Colonel Vernon P. Saxon Jr. Aerospace Museum
Content is from the site's 2013 archived pages.
This modest, volunteer-run museum recounts milestones in experimental flight testing in the surrounding desert, including the first breaking of the sound barrier, the first hypersonic flight and the first space-shuttle landing. Its collection includes an F-4 fighter jet, an XLR-8 rocket engine and flight suits and helmets. You may have seen the museum in the nationally distributed print ads for the latest North Face ski jackets. The North Face Company chose this location due to the marketing director's association with the facility, plus the cool aircraft made a fascinating backdrop for their products, which are seen as the top of the line in terms of warmth, durability and fashion.
It was named for the late Colonel Vernon Parker Saxon Jr, a vice commander at the nearby Edwards Airforce Base's Flight Test Center.
The Colonel Vernon P. Saxon Jr. Aerospace Museum is located next to the Twenty Mule Team Museum in downtown Boron and serves the public as an educational facility dedicated to preserving flight history and flight research performed over Boron and the surrounding Aerospace Valley.
The Fountain - In Memory of Brent and Cindy Holmes
On August 6, 2000 long-time Boron residents and Kramer Junction Roadhouse Cafe owners Brent and Cindy Holmes were tragically killed in an automobile accident while returning home from a classic car show in Lake Tahoe. Brent and Cindy were generous donors to the Saxon Aerospace Museum giving both time and money for the construction of the museum. To honor their generosity and contributions to the Saxon Aerospace Museum "The Fountain" was dedicated to their memory on March 15, 2003.
Become a Saxon Aerospace Museum Sponsor
The Saxon Aerospace Museum is currently seeking sponsors to support the ongoing mission of our aerospace museum. The museum is a certified non-profit organization and all donations are tax deductible. There are two ways to donate to the museum's continuing mission, an unspecified cash donation or through sponsoring one of our memorial tiles on our fountain.
Individual museum sponsorship tiles with a business or personal name are available to help sponsor the continued efforts of the museum and to enable our residents to become part of this living memorial to the citizens of Boron. The tiles are available for a donation of $35.00 and all the profits are used to promote the continued operations of the museum.
If you are interested in purchasing tiles as a living memorial to yourself, a family member or your business or making a cash donation to the museum please contact us via our web site feedback form, by email, or by calling (760) 762-6600.
"To collect, interpret, preserve, and display aeronautics and aerospace materials relevant to flight research performed over the skies of Boron and the surrounding Aerospace Valley."
The Colonel Vernon P. Saxon Jr. Aerospace Museum is located next to the Twenty Mule Team Museum in downtown Boron and serves the public as an educational facility dedicated to preserving flight history and flight research performed over Boron and the surrounding Aerospace Valley. Our further purpose is to provide educational programming for schools and institutions, promote the advancement of aerospace engineering, provide public exhibitions of aeronautical materials and memorabilia, and to serve as a scholarly resource for higher education.
Northern Gateway to the Aerospace Valley
Since the 1940s the town of Boron has served as the approach corridor for experimental and military aircraft landing on the runways of Edwards Air Force Base. Our unique geographic location has earned Boron the title of the "Northern Gateway to the Aerospace Valley" and over the years we have witnessed thousands of experimental test flights being conducted by NACA, NASA, the United States Air Force and private industry.
Several milestones in flight history have taken place in the skies over Boron over the last six decades. One-of-a-kind experimental aircraft, commonly referred to as X-Planes, have continuously flown their high-speed, high-altitude, record-breaking missions in the skies over Boron and the surrounding Aerospace Valley. Some of the historical events that have taken place or originated in the Aerospace Valley include, the breaking the sound barrier (X-1), the first hypersonic flight (X-15), the setting of a world speed record for a winged aircraft (X-15A), the first landing of a NASA Space Shuttle orbiter (Enterprise), and recently the setting of a new world speed record by an air breathing aircraft (X-43A).
The rich aeronautics history of Boron and the Aerospace Valley inspired the Boron Chamber of Commerce to seek a way to preserve as many of these milestones in flight history as possible. In 1997, the Chamber decided to build a lasting tribute to the flight research history our town had been witness to for so many decades. The Chamber had the vision but we needed an aerospace pioneer or military hero to name our facility for. After considering several candidates, one man stood high above the crowd, Colonel Vernon P. Saxon, Jr.
Colonel Vernon P. Saxon Jr. was a former Vice-Commander at the Air Force Test Flight Center at Edwards. During his illustrious career Colonel Saxon spent 17 of his 30 years of military service stationed at Edwards. He also logged more than 4,000 flight hours and many of the missions he flew were over the skies of Boron and the surrounding areas. Some of the aircraft he flew during his 30 year career include the F-4, the A-1, the T-38 and his favorite the F-15.
