Thursday, December 20, 2012

Where America's Spaceport Began

The interim Visitor Information Center as it appeared in the December 22, 1966 Spaceport News. The site was on the mainland side of the Indian River at the old Gate 3 entrance.

In the December 14 post titled, “America's Spaceport, Part 2” I included the above photo of the original Visitor Information Center in 1966.

Today I went out to the site to see what features might be recognizable from that location, and found quite a few vestiges of the VIC.

Look at the location of the Mercury-Redstone in the original photo, then compare to this one. This is where the Redstone was located.

In the far distance is today's Astronaut Hall of Fame, but notice the row of palm trees. Those are clearly the palm trees that in 1966 ran between the bus loop and the grass parking lot.

So if we look to the south, we see what remains of the foundation of what I'm told was the gift shop. We can also see the rest of the palm trees, still in formation.

Look in the upper-right of the 1966 photo, and you'll see the original badging station. Compare to this photo, and center-left you'll see a square in the parking lot that's been paved over which was the building's location.

The badge, of course, was necessary to enter KSC through Gate 3. The original Gate 3 is at top-center in the 1966 photo, in the center divider.

In today's photo, that location is roughly where the vehicles are parked along the westbound lanes. A small electrical box connection is still in the center divider.

Let's put it all together with this overhead view from Google Maps:

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