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Ronald McNair Astronaut Memorial.

Statue and Tomb of Doomed Astronaut

Field review by the editors.

Lake City, South Carolina

Ronald McNair was a churchgoing family man. He was also a physicist with a black belt in karate, and an astronaut. In 1984 he was part of the crew aboard the Space Shuttle Challenger. Among his scientific pursuits on that successful mission, he found time to play his saxophone in space, "a medley of songs designed to send a message of thankfulness and hope to all mankind."

We know these things because they're engraved on a granite wall next to his tomb. Unfortunately for Ronald McNair, he took a second trip aboard the Space Shuttle Challenger in 1986, its final, fatal mission.

Ronald McNair Astronaut Memorial.

McNair's death was a blow to his small South Carolina home town, which wanted to remember him. The granite wall went up in 1995. Placed in front of it was a life-size, smiling, bronze McNair wearing his Space Shuttle jumpsuit and holding a helmet. To complete the memorial plaza, in 2004 McNair was removed from his grave five miles away and re-entombed in a sarcophagus next to the statue. An "eternal flame" flickers in front of it, an old-style gas street lamp.

All in all, not something that you expect to see next to a terrestrial public library.

Statue and Tomb of Doomed Astronaut

221 E. Main St., Lake City, SC
Downtown, next to the library. On the south side of Main St./Hwy 341 one block east of its intersection with Church St./Business US 378.
RA Rates:
Worth a Detour
Save to My Sights

Nearby Offbeat Places

Huey Cooper and His Lucky Rabbit's FootHuey Cooper and His Lucky Rabbit's Foot, Lake City, SC - < 1 mi.
Yankee Confederate StatueYankee Confederate Statue, Kingstree, SC - 15 mi.
Swamp Fox MuralsSwamp Fox Murals, Turbeville, SC - 15 mi.
In the region:
Button King Museum, Bishopville, SC - 43 mi.

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