Houston 101: Neighborhood Of Astronauts

Nowadays, being an astronaut just doesn't have the cachet it once did. But back in the 1960s, astronauts were celebrities, and an obscure neighborhood near Clear Lake was their Beverly Hills.

Timber Cove was a development of what today would be considered smallish homes -- no McMansions here -- on small cul-de-sacs and streets, surrounded by water and trees. Astronauts flocked there.

Anyone who's watched Apollo 13 remembers Kathleen Quinlan as Marilyn Lovell, telling a NASA flack that reporters who want to put an antenna on her lawn "Can take it up with my husband...He'll be home on Friday!!"

That happened on Lazywood Lane, a small street in Timber Cove. As one history of the development put it (scroll down to page 48), four of the original Mercury 7 astronauts moved there, and, "Sharing a common goal at work, the neighbors became friends; friends became extended family and the subdivision evolved into a close-knit community."

Lovell's book describes how, when tragedy struck Apollo 1, when near-disaster hit on other missions, wives would hustle over to the affected family's house.

Timber Cove embraced the attention to some degree -- the community pool was built in the shape of a Mercury capsule -- but also, eventually, they had to fight off tour buses and gawkers looking for celebrity sightings.

Many NASA people still live in the area, of course. Here's Lazywood Lane today:

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A google map

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Gus Grissom and Wally Schirra lived on Pine Shadows; at the end of Sleepy Hollow Court (zoom in to find) were John Glenn and Scott Carpenter. Pete Conrad also lived in the subdivision.

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