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The Richard Eisenhour Collection, no. 11 - Road Trip (1972)

Richard Eisenhour

Silent | 1972

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  •  Harry S. Truman National Historic Site in Independence, Missouri 
  •  Downtown Houston 
  •  Completed in 1929, the Gulf Building was the tallest building west of the Mississippi River until 1931 and the tallest building in Houston until 1963 
  •  Annunciation Catholic Church 
  •  Manned Spacecraft Center, now known as the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, in Clear Lake 
  •  Bishop’s Palace, an ornate, 19,000-square-foot home in Galveston’s East End Historic District 
  •  Also known as Gresham’s Castle, Bishop’s Palace was designed by famed Galveston architect Nicholas Clayton for Josephine and Walter Gresham and their nine children.  
  •  Hotel Galvez  
  •  Galveston-Port Bolivar Ferry 
  •  Crossing the state line into Louisiana 
  •  Camping at Yosemite National Park 
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This home movie captures a family on vacation in 1972. The adventure begins in Independence, Missouri, where they visit the Harry S. Truman National Historic Site. Next, the family travels to Houston, exploring the buildings of downtown before visiting the Manned Spacecraft Center (now known as Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center) in nearby Clear Lake. Then, they travel to Galveston, where they marvel at the architecture of Bishop’s Palace and hop on a ferry to the Bolivar Peninsula. Their vacation concludes in California, where the family partakes in a wintry camping trip at Yosemite National Park. The films in this collection are courtesy of native Galvestonian and current Austin resident Richard Eisenhour, who discovered and bought them on Ebay. The family in the film and the person who shot the footage are unknown.
As the scope of the American space program grew, NASA’s Space Task Group realized it would need to expand into its own facility if it were to successfully land a man on the Moon. In 1961, the agency’s selection team chose a 1,000-acre cow pasture in Houston, Texas, as the proposed center’s location site, owing to its access to water transport and commercial jet service, moderate climate, and proximity to Rice University. In September 1963, the facility opened as the Manned Spacecraft Center (MSC). 
The Center became the focal point of NASA’s manned spaceflight program, developing spacecraft for Projects Gemini and Apollo, selecting and training astronauts, and operating the Lunar Receiving Laboratory. Beginning with Gemini 4 in June 1965, MSC’s Mission Control Center also took over flight control duties from the Mercury Control Center at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. As a result, the facility managed all subsequent manned space missions, including those related to Projects Gemini and Apollo, the Apollo Applications Program, the Space Shuttle Orbiters, and the International Space Station.
In 1973, the MSC was renamed in honor of the late President and Texas native Lyndon B. Johnson. (As Senate Majority Leader, Johnson sponsored the 1958 legislation that established NASA.) The Center continues to lead NASA’s efforts in space exploration, training both American and international astronauts, managing missions to and from the International Space Station, and operating scientific and medical research programs.