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Kennedy Space Center was born on July 1, 1962.
Its birth name was the Launch Operations Center, but it had other names before that.
In its earliest days, it was the Merritt Island Launch Area under the direction of the Defense Department. Once the land was acquired by NASA, it became the agency's Launch Operations Directorate, a division of Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville.
After much internal politicking, it was finally decided that the LOD deserved equal rank to other NASA centers, so on July 1, 1962 it became the Launch Operations Center.
Lyndon Johnson announced on November 28, 1963, that the center would be renamed after the slain President. Not many remember that Kennedy had visited Cape Canaveral on November 16, 1963, to inspect the Saturn 1 launch facilities at Launch Complex 37 before moving on to Texas and his date with destiny.
President John F. Kennedy visits Cape Canaveral Launch Complex 37 on November 16, 1963. Image source: John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum. The photo is in the public domain.
KSCVC already has banners up around the facility honoring the 50th anniversary. Photos are below.
UPDATE July 2, 2012 — Florida Today published this article on the 50th anniversary events at the Visitor Complex, and this video: