MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - The City of Montgomery Tuesday celebrated its place in aviation history with the dedication of the Wright Brothers Park. It used to be called Overlook Park, but was renamed in honor of the brothers after a recent renovation and redecoration.
The park, which overlooks Interstate 65, now features a full size replica of the Wright Flyer, the brothers' famous plane.
The brand new Wright Brothers Park is just a stone's throw from where Orville and Wilbur started the first civilian aviation school in the United States back in 1910. That place is now the site of Maxwell Air Force Base. Both the brothers and the base play significant roles in Montgomery's place in American aviation.
A new pavilion and other improvements were added to the park before the Wright Flyer replica was placed on its perch above the Alabama River.
On hand for the dedication was a descendant of the Wright brothers. Amanda Wright Lane is their great-grand-niece. She presented Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange with a special gift.
"This is Wil Bear Wright," she said while holding up a stuffed bear. "Corny, I know. But we have a program in Dayton, Ohio where if the kids visit, we have 14 aviation heritage sites, they have a passport. If they go to at least seven of them and get their passport stamped, they get a Wil bear."
Lanes said she was giving one to the mayor "somewhat unearned."
Maxwell AFB has some history of its own. It is named for another famous Alabama aviator; its namesake is Army pilot William Maxwell who was killed in a crash in the Philippines in 1920.