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  Demolition of Cape Canveral pads and buildings (Page 1)

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Author Topic:   Demolition of Cape Canveral pads and buildings
Choose2Go
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posted 11-16-2005 06:51 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Choose2Go   Click Here to Email Choose2Go     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
To save money and avoid safety problems, NASA may demolish the building that served as the Mercury Control Center and the engineering support building at Pad 34, where the crew of Apollo 1 was lost in a fire and Apollo 7 launched, reports Florida Today.

The question is: Would these be missed? Interested in your opinions.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 11-16-2005 11:11 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Can someone point to a photo of the "engineering support building" at Pad 34? Is it the same as the Environmental Control System building, of which only a wall remains?

Choose2Go
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posted 11-16-2005 02:41 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Choose2Go   Click Here to Email Choose2Go     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
My guess on the support building is across the entrance road from the launch room. If I recall correctly, it is the only 'building' at Complex 34, aside from the launch room. Everything else is already abandoned in place, which would stay as is unless someone decides it would be a good place for a new pad (with the extra room at the old Atlas pads I'd vote to keep Complex 34 as a historical monument).

Scott F Pooke
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posted 11-16-2005 03:47 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott F Pooke   Click Here to Email Scott F Pooke     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I've just seen the reference to the Florida Today article and I am at a loss as to why you would demolish what is, in the case of the Mercury Control Center, history.

I visited the center twice in 1993 and 1996 with the consoles in place. The sense of history that surrounded you was unbelievable. It was 1961 again, you could see, smell and feel it and this is where it all began. For me there was awe and reverence for what took place in that room.

Last year I saw the consoles after they were moved to the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. What I saw was a commercialised travesty, an insult to those who made those flights happen. Surely their legacy deserves better treatment than that which was offered.

Please, put the consoles back where they belong. If tours can go to Pad 34 and walk around the pad, I fail to see why visitors cannot go the the Mercury Mission Control and experience what I experienced.

Do we really want to erase the proud history of the early program? Missile row is all but a memory, boilerplates and other test vehicles gather dust as they are forgotten, the original Apollo launch towers at Complex 39 are gone, and now there is a proposal to do the same to Mercury MCC.

The story of our programme is a great one. We need as much of it as possible preseved and protected so that future generations can experience what I and thousands of others have.

ejectr
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posted 11-16-2005 04:43 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ejectr   Click Here to Email ejectr     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Why don't they move the building to somewhere they will let people go? It may not be the spot, but it will at least be the building.

Choose2Go
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posted 11-16-2005 07:51 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Choose2Go   Click Here to Email Choose2Go     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The building that housed the Mercury Control Center was deteriorating: roof needed repair, asbestos needed removal, pipes needed replacing, etc. The Air Force told NASA to repair it, but NASA said it was an Air Force building and they should repair it (or the other way around - by the way, also in the building were rooms used for review panels, some offices, and some storage [I had a storage area right underneath the press/visitor overlook of the MCC]).

So the decision was made to remove the stop from the Visitor Center bus tour, and build a new room at the Visitor Center - the same size and shape - in which to place the historic articles, such as the consoles and the big orbital map. They did the same thing at the Saturn V Center in recreating the launch room using real consoles and such.

Right now the building is locked and shuttered (I have not been in there for years). The new room can be seen in the 2001 James Woods movie "Race to Space".

I think it is a matter of picking our battles. We lost a big chance to keep history when the Apollo LUT was destroyed. What may be lost here is relatively minor.

Ben
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posted 11-16-2005 08:57 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ben   Click Here to Email Ben     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Those with press accreditation can at times go in the Mercury Control Center, part of it at least. The press site for pad 17 and 36 is located outside the building, and they open it up for restroom use and shelter during rain or contingencies.

star61
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posted 11-18-2005 02:31 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for star61   Click Here to Email star61     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A history program I watched the other day, said that what Americans like about visiting the UK is all the monuments and historical buildings.

