Arnold House a landmark of Wright-Patt's rich history

  • Published
  • By Isabel Velez
  • 88th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio  –  The Arnold House is the oldest house on base, built in 1841 and serves as a symbol of Air Force history.

Officially designated as building 8 the house is located on area A at the corner of Pearson Rd. and Wright Ave.

The house is named after Gen. Henry Harley “Hap” Arnold, who played a major role in establishing the U.S. Air Force. Arnold was a major at the time he moved into the home, and he resided there from 1929 to 1932. Since then it has been utilized as a residence, office, and event space.

This wasn't Arnold's first time being in the area around Wright-Patterson.  He learned to fly in 1911 at Huffman Prairie with Orville Wright at the Wright Flying School located there at that time.

The house has undergone several renovations and additions over the years, but some areas have remained intact since the early 1800s.

The original design is a cube structure with a flat roof that has since been expanded. Much of the interior has been repainted and restored while the original flooring remains intact. There is a furniture restoration plan underway that will add period pieces back into the home.

Over the years Arnold house has held new relevance to the community. On September 19, 1986 a POW/MIA memorial was added to the south yard in honor of Airmen who were former prisoners of war and for those still missing in action.

The memorial is surrounded by benches and shrubs to promote reflection and remembrance to those who fought and never returned.

A tribute to the Wright brothers is located on the North porch entrance from the side walk. Consisting of a stone bench with two bowler hats it serves as a marker to the aviation history this location holds for the Wright brothers, and for the U.S. Air Force.

Jene Curell, 88th Air Base Wing protocol chief is the custodian of the Arnold house and considers it to be a gift of historical significance and a cultural necessity to the base. As the house is no longer an office space Curell has been working to ensure the Arnold house is a usable asset for military members.

While the house is a continuous project much of it will remain unchanged. It will continue to stand as a reminder of those who came before, and how hard work, though done almost a century ago, lives on to serve those to come.

NOTE:  This story was updated on April 30, 2020 to correct the dates that Gen. Arnold actually lived in the Arnold House.