When people think of space, the first things that come to mind are putting a man on the moon, the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, or even Elon Musk. One of the most vital parts of U.S. space history is located in Huntsville, Alabama. Dr. Wernher von Braun and his rocket team first came to the United States in 1945 to build rockets. Huntsville became home to one of three Saturn V rockets, which von Braun developed to take man to the moon. Space Camp is the brainchild of Dr. Wernher von Braun and the first director of the U.S. Space and Rocket Center, Mr. Edward O. Buckbee. Since its launch in 1982, Space Camp has welcomed over 900,000 trainees from all fifty U.S. states, all U.S. territories, and over 150 foreign countries. The benefits of Space Camp on attendees and the experience they receive inspires, nurtures dreams, and increases interest in stem topics.
Amidst World War II, the United States developed a desperate need for a weapons manufacturing hub, specifically for chemical weapons. U.S. Senator John Sparkman, strongly suggested Huntsville, Alabama, to be the home of this new manufacturing facility, providing 40,000 acres of land bordering the Tennessee River. Thus, the birth of Redstone Arsenal. The Arsenal quickly became one of the most important U.S. Army facilities in the country. Originally named Huntsville Arsenal, in 1943 the U.S Army decided to combine the installation with the new Redstone Ordnance Plant, and the name Redstone Arsenal developed. Redstone Arsenal provided the United States with weapons, jobs, wartime support, and eventually a trip to the moon.
After racing for Porsche throughout the 1960s and winning nearly 70 Grand Prix races, legendary racer George Barber retired from his craft. However, his passion for racing continued to thrive as he began to collect vintage race cars and motorcycles. He opened the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum in 1995. To expand the museum’s campus, he founded Barber Motorsports Park. Located in Birmingham, Alabama, the 830-acre racing campus is a hallmark of the motorsport’s world.
Alabama Heritage BLOG
At Alabama Heritage, we owe many of our successes and smooth operations to our fabulous student interns. We hope that with this blog--written mostly by our interns as well as history students from UAB and a few from our own editors--our readers will have an opportunity to get to know the students who bring so much to the table with their enthusiasm, hard work, and expertise!
If you're interested in our internship program, check out the details here.