In The Pipeline: One small step for a columnist

March 21, 2012|By Chris Epting

Houston, we have a problem. Or at least, we had a problem. That was until a little mystery involving outer space, the Apollo program and telephone poles was solved earlier this week.

A couple of months ago, my friend, Huntington Beach Marine Safety Chief Kyle Lindo, wrote me with a suggestion for a column after seeing this on the official Huntington Beach website:

"Huntington Beach contains a major installment of one of the state's largest employers, Boeing, formerly McDonnell Douglas. A number of installments on the Boeing campus were originally constructed to service the Apollo Program, most notably the production of the S-IVB upper stage for the Saturn IB and Saturn V rockets, and some nearby telephone poles are still marked 'Apollo Dedicated Mission Control Line.'"

Lindo wondered, as I did after reading, if these poles still existed. And just what exactly they were. Presumably some sort of direct, private contact to Mission Control from Huntington Beach, but it sounded interesting.


So I started researching, or shall I say, driving around Huntington Beach, in the Boeing neighborhood primarily, looking at telephone poles. Lots of telephone poles. But nothing.

Oddly, searching for information online revealed nothing — except that the original passage has been copied and pasted numerous times into many other sites that talk about Huntington Beach history — with no further explanation.

I emailed a group of locals with a general question about any information leading to these telephone poles. I received many responses, most to the effect of, "We know nothing about these but please let us know what you discover."

My friend Chris Jepsen, an archivist at the Orange County Archives and terrific local expert, wrote, "I've heard that line about the telephone poles, but I've never been able to verify it. Very cool if true, but who knows?"

And I received this from Janis Mantini, a former Boeing employee: "Chris, we looked all over campus for poles with these markings and we were never able to find them. We think it might be an urban legend. We heard this story [at] the end of the year 2011 and our facilities guys were all over looking for them but none were located."

OK. Finally. At least a potential bit of information. But information that may suggest they never even existed!

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