Groundbreaking ceremonies for the Colonel Vernon P. Saxon, Jr. Aerospace Museum were held on September 13, 1997. Over one thousand friends, family and local community members attended the ceremonies. Major General Richard Engel spoke to the crowed about Col. Saxon's successful career at the Air Force Flight Test Center and the many sorties he and Col. Saxon had flown on the F-4 fighter. The Boron Chamber's vision of building a world-class aerospace museum was rapidly becoming a reality.
Saxon Aerospace Museum Receives Landscaping Materials
The Saxon Aerospace Museum and the Boron Chamber of Commerce would like to thank Paul and Mike Chism of Tri-Western Resources LLC for their generous donation of 40 tons of crushed rock to add to the landscaping around the Saxon Aerospace Museum. The rock will be spread around the grounds and exhibits on Boron's Annual Community Clean up day scheduled for September 30th. A special thanks also goes out to Tri-Western's dump truck driver Barry Golden for delivering the four loads of crushed rock to the museum.
Building the Dream
For several years the Boron Chamber of Commerce had a dream to build an Aerospace Museum showcasing memorabilia and displays of aerospace systems associated with their neighbors, the Flight Test Center, Air Force Research Laboratory and NASA Dryden. The vision was to align the new museum next to the current Twenty Mule Team Museum. In 1996, an Aerospace Team was formed to begin the planning phase. The dream was becoming a vision with goals. Resources and costs were identified to complete the construction goals which included raising the funding needed to complete the project.
To show the local community this dream could be realized the first project was to obtain an aircraft display. The Aerospace Team worked to procure an F-4 Phantom through the Air Force Conditional Deeded Program, Davis Montham AFB, Arizona. This entailed raising twelve thousand dollars for environmental and transportation costs associated with the aircraft selected for display. In addition, a team of volunteers from Edwards, US Borax, KJC and the local community was organized to set up the display. This monumental task was completed in two weeks.
The next step in the process was to at the cost to purchase and build the Aerospace Museum. The Aerospace Team visited the March AFB Museum, Edwards AFB Museum and contacted other museums to obtain information on how they started. A plain was developed, the budget established and the Aerospace Team began working on a set of draft blueprints. The new museum needed a name! At one of the Boron Chamber of Commerce meetings the team brought this to the community. It was decided at the meeting that the museum should be named after someone who spent time at Edwards AFB and loved to fly over this area. Was there such a person?
The Air Force Flight Test Center was contacted and a name was identified, Colonel Vernon Parker Saxon Jr. At that time Col. Saxon was the Air Force Flight Test Centers Vice-Commander. Throughout his career he had 11 assignments at the Air Force Flight Test Center at Edwards. He flew more than 4,000 hours and held a Command Pilot rating. He flew several types of aircraft including the A-1, T-38 and his favorite the F-15. He was also instrumental in building a bridge between the base and the surrounding communities. He chaired the Installation Restoration Program, which brought him in close touch with the local communities on environmental issues.
The Boron Chamber of Commerce voted unanimously to ask Col. Saxon if he would honor or community and allow us to name the Aerospace Museum after him. It was at this time the community learned of his battle with terminal cancer. In April 1997, Col. Saxon succumbed to this terrible disease. The Aerospace Team felt naming the museum after Col. Saxon would be a fitting memorial to honor him. The Saxon family visited Boron and reviewed the plans for the new museum and became part of the team to build the Col. Vernon P. Saxon Jr. Aerospace Museum.
A ground breaking dedication ceremony was held at the site of the new museum on Sep. 13, 1997, to an attendance of well over a thousand friends, family and local community members. Major General Richard Engel spoke to the crowed about Col. Saxon's successful career at the Air Force Flight Test Center. He was very touched by the display of the F-4C Phantom and told of the many sorties he and Col. Saxon had flown on this jet during their assignment to the Air Force Flight Test Center, Test Pilot School. He also told of Col. Saxon's crusade to bring the Air Force Flight Test Center and the surrounding communities together. He wanted to share the mission of Edwards with the neighboring communities so they could stand together as a team.
