Huntsville neighborhood recognized nationally for role in Space Race

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – The West Huntsville neighborhood of McThornmor Acres has been added to the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP), after housing residents for more than 60 years.

“McThornmor Acres is just a physical representation of this growth and this part of our history that we are very proud of,” said Katie Stamps, Preservation Planner for the City of Huntsville.

Donna Dutton is a member of McThornmor’s Neighborhood Association, which has lobbied for the esteemed place of the NRHP for more than half a decade.

“The ’50s and ’60s were a very important time in Huntsville’s history,” Dutton said. “And it changed the total focus from a town that was just surrounded by cotton fields and full of mill villages, to a town that was focused on missiles, rockets and going to the moon [with] the Apollo program. It gives meaning to not just the city of Huntsville or the state of Alabama, but really national significance because the space race was a very, very important part of that era.

Ken Hovanes grew up in the mid-century modern neighborhood, built at the beginning of the Marshall Space Flight Center where his father and many neighbors worked.

“It was very, very impressive,” Hovanes said. “[With] the cultural and historical significance of the area, it’s nice to get a glimpse of how it started in the late 50’s to mid 60’s when they were building the whole place. So it’s really nice to see that [recognition].”


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