KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Crews are removing a famous fixture in the Crossroads today. The Moonliner rocket at West 18th Street and West Baltimore Avenue is coming down.
Don’t worry, it won’t be gone forever. The nearly 40-foot space sculpture is coming back in a month, better than ever.
Alan Wall, the man who built the massive replica of the famous Tomorrowland rocket, said the sculpture just needs a little tender love and care.
“We built it about 15 years ago. It’s been out in the weather all that time. The paint’s fading,” Wall, of Metal One Corporation, said. “The rocket’s in really good shape. We’re just going to take it down, check it out, repaint it, put it back up.”
The model is actually called Moonlander IV, according to the Airline History Museum. The original structure, a concept from Walt Disney, Wernher Von Braun and Howard Hughes, stood 76-feet tall in Disneyworld. It was eight feet taller than Sleeping Beauty’s Castle, making it the tallest attraction in the park at the time (Cinderella’s Castle was built later in 1971, according to AllEars).
A half-sized replica, called Moonlander II, was placed on top of the TWA headquarters in Kansas City in 1956, according to the museum. That replica eventually made it into the Airline History Museum, where it stands today.
Moonlander IV is a replica of the replica and was placed back in the Crossroads in 2006, when the TWA building was renovated. That building is now home to Barkley Advertising Agency, a company that sports the shape and colors of the vintage rocket as their logo.
Now, it’s time for another renovation.
“It’ll take us about a month to go through the parts and strip it and have it repainted and put all the graphics on, updating the lighting inside of it to a more modern LED lighting,” Wall said. “Right now, we have a light fixture in it. There’s Plexiglas portals in the cabin. It’s really hard to see, so we’re going to put a big light in it so at night, all the cabin windows light up.”