Col. Saxon's daughter Jennifer also spoke to the community and in her speech she stated. "My dad loved everything about aerospace. When he wasn't flying, he was watching movies about flying and reading books about flying, and building airplanes that would sometimes even fly. He loved flying, but not just anywhere. He loved flying at Edwards. Edwards was his job, his career, and his life. This museum will be a fitting tribute to my dad not only because it showcases his passion for airplanes, but because it depends on something he worked hard to encourage - continued cooperation between the units at Edwards and the surrounding communities, like Boron. This museum of which I know the Saxon family will be proud. It is a museum of which my father would have been proud. He never wanted to leave this area and now thanks to you, his spirit never will."
Events at the Saxon Aerospace Museum
The Saxon Aerospace Museum hosts and sponsors events at the museum which are of special significance to the community of Boron or the aerospace industry. Our state-of-the-art facilities provide an ideal location for hosting special events or community functions and can comfortably accommodate up to 100 people. Catering is available from several of our local restaurants a n d our in-house sound system can be used for both speaking and musical presentations.
Front Entrance Dedication - During the early construction phase of the museum, tools and building equipment were set aside for the unveiling of the front entrance wall by Claire and Jeff Saxon. The unveiling also served as a fund-raiser to secure additional support and funds from the community. The Amargo Cruisers Car Club cooked and served a Tri-Tip dinner for the 200 guests in attendance and entertainment was provided by a local band. The event was a huge success and raised approximately $23,000 for the further construction of our facilities.
State of the Community - A "State of the Community" dinner was held at the museum a few months prior to our grand opening Approximately 100guests enjoyed the catered affair which featured guest speakers from Edwards AFB, NASA Dryden Flight Research Center, KernCounty, U S Borax and KJC Solar. The speakers at the "State of the Community" dinner provided the attendees with an insight and vision for the future growth of their industries and the impact they will have on Boron and the surrounding Aerospace Valley.
Grand Opening Ceremony -The Grand Opening of the Colonel Vernon P. Saxon Jr. Aerospace Museum was held on April 5, 2003 with approximately 300 guests in attendance. It was a very special day for the Saxon family, their friends and the community of Boron. There were representatives present from local industries, The Secretary of the Army, Edwards Air Force Base, county, state, and national offices.
Steve Perez Appreciation Dinner - A special "Thank You" dinner was held at the museum to honor outgoing County Supervisor Steve Perez which was attended by about 100 guests. During his time in office, Steve made sure that Boron was not forgotten by the county government in Bakersfield by making special efforts to help our community.
Armed Forces Reserves Dinner - Recently an event was hosted at the museum to honor and recognize our Reserve Military members from local installations. A catered dinner was provided to 85 guests by a local restaurant and the whole casual evening was enjoyable. Most of the Reservist were Members of the Air Force, so the Saxon Aerospace Museum provided an ideal setting.
Other special events are currently being considered and planned for the museum to be held in the near future. These events will not only provide an outstanding setting, but will help to raise much needed funds for the museum to operate and grow.
If your organization would like the Saxon Aerospace Museum to sponsor and/or host a special event at the museum, please contact the Director at 760-762-6600 for consideration.
Boron is the kind of community where civic-minded citizens pull together, work hard as a team, and in the end accomplish monumental undertakings. The citizens of Boron over the course of the next six years donated thousands of dollars and man-hours towards the construction of the Saxon Aerospace Museum. On September 5, 2003 their hard work was rewarded with the grand opening of the Saxon Aerospace Museum.
The Boron Chamber of Commerce would like to thank "Team Boron" (James Welling, Ken Ross, Hugh Jamison, Melvin English, Bob Cunningham, and George LaMoureaux) for their generous donations of both time and money in making the dream of the Saxon Aerospace Museum a reality. A special thanks also go out to our major corporate sponsors US Borax, KJC Solar, Meldon Glass and the U. S. Air Force. Our corporate sponsor's philanthropic contributions of thousands of dollars of money and construction materials enabled us to build our world-class facilities.
The Saxon Aerospace Museum would like to recognize and thank the local businesses and individuals who have generously donated thousands of dollars and man-hours to make the Saxon Aerospace Museum a reality.
Major Financial Contributors
Thank you to the following businesses and individuals for their generous financial and materials contributions during the construction of our facilities. We could have never completed the museum without your philanthropic contributions towards the construction of our facilities.
- KJC Operating Systems
- Meldon Glass
- U. S. Air Force - Edwards, CA
- U. S. Borax
The following civic-minded individuals and businesses were instrumental in the physical construction of our facilities. They have donated countless man-hours and generously donated food and drink to keep the construction crew going.
- Bob Cunningham
- Domingo's Finest Mexican and Seafood Restaurant
- Melvin English
- Ken and Janet Eu
- Hugh Jamison
- K & L Corral
- George LaMoureaux
- Roadhouse Cafe
- Ken Ross
- James Welling