We have nothing like the buildings at KSC. This is where man first started the real exploration of space. I was in the Mercury control center in 1988. It sent the shivers down my spine thinking what went on there in the 60s.

USAF, NASA... get your darned act together, share the cost and save ALL the historical buildings at KSC.

rocketJoe
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posted 11-18-2005 07:57 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for rocketJoe   Click Here to Email rocketJoe     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I remember visiting the Mercury Control Center around 12 years ago when it was a stop on the old "Blue" bus tour from the KSC visitor center. Just walking into the building and seeing the old consoles felt like stepping through a time portal. I swear I could feel the energy from those early steps of the space program in that room. I'm disgusted that they would even consider discarding this historic landmark.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 02-28-2006 10:56 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The New York Times: Slowly Crumbling, NASA Landmarks May Face the Bulldozer
Today the Mercury Control Center stands empty and all but abandoned, half hidden by thick Florida vegetation. Its 10-foot-wide NASA emblem, warped by high winds, flaps even in a light breeze. A trash can on the floor of the hollow control room seems to be the only barrier against rain seeping through the crumbling ceiling.

And now the 45-year-old center may be slated for demolition, one of 12 sites and landmarks that the space agency says it may tear down to save money.

Ken Havekotte
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posted 02-28-2006 04:02 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ken Havekotte   Click Here to Email Ken Havekotte     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
Can someone point to a photo of the "engineering support building" at Pad 34?
That was the old Operations Support Building near the entrance way to Complex 34, which is located adjacent to the pad's Launch Control Center or blockhouse. It provided about 29,000 square feet of floor space for measuring and calibrating telemetry and ground support equipment, for electrical networks, and for the checkout and evaluation of components. During the early Apollo years, it provided space for critical parts storage, mechanical equipment and personnel work areas. After Pad 34 was no longer an active launch site, the facility became the Records Storage Building.

Not too long ago, I was a frequent visitor to the support building. NASA Exchange had an office and warehouse for their sundry stores that required my company support.

In answer to your other question, there was an old Electrical Equipment Building, located at the north-eastern side of the pad, that provided about 160 square feet. That old building is no longer in use or even standing as it was in Apollo's prime.

Rick Boos
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posted 03-01-2006 08:51 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rick Boos   Click Here to Email Rick Boos     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Choose2Go:
The Air Force told NASA to repair it, but NASA said it was an Air Force building and they should repair it.
It is high time that NASA and the Air Force quit squabbling among themselves and placing the blame on one another! This has been going on for years and years and is getting out of hand and I for one am tired of hearing it! I can cite many examples over the years, but won't for sake of time and space.

NASA and the Air Force are not sentimentalists and could care less about preserving historical landmarks and remembering their own... plain and simple. They are only interested in the programs of today and how to fund them. Neither of them want to use their funding for such a venture as preserving recognized historical landmarks.

I agree with one of the above posts that BOTH parties should share the expense of restoring Mercury Control Center back to its' original condition for future generations and get the equipment back in there. If not NASA and the Air Force, it needs to go into private hands like Delaware North, who has the most to gain from it as a tourist attraction, with the last option being a fund drive by an outside source. The main thing here is to prevent a rush to judgment and premature reckless action and to let cool heads prevail before we loose yet another important historical Cape landmark! Mercury Control Center is a very important historical landmark and needs to be preserved at all costs, it was the nerve center for man's first ventures into space!

The once impressive ICBM Row is now just a memory. While it is a sad fact, I do understand that it was necessary to down all the gantries and erectors because of hazardous conditions that prevailed and the immense amount of funding to preserve them and keep them up once they had been preserved. That being said, I firmly believe that the remains of Pads 5, 14, 19 and 34 should always remain intact, put on the historical roster and open to visitors. Recently, they demolished even the concrete launch stands at Atlas Pads 11 and 12.

