A “Stoddard-Dayton” won the first race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 1909 and was the pace car in 1911 for the first Indianapolis 500.
In 1910, the Dayton Motor Car Company was sold to the United States Motor Company of Detroit, a rival of General Motors. The “Stoddard-Dayton” went bankrupt in 1913, being unable to compete with larger car companies out of Detroit. The “Maxwell Car Company” was a remnant of the Stoddard division in Dayton. The “Maxwell” gained public attention when it was added to the comedy routine of Jack Benny during his many early radio broadcasts.
1906 Stoddard Dayton Car Ad

Places to Go

  1. Dayton Art Institute Located next to the Masonic Temple: John W. Stoddard platted an exclusive residential suburb east of Dayton View on “Steele’s Hill” in Belmonte Park. In 1890, he envisioned a plat filled with pretentious homes in a beautiful woodland setting. His own magnificent mansion crowned the hill overlooking the city, now the site of the Masonic Temple. Later, other prominent Dayton citizens such as the Canby’s, Hawes’, Reibold’s, Seybold’s, and Elder’s maintained their homes there.
  2. Woodland Cemetery and Arboretum: Mr. Stoddard was born October 1, 1837, and died September 18, 1917, at the age of 79. He is located in Section 119 Lot 1435. Other famous final resting places include the Wright brothers, Paul Laurence Dunbar, and Erma Bombeck.
  3. Hawthorn Hill: Hawthorn Hill is Orville Wright’s success mansion. You can join the ranks of Charles Lindbergh, Henry Ford, and Thomas Edison as visitors to the world’s first pilot’s last home. Tours are available on a limited basis and begin at Carillon Historical Park. Advance pre-paid admission is required.
  4. America’s Packard Museum: America’s Packard Museum was founded in 1992 by long-time car collector Robert Signom II. Located in an original Packard dealership building constructed in 1917, the museum has officially taken the name of the original dealership – The Citizens Motorcar Company – but has become known as “America’s Packard Museum”. Car Collector magazine named the museum one of the “Top Ten” Auto Museums in The United States, and the Society of Automotive Historians conferred the prestigious James J. Bradley Award upon the Museum for its “exemplary efforts” in preserving motor vehicle resource materials.