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Trivia Question

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When Houston was chosen to be home to the new space center, NASA built a temporary facility in Houston while the Johnson Space Center was being constructed in Clear Lake.

Does anyone know where that facility was? It is still in operation today as an office park.

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Guest danax

I think it was the Office City complex, a now fabulously dumpy early 60s set of two low-rise office buildings on Office City Dr., across the freeway from Gulfgate.

I live up the street in Pecan Park and we have a very old resident who used to be a photographer for NASA and has told us a little of that era. There's still an apartment complex in the neighborhood where the staff and astronauts stayed near Ingrando Park. It's seen better days. Our neighborhood was fully built out and in it's prime back then.

Apparently part of the reason for selecting this spot was due to the convenience of the then-modern shopping facility of Gulfgate.

Musicman, who also lives in Pecan Park, has spoken to this woman more than I, has seen some of her photos (one of JFK visiting the day before he was shot) and would have better info.

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It's my shortcut to UH.

Up Telephone near Wayside, I think. Near the bayou. The city uses it

now.

The answer is in the Houston Arch Guide.

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I asked a good friend of mine who worked at NASA in it's early Houston years. This was his reply...

"According to my close friend, Pete ........, whom I called to ask about your question, there were no less than 14 locations scattered around town. NASA/JSC was created in Jan/62, and Pete arrived, age 19, Jan/64. (I arrived Jan/66.)

Ellington Field was occupied by NASA and was, by far, the location with the largest number of employees. Other locations were the Lane Wells bldg, with the oil rig out front, across from Gulfgate Mall, Palm Center Apts (Graphics), Rich Bldg on Telephone Rd. When NASA first came to Houston, Jan/62, there were 40-50 total employees."

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It's my shortcut to UH.

Up Telephone near Wayside, I think.  Near the bayou.  The city uses it

now. 

The answer is in the Houston Arch Guide.

Yep, they used that too. That is the current City Park Department Headquarters Building (Wayside at Telephone - in the park there).

I think they used several buildings. I have heard about Office City and I have also heard they also had an office inside Gulfgate.

I do know they used the current Ambox building - Telephone at Westover - too.

President Kennedy visited there when he came.

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According to my late dad, the first location was at 6100 Gulf Freeway in what used to be (may still be) the Houston Office Center. It is the one with the oil derrick in front. If you look at the buildings, you might agree that it is obvious since the place looks like it was designed by an engineer rather than an architect.

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Somebody look it up in your Houston Arch Guide.  Mine is home burried in closet.

Pretty sure the one in the park was the "HQ".

from arch guide on 2999 south wayside drive

Farnsworth and Chambers Building (1957)

MacKie & Kamrath

The building also functioned as temporary headquarters for NASA while the Manned Spacecraft Center at Clear Lake City was under construction.

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found the following list on a NASA history site.

I saw a map online once that had all of these buildings pin-pointed, but I couldn't find it this morning.

Activities of the new spacecraft center were housed in temporary facilities: Farnsworth and Chambers Building, Site 2, headquarters; Rich Building, Site 3, Spacecraft Research Division and Systems Evaluation and Development Division; Lane Wells Building, Site 4, Life Systems Division; Houston Petroleum Center and Stahl and Meyers Building, Site 5, Project Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, and Flight Operations Division; East End State Bank Building, Site 6, Personnel and Security Divisions; Office City, Site 7, Flight Crew Operations Division; Ellington Air Force Base, Site 8, Procurement, Financial Management, Photographic Services and Supply; Minneapolis-Honeywell Building, Site 9, Public Affairs Office; Canada Dry Building, Site 10, Technical Services Division; KHOU-TV Building, Site 11, Data Computation and Reduction Division; Peachy Building, Site 12, Facilities Division. Later on the center occupied additional temporary quarters in the Franklin Development Center and in a building formerly occupied by the Veterans Administration, and these became sites 13 and 14. The designation Site 1 was given to the Clear Lake site. "Manned Spacecraft Center Interim Facilities"

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Here is the map I was searching for (from the jsc history site) showing all the NASA interim facilities:

47404687.nasaint.jpg

I also found a picture from the JFK library showing President Kennedy and others standing in front of a model of the Lunar Lander at the Rich Fan Company building (current Ambox bldg - Telephone at Westover).

porter_lg.jpg

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I remember the one at Office City with the oil derrick out front among other scattered all over the Ellington area.

