Press Release

Virginia Honors NASA Langley With Historical Highway Marker

By SpaceRef Editor
May 15, 2012
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Hampton, Va. – Virginia officials honored NASA Langley Research Center with two historical highway markers highlighting the facility’s longtime role in the nation’s aerospace programs.

One marker recognizes Langley as the first civilian aeronautics lab when it was formed as Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory in 1917 by the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA), the forerunner of NASA.

“Overseen by an advisory committee including Orville Wright and Charles Lindbergh, the laboratory created and used specialized wind tunnels and facilities to research and accelerate aeronautic technologies during peacetime and wartime from the 1920s to the late 1950s,” the marker says. “In 1958, the NACA was superseded by the modern NASA and the laboratory was renamed the Langley Research Center.”

A second marker recognizes Chesterville Plantation, whose archaeological remains are on NASA Langley property. The plantation was the home of George Wythe, a signer of the Declaration of Independence and prominent Virginia attorney, legislator and judge.

“After Chesterville’s sale in 1802, the Hudgins and Winder families owned and farmed it until the 1930s; the house was destroyed by fire in 1911,” the marker says. “The National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics purchased Chesterville in 1950. By the 1970s, archaeological excavations had identified a stone foundation believed to be from the house where Wythe was born.”

At an outdoor ceremony at Langley May 8, remarks were delivered by Kathleen Kirkpatrick, Virginia historic preservation officer; Hampton’s vice mayor, George Wallace; and Olga Dominguez, NASA’s assistant administrator for strategic infrastructure.

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SpaceRef staff editor.