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Archive for Saturday, September 17, 2011

Cosmosphere and Space Center has eye on city’s missile

September 17, 2011

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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.

Comments

Kat Christian 2 years, 7 months ago

IT belongs in a museum - not a Park.

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lunacydetector 2 years, 7 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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The_Original_Bob 2 years, 7 months ago

Sweet Goodness. A Lulu sighting!!! My day has been made.

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prospector 2 years, 7 months ago

"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." Lulu

I have to think that is a good use for it. It will not be tossed at anyone from there. You should just lay on the grass out there, relax, and enjoy it. Or go sit on it.

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Pywacket 2 years, 7 months ago

It's a fascinating artifact from a troubling time in our history. Lawrence is fortunate to have it. As others have said, many other local landmarks have been removed or compromised (as with the now fenced-in train), so Lawrence needs to hang on to what it can.

It may come as a surprise to those who hate to see this emblem of war and destruction, but removing it from sight would not make the world any safer. It would just make it easier for you to believe that we're surrounded by nothing but daisies, butterflies, and rainbows.

We need decommissioned reminders of the darker side of life--maybe the sight of such things will provoke thought and help us realize the precious and precarious nature of peace.

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Ron Holzwarth 2 years, 7 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.

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Boston_Corbett 2 years, 7 months ago

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

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rockchalker52 2 years, 7 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.

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puddleglum 2 years, 7 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.

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giveitback 2 years, 7 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!

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Lulu 2 years, 7 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.

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Kat Christian 2 years, 7 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.

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Liberty275 2 years, 7 months ago

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

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John Spencer 2 years, 7 months ago

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

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kujhawker 2 years, 7 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!

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lounger 2 years, 7 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...

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dipweed 2 years, 7 months ago

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

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OutlawJHawk 2 years, 7 months ago

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

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psycho_theclown 2 years, 7 months ago

As a lover of art myself, I think we could dress it up with a little color and give it a name. How about putting red hand prints all over and calling it, "Blood on our hands?"

Let me know if I get nominated for Lawrence Arts Commissioner.

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Aiko 2 years, 7 months ago

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

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Centurion 2 years, 7 months ago

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

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Ron Holzwarth 2 years, 7 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.

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