Councilman works to place 1950s neighborhood on National Register of Historic Places

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - You don't have to be on Redstone Arsenal or even at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center to find traces of Huntsville's rich space history.

Now a Huntsville City Councilman is working to recognize an area, you've probably never heard of, but one that played a vital role in the space race.

At first glance, McThornmor Acres looks like a normal, mid-century neighborhood, but like the space race itself, the neighborhood has a history that's deeply rooted in the Rocket City.

“This is a city where people take a moment and take a look back at the history and the heritage," says Huntsville City Councilman Bill Kling.

McThornmor Acres was built in the late 1950s by early NASA engineers, as a neighborhood near their commute to Redstone Arsenal.

Councilman Kling is now working with the City of Huntsville, along with the Huntsville Historical Commission, to apply for the area to be added to the National Register of Historic Places.

“Someone will go through and will basically document every single structure in the neighborhood and they’ll be looked at, the history will be broken down for every house," says Kling.

The State of Alabama will then review the application, before the federal government makes the final decision.

The move won't impact current or future homeowners.

“Homeowner owns their home, they can do whatever they want to with their home just as anyone else in any neighborhood can do," says Kling.

But the longtime councilman hopes it will pluck the neighborhood from obscurity.

If added to the registry, the city would change the street signs from green to brown and add historic markers.

“When people come to these neighborhoods they are going to notice they are in an historically significant neighborhood," he says.

Kling hopes, in the future, cars that drive by, might just take a second look, and learn more about the historic neighborhood.

“We’re proud of it," says Kling.

Kling says the process to add McThornmor Acres to the National Register of Historic Places could be a lengthy one. When the city got Lowe Mill on the list, it took about 2-3 years.