Armstrong’s hometown offers unique view of eclipse


WAPAKONETA — Travelers searching for a place to experience the total solar eclipse should look no further than Wapakoneta, birthplace of Apollo 11 astronaut Neil Armstrong.

The city, population 9,800, lies within the path of totality, making it an ideal location to witness the eclipse and learn about the first man to walk on the moon’s surface.

Armstrong was born in Wapakoneta on Aug. 5, 1930, and catapulted to fame when he became the first man to walk on the moon as part of the Apollo 11 lunar mission on July 20, 1969.

Nowhere is Armstrong’s legacy more visible than Wapakoneta: The city founded the Armstrong Air & Space Museum several years after the Apollo mission, which is remembered each year during the Summer Moon Festival. The Museum includes a Gemini VIII spacecraft exhibit, an Apollo 11 moon rock and Armstrong’s spacesuits from the Gemini and Apollo missions.

“This being the hometown of Neil Armstrong, tourists are drawn to our Armstrong Air and Space Museum,” said Jackie Martel, executive director of the Wapakoneta Area Chamber of Commerce. “It’s been many years of preparation for an event like this, where we expect a big location or space enthusiast, as well as eclipse chasers, to come and experience this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

Now, the Moon City is preparing for the rare occasion in which the moon will completely cover the sun, which coincidentally aligns in the birthplace of the first man to walk on the moon’s surface.

“So many of the sites are still there that Neil would recognize,” said Rachel Barber, an administrator for the Auglaize County Historical Society. “His birthplace is still there. His boyhood home from when (the Armstrongs) moved back to Wapakoneta from Connecticut is there.

“The high school he attended, the airfield where he learned to fly, the church he attended, the city building where his father worked, the courthouse where his grandfather was commissioner — all of those (sites) are there, so folks can really experience and see them in a way that Neil would have seen them.”

Wapakoneta has established nine eclipse viewing sites and dozens of pre-eclipse events, including a series of bus tours to the Armstrong Museum and other sites from Armstrong’s childhood.

The partial eclipse will begin in Wapakoneta around 1:54 p.m. Monday and last for nearly two-and-a-half hours, with the full eclipse expected to last for three minutes and 56 seconds starting at 3:09 p.m.


• Veterans Park, 700 S. Wagner Ave., Wapakoneta

• Wapak Breakfast Optimist Park, 500 S. Water St., Wapakoneta

• Prarie View Golf Club, 26820 state Route 67, Waynesfield

• 5 Vines Winery, 12179 Buckland Holden Road, Wapakoneta

• Armstrong Museum, 500 Apollo Drive, Wapakoneta

• Auglaize County Fairgrounds, 1001 Fairview Drive, Wapakoneta

• Moeller Brew Barn, 8016 Marion Drive, Maria Stein

• Astro Lanes, 1113 Apollo Drive, Wapakoneta

• Moon City Music & Event Center, 1208 Lunar Drive, Wapakoneta

• Wapak Church, 14871 Fox Ranch Road, Wapakoneta

Visit for pricing and parking information.

Eamon Baird of Miami Valley Today contributed to this article.

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