Valley Center was the longtime home to an aerospace engineer who led the entire Apollo program 50 years ago. And now, the Valley Center History Museum holds never-before-seen mementos designed by that man that helped make the historic Apollo 11 moon landing a reality.
John Leland Atwood was born in Kentucky in 1904, he served 40 years as president and CEO of North American Aviation. He's credited for designing more aircraft than any person in history and has been known as the “Dean of Aerospace”. He led the team to successfully design the Apollo lunar landing module.
"His family was very, very generous in donating these items to us," said Lynne Boyett, secretary of the Valley Center History Museum.
Boyett has been showing visitors the Apollo 11 exhibit all day long, many remembering that fateful day.
They have items like a miniature version of the lunar lander, a replica of the rocket launched into space and an original schedule of the moon landing.
"After watching the landing I decided it was important for me to be an engineer," said Paul Majchrzak, resident of Valley Center.
Not realizing the man who helped lead them to the finish line was their neighbor.
"It's very important to know that this history exists here," said Majchrzak.
And are now looking to the future of aerospace technology.
"What will we do 49 years from now? Where will we be? It's just going to be so exciting," Boyett said.
The Apollo 11 exhibit is scheduled to be at the Valley Center Museum through the end of the year.