Our story begins in 1991 when the Center of the Universe was discovered in Fremont. Immediately, members of the Fremont Business Association recognized the need for a suitably unique landmark monument. Many ideas were considered, but the answer came on a live morning newscast reporting the dismantling of the circa 1950 cold war rocket fuselage attached to AJ’s Surplus in Bell town. The word went out and within minutes FBA officials were at the site to acquire the Rocket. Now, instead of heading to the scrap yard, the Rocket was on its way to Fremont and into urban mythology.
The Rocket languished in the back lots of Fremont until the summer of ’93 when a team of ambitious Fremont business people undertook to erect the Rocket on the roof of the Bitter’s building on the corner of Evanston and 36th. Beset with a comedy of engineering problems, the site was not to be, leaving the well intentioned team with the uncomfortable stigma of not being able to get it up.
In the spring of 1994 a new team was assembled headed up by Werner Von Hoge, the noted West Fremont rocket scientist, to rebuild the Rocket from top to bottom in time for the summer solstice and the Liberation of Fremont. This time, specialists were called in to engineer the electronic features, structural details and design the new fins and nose cone. The legendary team is pictured above.
Houston, We Have Lift-Off
At 9 am on June 3rd, the Rocket made a perfect five minute sub-orbital flight from the Fremont rocket works, touching down at the Center of the Universe. The Rocket bears the Fremont crest and motto, “De Libertas Quirkas”-which means “Freedom to be Peculiar.” Neon laser pods have been installed on each fin and on the nose. And in launch mode steam vapor emanates from the Rocket base. The vision is to turn the 53′ high monument into Fremont’s own FM radio station sometime in the near future.