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Manitowoc, Wisconsin: Sputnik Crashed Here

RoadsideAmerica.com Team Field Report

Rahr West Art Museum

Address:
610 N. 8th St., Manitowoc, WI
Directions:
Rahr West Art Museum. North of downtown in a suburb. On US-10 N. (8th St. - one-way north), at the corner of Park St., a few blocks south of Hwy 42. A little metal circle in the street marks the spot. There's also a pink granite marker in the sidewalk on the northwest corner, and a larger monument on the lawn of the Rahr-West Art Museum, which displays a replica of the crashed fragment.
Hours:
Museum M-Tu, Th-F 10-4, W 10-8, Sa-Su 11-4. (Call to verify) Local health policies may affect hours and access.
Phone:
920-683-4501
RA Rates:
Worth a Detour
Save to My Sights

Spot where Sputnik crashed.

Sputnik Crashed Here

A circle in the street marks the spot where a Soviet satellite smacked down. There's also a plaque in an adjacent sidewalk and a monument plaza on the lawn of a nearby art museum, which displays a replica of the space junk. Festival held on the anniversary.

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Sputnik crash site.

Sputnik Crashed Here: September 6, 1962

The Soviet Union launched Sputnik IV into space in 1960. When it fell out of orbit two years later, the largest chunk that survived -- a 20-pound hunk of metal -- crashed into 8th Street on the north side of Manitowoc, Wisconsin, just outside what is now the Rahr-West Art Museum. That was on September 6, 1962. A replica of the hunk is displayed inside the museum, a monument stands next to the sidewalk, and a metal ring is embedded into the street to mark Sputnik's impact point. When we asked in 2022 at the Museum if the ring could be endangered by the passage of time, we were assured that the city thinks too highly of its claim to Space Race fame to ever pave over it.

[RoadsideAmerica.com Team, 09/06/2022]
Sputnik Crashed Here

A fun little pit stop to see the placard! Also worth taking a few extra minutes to look in the Rahr-West Art Museum (free/donations) to learn more about Sputnik, look at lovely art, and explore the historic mansion while you're here.

[Lauren, 08/01/2021]
Sputnik Crashed Here

In addition to the large part of Sputnik IV falling on the center line of my hometown's main thoroughfare (as covered in your story), a small piece of the satellite went through the roof of the church a couple hundred feet farther south, causing some minor damage. My father was a church trustee at the time, and was among those who filed an insurance claim for the damage. This likely was the first instance of a claim filed for space debris.

[Jon Teske, 08/28/2017]
Sputnik in Manitowoc

I saw your article about the Sputnik and wanted to let you know that we have a replica of it at the Manitowoc Area Visitor and Convention Bureau. I work at the Visitor Center.

[Serena, 07/06/2016]

Supposedly two replicas were made of the Sputnik chunk that crashed into Manitowoc. One is at the art museum next to where it crashed, the other has been reported at various sites over the years. The Visitor Center (4221 Calumet Ave.) sounds like a good spot for it.


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