Is this going to be the fate for all the rest? Pads 5, 14, 19 and 34 need to be preserved "as is" forever. There is little upkeep other than cutting the grass and controlling the overgrowth since the steel structures are long gone. As for the toxic spills, clean it up, it has to be done anyway. God knows there is enough real estate at Cape Canaveral and KSC to build new pads elsewhere there. Do most people even know that there is a marble monument on the ramp of Pad 14? Probably not, as 14 is off limits, or at least was, to the public.

Once these structures are gone, they are gone and can't be brought back! Keep the structures where they are and preserve them for future generations! If they are designated as historical landmarks, they should remain as such, no if and or butts about it!

Ben
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posted 03-01-2006 09:29 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ben   Click Here to Email Ben     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I agree, it would be great if they started preserving more and the tour bus got a little closer. I've had the privilege of getting in to see the pads up close (though not as much as I would have liked; I would love to be able to spend a day or several thoroughly soaking them in and photographing them, if not for my personal wishes than to help show the world more).

The Cape Canaveral Virtual Tour has tons of great photos if there is anyone here who has not seen it.

sfurtaw
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posted 03-02-2006 06:19 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for sfurtaw   Click Here to Email sfurtaw     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Very well said, Rick, and thank you for your efforts to honor the crew of Apollo 1. While the fire happened before my time, Apollo 1 has always had a special place in my heart. Roger Chaffee was from my homestate of Michigan. His uniform and medals are on display at a local museum which I frequently visit.

Being that so many here are supportive of saving these landmarks but have no part in the decision making, what can we do about it? Contact our elected officials?

Rick Boos
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posted 03-02-2006 09:20 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rick Boos   Click Here to Email Rick Boos     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by sfurtaw:
Being that so many here are supportive of saving these landmarks but have no part in the decision making, what can we do about it?
To answer your question I honestly don't know how to be included in the decision making process other then to write and call your elected officials, maybe contact NASA and the Air Force or even write the NASA Administrator. If enough people would do so it might do some good as was the case with the Apollo 1 spacecraft.

nojnj
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posted 03-02-2006 12:44 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for nojnj   Click Here to Email nojnj     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Well said Rick!! They aformentioned pads and control center SHOULD be saved for historical sakes at all costs!! It would be just a tragedy for them to be destroyed!

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posted 03-03-2006 07:43 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for OPOS   Click Here to Email OPOS     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Preserving, and making them available to those who wish to view these sites should be a priority. It seems there are plenty of us who are willing to do basic upkeep on a volunteer basis - NASA and/or the Air Force ought to take full advantage of that fact.

James Brown
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posted 03-05-2006 08:36 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for James Brown   Click Here to Email James Brown     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I just returned from a trip to the Cape this weekend. There is almost nothing left at pad 19. It's sad to see it in this condition.

Ben
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posted 03-05-2006 11:44 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ben   Click Here to Email Ben     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Here's a shot of 19 I was able to get from the ocean-side of the pad in 2004.

Canaveral
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posted 03-06-2006 07:36 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Canaveral   Click Here to Email Canaveral     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The pictures of Complex 19 are so sad, 10 years ago I was at this complex for quite a bit of time and it looks so much worse today.

How ironic that Egyptian artifacts are in better condition than the cape artifacts and facilities that are only 50 years old or less.

It's obvious that NASA and the AF do not consider preserving these historic artifacts and launch complexes a priority; future generations will miss out on a significant part of US and space history.

Ben
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posted 03-07-2006 12:11 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ben   Click Here to Email Ben     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
By the way, somewhat unrelated, but do you happen to know who is responsible for the billboard placed over the LC-14 blockhouse in the past couple of years? It lists the launches that took place from the pad along with a graphic of the booster configuration for each.

Some of the graphics are mistakenly represented as Redstones instead of Atlas' (including the manned flights). I first noticed it when I visited in 2004 when the sign had just arrived and was waiting to be mounted. When I returned last August it was hung up, but not corrected. I guess no one has noticed!

