Archive for Saturday, September 17, 2011

Cosmosphere and Space Center has eye on city’s missile

September 17, 2011


The rocket at Centennial Park.

The rocket at Centennial Park.

Maybe the Cold War isn’t quite over yet in Lawrence.

Lawrence city commissioners at their meeting Tuesday night will formally receive a letter from the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center in Hutchinson asking whether the city would consider donating to the center the Polaris submarine-launched ballistic missile that long has served as a Cold War monument in Centennial Park.

City commissioners are expected to receive the letter and refer the issue to staff members for review, but based on early feedback from the public it seems likely that parting with the missile would receive a mighty chilly reception.

“My speculation is we’ll probably be keeping the missile, but we’ll keep their name on file,” City Manager David Corliss said.

The missile, of course, is inoperable, but that doesn’t make it any less of a Lawrence landmark. Thousands of cars every day drive by the missile, which is in Centennial Park near the corner of Sixth Street and Rockledge Road.

“I’ve always been a fan of the missile,” said City Commissioner Mike Amyx. “It has been there for a long time, and I think it has found a pretty good home in the park.”

Leaders with the Cosmosphere inquired about the availability of the missile because they are building a rocket and aircraft park on land across the street from the Cosmosphere.

The Cosmosphere’s president and CEO, Christopher Orwoll, is familiar with the missile because he previously lived in Lawrence while serving as the Commanding Officer of the NROTC unit at Kansas University.

According to his research, the missile was presented to the city in October 1964 by the Lawrence Navy League. Corliss said the city likely would do some additional research on the missile to ensure that its story is being adequately told.


Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 8 months ago

Understatement Of The Year: "it seems likely that parting with the missile would receive a mighty chilly reception."

That is a for sure. We'll need to have new Lawrence city commissioners after the next election if that Polaris missile is gone. And we'll need a new mayor too.

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 8 months ago

Plus, a new City Manager that understands that giving away the landmarks in our parks is not looked upon favorably by the public.

What's next? The Locomotive?

Tony Holladay 6 years, 8 months ago

What ever happened to the jet that was next to the missile?

Hoots 6 years, 8 months ago

It was in a state of disrepair several years ago so they removed it. There were many sharp metal surfaces that popped up an were a real cut hazard. I loved climbing all over it when I was a kid. I was sad to see it go.

Sparko 6 years, 8 months ago

It was a Blue Angels F-11F Tiger; it was donated to Yesterday's Air Force in Topeka in the 80s, and was partially restored. As long as the Polaris missile is maintained well and not allowed to disintegrate through neglect, I like its present location. But aerospace equipment outdoors is not a great idea long-term.

Aiko 6 years, 8 months ago

Send it to Lake Dabinawa, like the other one...

Alceste 6 years, 8 months ago

hahaahhaaha....ya sound like the soccer moms who led an effort, years back, to have the rocket removed as it was a "...tribute to war....". Nonsense. Anybody who knows what is what know that when that thing was put there, it was like the coolest thing ever. We didn't know it was an ICBM! We being the kids who played around it. Nope. We thought it was a rocket and would fly to Mars or wherever.

Them soccer moms did have an impact: They got rid of the fire engine in South Park and had fences put around the train. That's right....there used to be a full on old timey hook and ladder fire engine in the park that a kid could climb all over and "drive" to wherever...... How the hades can a kid drive a train if she/he can't get into the engineer's cab? When life was better, there were no fences and a kid could climb all over that train. Same with the fire engine. Darn "lawyers" and their injury lawsuits and darn ninnys who get a scratch and cry foul.....

Scott Morgan 6 years, 8 months ago

Well said and agreed. I’d love to see kids being kids again.

Recently stunned a few kids by telling them in 7th and 8th grades one of our favorite activities was camping. Just camping, no. Camping out on a creek 5 hiking miles from home without adult supervision yes.

Can’t be done anymore, at least on public property due to the creep factor.

OutlawJHawk 6 years, 8 months ago

It is interesting, but let it go. The space museum would be a much better home for it.

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 8 months ago

OutlawJHawk has a point. Also, starting with South Park, the city should subdivide and sell them all to the highest bidder for business or residential purposes.

We have no need for parks or landmarks of any kind in Lawrence.

dipweed 6 years, 8 months ago

Let the space museum build a replica of the missile and keep the original here where it belongs.

lounger 6 years, 8 months ago

Umm...NO! That is our Rocket, thank you very much! They have the WHOLE cosmosphere and we have ONE rocket! Let it be...

kujhawker 6 years, 8 months ago

Alceste, you are right on! Too many of Lawrence's landmarks have been taken away from the city, diminishing the unique qualities that we grew up cherishing. I went to grade school at St. John's and we always had recess in South Park. I fondly remember climbing all over the train and "driving" the fire truck as a kid, and think it's sad that our society makes that impossible for kids today. The rocket at Broken Arrow Park has been taken away, and I believe the little saucer is gone too. In a small way, donating this missle is just another step in the wrong direction for our city, no matter what the reason may be. Dipweed, I like your suggestion. Let them build their own missle and leave ours alone!

John Spencer 6 years, 8 months ago

I wish my kids could have played on the jet and looked at the missle.

Liberty275 6 years, 8 months ago

I'm surprised the phallic nature of the missile doesn't offend the nuanced sensibilities of our fine Lawrence Progressives.