Neat photo of JFK in front of the model. The LEM sure changed a lot.

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My mother worked for IBM back in the 60's across from NASA in Clear Lake, she helped put the first man on the moon also.

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My mother worked for IBM back in the 60's across from NASA in Clear Lake, she helped put the first man on the moon also.

Every one of those office buildings on the other side of NASA Rd 1 from the space center also served as temporary space for NASA in the early days. Mission Control and that multi-story Building One were the first to be built onsite, and Mission Control was in operation during most of Project Gemini, while the Public Affairs Office and the NASA auditorium were still under construction in the mid 60s.

I was a local reporter who started out covering the Gemini flights in 1965. and even then, the news center and all the NASA news conferences were in a temporary media center off site across NASA Rd 1. By 1966 though, the official press center was finished and we all said goodbye to that temporary place. I still carry a scar from that time. One night in the temp news center, I dropped a heavy table on my left foot and mangled my big toe. To this day that toe-nail is ugly looking and ingrowing, and a source of considerable discomfort when it needs to be trimmed. (all together now: awwwww)

As for the answer to the original question, we can thank then Vice President LBJ, House Speaker Sam Rayburn, and the late Houston Congressman Albert Thomas for the decision to build the space center in Houston. With that much Texas born political clout working for us we couldn't miss.

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Here is the map I was searching for (from the jsc history site) showing all the NASA interim facilities:

47404687.nasaint.jpg

Well actually it may be suspect regarding whether it shows ALL the early JSC sites, as I worked for JSC at the Franklin Apartments, which was located directly across the Gulf freeway from the Houston Petroleum Center (JSC site 5). This was in 1963 about the time of Kennedy's assasination. The Franklin was located in the block defined by Wayside-Freeway-Bayou-Telephone Rd (I think it was on Maxwell), between site 2 and site 5.

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I remember site #3 on Telephone Rd. at Westover. This was located near the Tropicana Pool. That was a long time ago....1960 or 1961?

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I remember site #3 on Telephone Rd. at Westover. This was located near the Tropicana Pool. That was a long time ago....1960 or 1961?

I lived on Park Place and went to Hartman Junior High so I passed that building every day to and from school. I remember thinking how exciting it was to have something so important right there in the neighborhood. I remember the Tropicana Pool, too. Went to many a swim party there.

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When did Houston become home to the Space Center? I thought it was in New York. Isn't that why they received a shuttle? Obama said that the decision was not based on politics and he has never lied to us!

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When did Houston become home to the Space Center? I thought it was in New York. Isn't that why they received a shuttle? Obama said that the decision was not based on politics and he has never lied to us!

Obama may very well have lied, because the decision was very political. The reason Houston was choosen for the site of the Manned Spacecraft Center in the first place was because of politics. Our congressional delegation at that time knew how to work together to make things happen for our region.

LBJ

Ralph Yarbrough

Albert Thomas

Sam Rayburn

Clark Thompson

Jack Brooks

there are others!

The current delegation is too busy posturing around, trying to get in front of cameras, or being seen with tea heads, to figure out what is good for our area. Why would the committee want to reward these bunch of selfish ass clowns.

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Obama may very well have lied, because the decision was very political. The reason Houston was choosen for the site of the Manned Spacecraft Center in the first place was because of politics. Our congressional delegation at that time knew how to work together to make things happen for our region.

LBJ

Ralph Yarbrough

Albert Thomas

Sam Rayburn

Clark Thompson

Jack Brooks

there are others!

I have to agree, plumber. These men knew how to play politics (and I don't mean that as a bad thing) the way Jascha Heifetz played the violin and their constituency's concerns were somewhat higher on their list of priorities than a lot of our current representation in Washington.

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