Lawrence County is the home of three United States astronauts. Kenneth D. Bowersox and Charles D. Walker both hail from Bedford. Mitchell is the hometown of Virgil I. “Gus” Grissom, the second American in space.
Inside Spring Mill State Park in Mitchell is a tribute to this pioneerJuly 21, 2011 marked the 50th Anniversary of Gus Grissom’s first flight into space aboard the capsule named “Liberty Bell 7.” The successful flight was followed by a dramatic ending when the capsule was lost at sea after splashdown and Grissom was rescued. The Liberty Bell 7 was recovered and brought to the surface in 1999. Grissom died on January 27, 1967 aboard Apollo I, when a flash fire broke out in the command module on the launch pad. He is buried at Arlington National Cemetery and is considered the city of Mitchell’s hometown hero.
of the United States space program. Grissom’s actual space suit and one of the capsules he piloted are found in the Virgil I. “Gus” Grissom Memorial, including actual artifacts of his life and career and interactive exhibits. Open daily 8:30 AM – 4 PM, closed for major holidays.
The Grissom Monument is a 44-foot, 28-ton limestone statue of the Titan II Rocket that stands on the lawn of Mitchell’s City Hall. Hand-carved in the limestone base is the history of Gus Grissom’s military and NASA careers. The monument is located at 409 S. 6th St in Mitchell.