Sparko 6 years, 8 months ago

And your post is 180-degrees in opposition to reality. I know you like it in a repressed way, but stop projecting. . .

Liberty275 6 years, 8 months ago

After reading The Lysistrata I can't help but see them everywhere.

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 8 months ago

With two exceptions. Once 5,771 years ago, and another 2,011 years ago.

Kat Christian 6 years, 8 months ago

Oh, by all mean take the missle, its an eyesore if you ask me and a negative symbol which shouldn't be in a park where children play. That was my 1st reaction when I moved here and first saw it and I'd rather see a beautiful piece of bronze art or statue in that park then that monstrousity. It belongs in a museum not in children's park. Lawrence is is weird sometimes at what it hangs onto.

Lulu 6 years, 8 months ago

I cannot believe this missile of death stands in our park and so close to my Merc it makes my hairs stand on end when I see it and think of its destructive ways to the world that could cause annihilation of all people young and old across the globe. Remove our doomsday machine. How ironic we have the Hrsuka Peace Park next to Watkins Museum for the people our disgraceful country blew up with an atomic bomb in world war 2. I deplore you give it to Hutch so I don't have to look at its long fat silhouette standing erect over the bush of my park.

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 8 months ago

"I don't have to look at its long fat silhouette standing erect over the bush of my park."

No you don't, honey. Close your eyes.

Liberty275 6 years, 8 months ago

Do they still have paper bags at the merc?

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 8 months ago

"I deplore you give it to Hutch"

I need her address.

giveitback 6 years, 8 months ago

I agree Alceste!!!!! The fence is just a way of putting the responsiblity of "watching" our kids on the City. I climbed all over that train when I was a kid in the Sixties. My parents didn't play around when I was told I could get hurt if I was doing something that would hurt me. Now the fence does that for them. My Grand kids will never know the fun I had. Sunshine_noise How about we tear down Mass. street? Lots of men and boys died there years ago. The missle harmed no one! Ronholzwarth, Great plan. Hope we don't need it!

puddleglum 6 years, 8 months ago

It needs to stay, it is a landmark. If you want it gone, donate it to me, I will take care of it.

Terry Sexton 6 years, 8 months ago

Hey, could this unite us all!? Theater goers & theater haters, progressives & repubs, jocks & arteests, all fighting to preserve our Polaris?

Nah...didn't really think so.

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 8 months ago

I tried! If enough people call the City Commissioners' office and leave a message that we do not want to give it away, we'll get to keep it!

You can call Monday and Tuesday during business hours to talk to a person, or call right now and leave a message on their phone answering machine.

And then, the meeting when they will discuss whether to give it away is Tuesday night.

At least get a reasonable amount of money for the improvement of the parks, instead of just giving it away!

The City Commissioners' telephone number: 832-3400

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 8 months ago

Do NOT call that number! It is OVER!

We have WON! So, we get to keep the missile!

Boston_Corbett 6 years, 8 months ago

Lets make a trade. I think a salt mine full of old movies would be fun to have.

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 8 months ago

I have a much better idea than that.

Relocate the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center to Lawrence.

Boston_Corbett 6 years, 8 months ago

And some here thought the Community Theatre was expensive? Hutchinson had to spend some serious coin to create the Cosmosphere.

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 8 months ago

So did the state if Kansas and the Federal government, I'm sure. There is no way that was a small town project. That means that your income tax dollars were spent on the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center in another city.

You should go there and then decide if your money was well spent.

Boston_Corbett 6 years, 8 months ago

Been there. Done that. And you are wrong, btw.

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 8 months ago

Here's a tidbit of technological history that many are not aware of:

The Polaris submarine-launched ballistic missile, as well as all of the other ICBM missiles in the 1960s, were wildly inaccurate. They were to be aimed in the proper direction and launched, and after that, you were to hope they would hit the intended target. There were only gyroscopes to keep them on track. If one had ever been used, It was to be very much like hoping for a hole in one when playing golf. But, it would have been very successful in making the other side very, very angry.

They were better than the V-1s and V-2s that the Nazis shot at London, but it would have been amazing if they had actually flown halfway around the world and hit one particular city. But, it was likely they would land on the particular country that they were aimed at because the USSR was very big, but that was the best that could be hoped for. All along, both Moscow and Washington, D.C. were quite safe from the ICBMs of each other. If they were actually hit, that would have been a fortuitous accident indeed.

That was the most that could have been hoped for with 1960s technology. Of course, that was a very big secret from the public of both the USA and the USSR at the time.

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 8 months ago

In other words, the Polaris submarine-launched ballistic missile standing in Centennial Park is no more than a monument to a colossal waste of the wealth of both the USA and the USSR. That wealth was destroyed only for the political purposes of the governments of both sides.

The only possible result of their use would have been to change a small war into a very, very big one that would have resulted in the devastation of the planet.

Unfortunately, that danger is still there. I think we all need a reminder of that now and then.

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 8 months ago

"The precious and precarious nature of peace" has been noted since antiquity. A clip from Ezekiel 13: 10: ",,, they have misled my people, saying, `Peace,' when there is no peace ,,,"

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 8 months ago

Listen to this and make your own decision! 'Radioactivity', performed by Kraftwerk (Listen and watch - if you dare!)

lunacydetector 6 years, 8 months ago

it is easy to surmise the only reason the cosmosphere asked for our polaris missile is because they have a hunch with lawrence's peaceniks, and the city's erratic behavior, we might be inclined to give it away.

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