The Indiana Insider Blog

Lawrence County, Indiana Celebrates Gus Grissom’s 50th Anniversary in Space

July 2011 marks the 50 year anniversary that Lawrence County native Virgil “Gus” Grissom became the second American to travel in space. To commemorate the fact, Mitchell, Indiana — Grissom’s hometown — and Lawrence County will celebrate the anniversary with special events, exhibits, lectures, and a parade the weekend of July 21 – 23. Grissom and two other astronauts died in a fire in the Apollo I capsule while they were preparing for another mission after Grissom’s historic flight.

Spring Mill State Park, Bedford, and Mitchell will all host special events. You can find a complete calendar of events at the LibertyBell7 website.

There will be a special Launch Breakfast at the Spring Mill Inn, at 7 am on Thursday, July 21. That’s the day Grissom became the second American to launch into space inside his Liberty Bell capsule at 7:20 am. After the breakfast, members of the original Mercury spacecraft design team will participate in a panel discussion. Tickets to the breakfast and panel discussion are available at the Mitchell City Hall, 407 S. 6th St., or by calling (812) 849-5161.

Lawrence County must be a hotbed of astronaut creation, because it turns out two other astronauts are from Bedford as well. Charlie Walker was a crew member on several space shuttle missions, and Ken Bowersox was a crew commander on the International Space Station. The two men will speak at the Friday Focus Luncheon, sponsored by the Bedford Chamber of Commerce. Get tickets by calling (812) 275-4493 or email bedford [at] bedfordchamber [dot] com.

Finally, if you find yourself in Mitchell, visit the Grissom Monument, a 44 foot, limestone statue of the Redstone Rocket with the Liberty Bell 7 capsule.

Photo credit: wonder_al

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Written by : is a professional blogger and social media consultant. He is also a humor columnist in several weekly papers around Indiana, and on his own blog at ErikDeckers.com. A supporter of the local arts scene, Erik is a rabid fan of the Indy Fringe Theatre Festival in the summer. Erik is married and a father of three, and a Ball State alum. Erik receives compensation from the Indiana Office of Tourism Development — and a warm fuzzy feeling — for blogging. For more information, see our FTC Disclosure page.