the task of building the new facility. The Corps of Engineers
opened a project office in Houston. Design work was under way
in January 1962 and construction on the underground utility
systems and roadways began in March. Robert Gilruth, the first
director of the MSC, transferred his headquarters to Houston
effective March 1.
of Building 1 as construction
January 1964, 2,100 employees were readying for the move to
the site with 600 more to be on site by July. The final move
from all leased facilities in Houston by MSC employees and
contractors occurred in late June 1964 as more than 700 people
vacated sites which were the last vestiges of the scattered
center while the Clear Lake location was under
first to the center were employees in the Flight Operations
Directorate and the Information Systems Division as well as
about 200 contractor employees, six Department of Defense
liaisons and other NASA center representatives. Most of these
people were located in Building 30, the Mission Control
1964 launch of the first unmanned Gemini spacecraft coincided
nicely with the final relocation of MSC personnel to their
permanent site in Clear Lake. Gilruth declared an "Open House"
for the weekend of June 6 and 7 and welcomed the public to the
new NASA/MSC. Some 52,000 people toured the center and viewed
displays depicting the past, present and future hardware of
the space program.
end of June 1967, everyone in leased offices and warehouses in
the Houston area had moved to permanent quarters at the MSC on
what had been FM 528. The highway had become NASA Road 1 in
1965. About 1,500 employees remained at Ellington.
people of the Houston area welcomed MSC personnel with open
arms and offered complete cooperation in all facets of the
operation. The city was ecstatic. Space fever promptly swept
the town. The baseball team was named the Astros, and the
basketball team was called the Rockets. The Astrodome,
Astroworld and countless businesses with "space city"
somewhere in the title blossomed over the