Here is a photo before it was hung up in late 2004 (I don't have a closeup of the sign, but you can see they are Redstones):

Ken Havekotte
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posted 03-08-2006 10:52 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ken Havekotte   Click Here to Email Ken Havekotte     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It appears that General Dynamics/Convair, builder of the old Atlas boosters, was responsible for the sign. Of the 32 firings from Pad 14, all were from the Atlas family (i.e. Atlas A, B, D, Able, Agena-A and of course Mercury-Atlas). But none of these are graphically illustrated correctly, or done properly, as the sign depicts. It shows mostly early Thor/Delta configurations along with Mercury-Redstones in place of the Mercury-Atlas combinations. I am just wondering if Convair got their rockets all messed up, or, perhaps a contractor was assigned to design the graphics on the billboard for them and -- somehow -- got the wrong vehicles depicted. Oh well.

Rick Boos
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posted 08-01-2008 06:30 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rick Boos   Click Here to Email Rick Boos     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I was just wondering if the old Mercury control center is still standing?

If and when they do tear it down I would hope that something could be worked with the Air Force and or NASA where as we collectors could obtain a small relic from it as it is a real piece of history.

Go4Launch
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posted 08-04-2008 09:03 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Go4Launch   Click Here to Email Go4Launch     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The MCC is still there. I was inside about three months ago and it's amazing to see the poor state of disrepair. The trash can the NY Times story referenced is still there, too -- now rusty from the years of water dripping into it. Very eerie to wander around with a flashlight behind the display screen area, etc.

It would be great to restore it. The cost would be a drop in DOD's budget bucket, but I'd think one factor working against it is the location far from the current LC-39-area tourist stops. Apparently there's an asbestos problem as well.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 01-07-2010 10:52 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Rick Boos:
I was just wondering if the old Mercury control center is still standing?
The latest NASA EDGE vodcast (video podcast) profiles the Mercury Mission Control Center -- showing both the interior of the original building and its restored contents.
Highlighting the historic and groundbreaking achievements during the Mercury program, NASA EDGE visits the original Mercury Mission Control Center and the newly restored Mercury Mission Control Center exhibit at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Florida. Program Design Specialist Luis Berrios talks about the many technical details that went into restoring this historic facility while trying to keep the Co-Host from playing flight director.

AFGAS
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posted 01-12-2010 07:29 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for AFGAS   Click Here to Email AFGAS     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
To clarify, the old Mercury Mission Control building on Cape Canaveral still stands, but the interior was removed and restored for exhibit at the Early Space Exploration building at KSC Visitor Complex. The room was used as the MMC in the 2001 movie "Race to Space".

Robert Pearlman
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posted 05-04-2010 10:29 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
From the collectSPACE Today in Space History blog:
Mission Control deconstructed

The walls that once enclosed NASA's original Mission Control, the Mercury Control Center at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, came tumbling down recently as the building's demolition began. Long ago emptied (its consoles used to support all the Mercury missions and three Gemini flights moved to the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex ten years ago), the building succumbed to "time and salt air," according to NASA. The decision to demolish the building was made in 2005 after it was estimated that it would cost the agency as much as $5 million to repair and restore.
Photo Gallery: NASA's first Mission Control demolished

Fra Mauro
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posted 05-04-2010 11:25 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Fra Mauro   Click Here to Email Fra Mauro     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Another sad day for our space program. Perhaps it is a symbol of where NASA stands these days with the country.

mjanovec
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posted 05-04-2010 11:56 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mjanovec   Click Here to Email mjanovec     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Time and salt air? More like neglect and ignorance.

GACspaceguy
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posted 05-05-2010 05:11 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for GACspaceguy   Click Here to Email GACspaceguy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
$5 million is a lot of money but I wonder what that equates to in minutes of increase in the national debt? Maybe two?

