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Old 08-21-2011, 11:59 PM
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blackshire blackshire is offline
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Default "Cape Estes" history?

Hello All,

I have a few questions about "Cape Estes." While looking through the 1969 Estes catalog, I came across the group of photographs that show a "Cape Estes" sign and several model rocket launches, at least some of which may have taken place on the Estes Industries premises (see: http://www.ninfinger.org/rockets/no...a/69est088.html ). Also, Estes' YouTube videos of their rockets being prepped and launched (see: www.youtube.com/user/EstesModelRockets ) show a concrete slab on the ground behind the Estes plant (the building housing the offices and where the kits were/are made, not the engines). In some of the videos, the back of this building can be seen. My questions are:

[1] Was the "Cape Estes" sign once located at that flying site behind the Estes plant?

[2] If so, when was it installed and removed?

[3] If not, where was it located, and when was it installed and removed?

[4] Does the "Cape Estes" sign still exist? (It would be a great item to include in a museum display about the hobby.)

[5] How long has that "concrete slab pad" been there and been used?

Many thanks in advance to anyone who can help. (Also, imagine the lost vintage and prototype rockets and components that might be lying around in that area and/or on the surrounding land!)
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Old 08-22-2011, 06:51 AM
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Only question I can answer is the first and it is a 'YES'..In the early '70s my family made a trip from CA to PA and since we had relatives in Denver we drove through that way. I was also at my height of rocketry involvement then and my Dad thought it would be cool to take a little side trip to Penrose and take a tour of the Estes facility..Really the only part of the tour I can remember was going behind the plant to launch a rocket..Was pretty cool
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Old 08-22-2011, 07:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pantherjon
Only question I can answer is the first and it is a 'YES'..In the early '70s my family made a trip from CA to PA and since we had relatives in Denver we drove through that way. I was also at my height of rocketry involvement then and my Dad thought it would be cool to take a little side trip to Penrose and take a tour of the Estes facility..Really the only part of the tour I can remember was going behind the plant to launch a rocket..Was pretty cool


Jon, if you're on Facebook, go to the Estes Rockets page. Back on August 1, they posted the following: "The local newspaper, The Florence Citizen, publishes a "Memory Lane". 50 years ago this week Vernon Estes announced that he was moving his model rocket company to Penrose and had started construction on four buildings. Who remembers taking a tour of Estes during a summer vacation? And NO we no longer have tours - sorry!"
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Old 08-22-2011, 11:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Royatl
Jon, if you're on Facebook, go to the [URL=https://www.facebook.com/estesrockets] Who remembers taking a tour of Estes during a summer vacation? And NO we no longer have tours - sorry!"


Which thoroughly SUCKS but I guess that's the breaks... I was in Colorado on vacation a couple/three years ago and toured Apogee up at Colorado Springs with the family, even though it's more 'distribution' than manufacturing... heck even spent a few minutes visiting with Tim Van Milligan, which was neat.

Went to Penrose and other than being able to look through the vestibule into the outer office, found the doors locked, weeds in the parking lot (probably the same one referred to by the OP) and a not-so-polite brush off via door speaker... Oh well...

Later! OL JR
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Old 08-22-2011, 01:15 PM
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Yeah, wasn't Barry such a great guy???

Good riddance!

I expect now the atmosphere is a good bit different over there.

Allen
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Old 08-22-2011, 01:31 PM
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A friend and I dropped by the plant in 1990, after attending LDRS.

We had a personal tour guide who showed us various operation rooms, including the silk screen shop, which was pretty cool. They had screens for decals going way back.

I recall a room where a bunch of ladies were assembling simple kits for some kind of give-away program.

There was a kind of launch platform made of a pile of "pavers" set in a sort of spiral. Our host set a yellow tripod on top. My friend Victor got to keep the RTF rocket she demo-flew.

Wild proposal:

A local club could approach Estes to offer their services as tour guides, and maybe to set up a visitors' center. Just a small building, maybe a converted trailer, set up with displays and video monitors to show the history of the plant and company. It would end, as all exhibits should, in a gift shop!

The tour could include a visit to a couple of select parts of the actual plant . . . assuming there's anything of interest to see! Perhaps John Boren's office and work space could be moved to a plexiglass dome, where people could shuffle past and see the master at work.

There might be a few quick flight demos at the end of the tour, weather permitting. A standard model, a glider, maybe a two-stager.

But seriously: The intent would be to make the Estes plant into a "field trip" destination for local schools, and for tourists.

If I win the lottery, I'll gladly fund the effort!

Stefan
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Old 08-22-2011, 01:32 PM
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I rode my bicycle across country during the Summer of '08. In Colorado, making for Canon City, I ran across a building with Estes in white letters across the front, a missile of some type out front and a bunch of white shipping containers off to a side out back. I kinda figured it was the Estes offices, but wasn't sure. The place looked deserted, or maybe it was just Sunday. Now I'm pretty sure it was their facilities. Wish I'd a knocked or peeked or something. I've got a photo of the rocket somewhere.

Funny, but I took photos of every rocket I ran across during my tour (which weren't many) and I wasn't even a BAR yet.

This is the rocket
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Old 08-22-2011, 08:57 PM
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I thank you all very much for your replies! Jon, I appreciate your providing that data point (that the "Cape Estes" sign was still there at Estes' behind-the-building launch site in the early 1970s). Also, I think Stefan's idea (a club approaching Estes to provide volunteer tour guides, plus getting a Visitor Center established there) is well worth pursuing; if there is a NAR Section in the vicinity, maybe they would be the best-equipped to do this?
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Old 08-22-2011, 10:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stefanj
Perhaps John Boren's office and work space could be moved to a plexiglass dome, where people could shuffle past and see the master at work.


Stefan



LOL... just got a mental image of John Boren in a plastic hamster ball... LOL Thanks for putting THAT in my head!

Yeah, it'd be nice to be able to see something there... looked like there were some NICE OLD models in the 'lobby/gift shop' area just inside the vestibule, which is as far as I could see in... might make an interesting "history of the company" kind of display...

They probably don't want to be bothered with it, but PR like that is fairly cheap and easy and does help sales IMHO...

Later! OL JR
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Old 08-22-2011, 10:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by foamy
I rode my bicycle across country during the Summer of '08. In Colorado, making for Canon City, I ran across a building with Estes in white letters across the front, a missile of some type out front and a bunch of white shipping containers off to a side out back. I kinda figured it was the Estes offices, but wasn't sure. The place looked deserted, or maybe it was just Sunday. Now I'm pretty sure it was their facilities. Wish I'd a knocked or peeked or something. I've got a photo of the rocket somewhere.

Funny, but I took photos of every rocket I ran across during my tour (which weren't many) and I wasn't even a BAR yet.

This is the rocket


Yep that was it...

Here's the thread and discussion from my experience...

http://www.oldrocketforum.com/showt...visited+Penrose

Did things look cleaner/neater/better repair (parking lot no longer grown up in grass, etc.) or still somewhat shabby?? That "shabbiness" was what surprised me most, aside from them not even letting you in the front door... just a disembodied and from the tone very disinterested voice from a speaker gently "shooing" you away verbally... apparently from a lot of practice.

later! OL JR
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