Wednesday, March 17, 2010

There Goes Another Rocket

In 1958, American leaders established the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Three years later, President John F. Kennedy set forth an unimaginable dream for the nation – for humans to safely travel to the moon and back by the end of the decade.

The race to the moon had begun.

There was a lot of groundwork to be done, including the selection of various sites to implement a space program. By early fall of 1961, NASA officials had chosen three of the four needed locations – a launch site in Cape Canaveral, Fla., a manufacturing site near New Orleans and a spaceflight laboratory site in Houston.

All that remained was the selection of a site for testing the new powerful rocket engines that would be needed to propel astronauts some 238,000 miles to the surface of the moon.

There were several criteria to consider, such as proximity to river navigation and isolation from populated areas. It came down to six sites – all of which were visited by a committee of decision makers. NASA officials settled on a relatively unknown area in western Hancock County, Miss., not far inland from the Gulf of Mexico – an area not so far removed from its swampy, uninhabited natural state.

In the past, the area had been populated by Indians, pirates and soldiers. At the time of the site selection, there were a few small sawmill towns had occupied the area. However, by the 1960s, the lumber industry had declined – and the towns of Santa Rosa, Westonia, Napoleon, Gainesville and Logtown were suffering. Now, the government needed this land for a new purpose, a national purpose. For a year, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers negotiated with residents and land owners, relocating the area population.

Source : Stennis Space Center

Resentment followed the shock. Riverboat captain Johnny McKean went home and composed a ballad :
Logtown, Gainesville,
And up the river too
We all gotta go
And it makes us mighty blue
The song (There Goes Another Rocket) was issued as by Johnny Mac on the J&M label, out of Picayune, Mississippi, probably owned (or co-owned by Pee Wee Maddux). It's likely the same Johnny Mac who recorded The Tug Boat Song on the Hi-Lite label.

Further reading about the event : Moon Race Blots Out a Town by Ronald Bailey, LIFE 25 Sept. 1964

There Goes Another Rocket



  1. Any chance you know the A-side Title?


  2. Flip side is "Entertaining The Blues"

  3. Thanks Bob, I really appreciate your reply.

  4. "Johnny Mac" John Mckean is my grandfather. I was told about the old lady in the rocker sitting in protest while they moved her house since I was a kid. I have never seen this picture though until now. I would love to know where I can find a copy of this album if anyone has any information. Thank you for posting this.