I wasnt sure what to post this week, I dont have anything old or sepia in my collection to go with the theme, but still wanted to do the theme because the Space Shuttle and things of that nature are big where I am from. So this post veers a little off from my usual posts on this blog.
So welcome to Lancaster, Ca also called The Antelope Valley
“Early in its history, Lancaster was little more than a whistle-stop on the Southern Pacific Railroad between San Francisco and Los Angeles….. The settlement grew quickly, however, and by 1890, Lancaster was quite prosperous. The town experienced another small boom at the turn of the 20th century when gold and borax were discovered simultaneously in the mountains around the Antelope Valley. With the advent of the aerospace industry came the groundwork for the modern city growth. In 1933 the United States Army Air Corps began conducting flight and weapons tests at Muroc Army Air Field (now Edwards Air Force Base) and Lancaster has grown steadily since that time. It is home to many employees of Edwards Air Force Base, as well as to employees of Boeing, Lockheed, and Northrop Grumman, all of which have manufacturing facilities at U.S. Air Force Plant 42 which is south of the Lancaster city limits.”
I live right off Challenger Way, which used to be 10th Street East. Was renamed as it was driven down this stretch of road(Posted on FB by Arawyn Walays in Space Shuttle Group) Discovery stops at Red Lights. Now Challenger Way – 10th Street East at Avenue J in Lancaster, CA From Palmdale Plant 42 through Lancaster to Edwards AFB.
I also grew up playing out at Apollo Park
On July 20th, 1969 Apollo 11 (XI) landed on the moon. It left Florida on July 16th and was crewed by Commander Neil Alden Armstrong, Command Module Pilot Michael Collins, and Lunar Module Pilot Edwin Eugene “Buzz” Aldrin, Jr..At one point, the capsule was housed at a remote, obscure location called Apollo Park out in Lancaster, CA but they’ve since moved it to Columbia Memorial Space Center in Downey, Ca.. It had been located at Apollo Park for more than 30 years. (from http://brusimm.com/)
I used to run around this thing, the park was and still is out in the middle of nowhere, just a small little airport nearby. We would go out there to feed the ducks and ride our bikes. But this no longer sits there like it once did when we were kids, times have changed, and it really didnt seem like a safe place to keep it.
Also it was one of the last parks I remember with the large Rocket Ships for us kids to play on. There used to be one down the street from me at El Dorado Park that was still there in the 1990’s but they screened it in and you could no longer go up into the top. Playground equipment has changed so much these days. I played on items made out of Metal and wood. And had sand on the ground. Pretty much everything has been ripped out, astroturf, foam type things on the ground, plastic play things, nothing to tall, even canopies to block sun(remember hot metal slides!)
But I loved the Rocket Ship! ( Photograph taken on 13 June 2006 by Nathan Beach )
We also had another type of plaything at Jane Reynolds Park in Lancaster, it was another Rocket Ship and it was a Dark Blue and Red Color, but this one was a long dark tube with a ladder, made of metal, you climbed up this tall ladder in the dark with just some minor light shining in from the top and bottom openings and then the slide was a twisted one that wrapped all around the base. I played at that park all the time as a kid, today parents would have sued left and right over that thing and injuries, I cant seem to track down any photos of that type of slide, but it was one of my favorite things at Jane Reynolds Park back in the 70s-80s.
Also one of my first big “Events” in history, that I recall burned in my memory was when the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded. Jan 28 1986. I kept a journal in Junior High that I still have, I will let my entry speak about that day, excuse my spelling of course, I was a kid and didnt know all the astronauts or facts by name, it was just my recounting as a kid. I seem to recall sitting by the tv later at home and trying to print the names as I heard them as I noticed my script went from cursive to printing as I tried to jot things down quickly that I was hearing.
The crew we lost that day
Living in the Antelope Valley means we commonly are rattled by Sonic Booms, breaking of the sound barrier, various different planes flying over head, I cant say how cool it is to be standing in your backyard and this things flies over your head. Often flying over for a parade or local event.
Until next time, hope you have enjoyed this weeks post.