Fezman92
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posted 05-05-2010 05:50 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Fezman92   Click Here to Email Fezman92     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
But I thought you can't tear down anything on the National Register of Historic Places. That's a real crime, tearing this down.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 05-05-2010 06:19 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Fezman92:
But I thought you can't tear down anything on the National Register of Historic Places.
Being listed in the Register does not prevent demolition:
Listing a property in the registers does not automatically protect it from demolition (or other alterations). However, listing a property in the registers does "trigger" state and federal preservation laws that require federal, state and local government agencies to take into consideration the effect of their plans or projects on such listed properties.
This is why NASA and/or the U.S. Force did not simply tear down the building five years ago. Back in 2005, there were a series of meetings on the proposed demolition, including a public hearing, where the preservation of the property was weighed against the environmental and financial cost (among other factors).

Matt T
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posted 05-05-2010 07:22 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Matt T   Click Here to Email Matt T     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Some things are actually more important than their dollar value; without that basic outlook there really isn't much point having a Register.

Better hope they don't find oil under Tranquility Base whenever man returns to the moon.

garymilgrom
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posted 05-05-2010 07:25 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for garymilgrom   Click Here to Email garymilgrom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Ouch! Seeing those photos hurts. Where in KSC is the Early Space Exploration gallery?

Robert Pearlman
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posted 05-05-2010 07:30 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by garymilgrom:
Where in KSC is the Early Space Exploration gallery?
It is the same building as the Debus Conference Center, at the front of the Rocket Park (as viewed from the parking lot).

hlbjr
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posted 05-05-2010 07:41 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for hlbjr   Click Here to Email hlbjr     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
With all due respect, the Mercury Control Center display at the Debus conference center lacks a lot compared to everything being kept in intact at the real Mercury Control Center. The new presentation seems more Disney and I don't even bother to check it out anymore. While it's better than scrapping all of the stuff, it's a distant 2nd place to when I saw everything in the real control center back in the mid 1980's. The new display is way too touristy for me.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 05-05-2010 07:51 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
If you look past the cost of restoring the building (which would more or less require replacing most of its original materials, somewhat lessening the historical nature of the facility itself) there are other concerns.

Security restrictions put in place since 2001 have made it more difficult to provide the public open access to the facilities at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Currently, limited access is provided only through a premium tour, offered only once daily, that is designed in part to limit the number of people.

The recreated MCC may not be as authentic as the original, but it does provide many, many more the opportunity to see the consoles and learn about the Mercury Mission Control than was/is possible before.

ea757grrl
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posted 05-05-2010 08:37 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for ea757grrl   Click Here to Email ea757grrl     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Having worked long ago on preservation campaigns, there really isn't a huge amount of protection from modification/demolition that's afforded by a listing on the National Register of Historic Places.

Somewhat more protection is gained from National Historic Landmark status, but that has stricter criteria and isn't ironclad protection from demolition (it can still be done, but there are hoops you have to jump through, and properties can be delisted). On the other hand, if memory serves, failure to go through all these hoops for delisting and so forth helped the Landmark-designated USS Hornet get her reprieve from the scrapyard about 15 years ago.

I'll always think it's a shame that the Mercury Control Center wasn't preserved, as the current re-creation in the Debus Center really comes across as a little tacky. On the other hand, as anyone who's worked in preservation can tell you, it costs a lot of money to do it right, especially when you're doing it in a hostile, salt-air, seaside environment.

J.L
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posted 05-05-2010 08:39 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for J.L   Click Here to Email J.L     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Visiting the Cape is now starting to have all the charm of visiting a cemetary. Dead and gone with lots of markers.

rocketJoe
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posted 05-05-2010 12:54 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for rocketJoe   Click Here to Email rocketJoe     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Feel fortunate to have been able to visit the MCC building when it still housed the original Mercury-era equipment back in the early 90s. It is a shame that this historic building had to be torn down.


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