Rocket ship.

Retro Rocket Ship

Field review by the editors.

Altoona, Iowa

The plaque in front of Altoona's rocket ship dedicates it to John Houbolt, an Altoona native and NASA scientist who championed the idea of landing on the moon with a Lunar Module, rather than with a single, giant rocket.

So why does the rocket resemble something out of a Buck Rogers movie rather than John Houbolt's NASA?

Because the plaque is an afterthought.

The rocket was created independently, in the imagination of steamfitter/artist John Brommel, when the city asked him to build something that would entertain and motivate children. Brommel felt that a rocket might inspire a kid to become a scientist and perhaps later go to Mars, and he designed it like a pulp sci-fi rocket because, he said, they're more interesting to look at than real rockets.

Retro Rocket Ship

Address:
3rd Ave. SE, Altoona, IA
Directions:
East side of downtown, in Haines Park. The rocket is on the east side of 3rd Ave. SE, midway between 8th St. SE and 6th St. SE. Follow the sidewalk into the park; it leads straight to the rocket.
Admission:
Free
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Nearby Offbeat Places

Moai Dude: Laid-Back Easter Island HeadMoai Dude: Laid-Back Easter Island Head, Altoona, IA - 1 mi.
Big City Cow and CalfBig City Cow and Calf, Des Moines, IA - 7 mi.
Mini Statue of LibertyMini Statue of Liberty, Des Moines, IA - 8 mi.
In the region:
Museum of Traffic Control, Pella, IA - 31 mi.

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November 27, 2020

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