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Picturing the Past 86: Space-age Science Fair display

Posted Tuesday, November 9, 2010, at 10:11 AM

A model rocket from the 1958 Science Fair. (T-G file photo)
It's Jan. 24-25 1958 at the Science Fair. As the sun shines through the windows of Central High School's cafeteria, a "space-age" exhibit catches the photographer's eye.

Randall Faulk and Ed Craig (the photographer didn't identify which one's pictured, but that mystery will probably be solved quickly), seventh-graders in Mrs. Clarence Robertson's science class at Shelbyville Junior High School, built this model of a U.S. satellite.

Space was a big deal in 1958; NASA's Huntsville facility had sent up some display items for the fair as well.

I've picked up the impression the Huntsville operations were more heavily promoted in surrounding cities in the late 1950s than they are now, based on what I've seen in our negative files and old newspapers. We've got photos of the 1959 Veterans Day parade which included, I think, an actual rocket brought up from NASA.

Finances are tight now and I realize space flight isn't one of today's priorities. But I sense a can-do optimism and positive outlook that once existed in our nation, fueled to a large degree by such things as space exploration, has slowly fizzled. We need something similar to rally around again.

Added note: At the top center of the photo, partially obscured by the sunlight but still visible, are the upper bleachers left over from the cafeteria's days as Central High's gym before what's now Central Memorial Gym was built in the mid-1950s. I wonder what it was like watching a ball game in that gym.

Picturing the Past is featured each Tuesday in this blog. Reader contributions are welcome.

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I was a classmate of Ed's and I don't think that is him. I remember this fair and recall being impressed with the electrical displays.

-- Posted by henrys on Wed, Nov 10, 2010, at 2:29 PM

You may be right Cal t.

-- Posted by leeiii on Tue, Nov 9, 2010, at 5:58 PM

leeiii, I have a 1960 Aquila with Freshman Randall Faulk that looks a lot like the one pictured except his hair is longer,and the glasses look the same. The only problem is that I don't have Ed's pic. All our games were in the new gym,so my memory of the old gym is lunch room and all sports banquet.

-- Posted by Cal t on Tue, Nov 9, 2010, at 3:46 PM

Thanks David for yet another great picture. Given the choice between either Randall Faulk or Ed Craig, I will vote for Ed Craig. Both were several years younger than I.

As for the upper bleachers, that is where I watched all the games from that I attended and they were good seats from which to watch a ball game.

-- Posted by leeiii on Tue, Nov 9, 2010, at 2:42 PM

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David Melson is a copy editor and staff writer for the Times-Gazette.