“Meet me at the rocket!” Visitors to the South Carolina State Fair may have heard those famous words. Fair-goers have used this rocket as a popular rendezvous point ever since it was placed there.
Before it became a rallying point for state fair visitors, it was an intermediate range ballistic missile for the U.S. Air Force. Designed by Dr. Wernher Von Braun (the same von Braun who designed the rockets which carried astronauts to the moon!) and built by Chrysler, this Jupiter missile’s original purpose was to carry nuclear payloads. The rocket’s name, believe it or not, is Columbia! The Air Force retired Columbia in 1963 and donated it to the city which shares its namesake. It was erected in 1969 and has served as a staple symbol of the SC State Fair ever since!