Since 1981, The Outpost Tavern in Webster,
Texas, just down NASA Road One from the Johnson Space Center, has been a
favorite hangout for astronauts, rocket scientists, space geeks, remodeling
contractors, plumbers, well, you get the general idea.It is the kind of place where everyone just feels comfortable.
It is also a capsule of the history of
the American Space Program – with walls filled to near overflowing with
autographed photographs of astronauts and other luminaries (and some not so
luminaries) as well as other space-related neat stuff.There’s even a tailhook off an unfortunate A6 (let’s just say the
tailhook was not removed by a ground crew).
And it’s been in three movies so far, including the recently released “Space
Cowboys” directed by Clint Eastwood (click
here to see a few pictures from the bar scene shot at The Outpost).
The other two movies are: "RocketMan" and
"Challenger", a made for ABC-TV movie starring Karen Allen and Barry
The history of the building itself is unique – it began life as a World War
Two Air Force barracks at the nearby Ellington Air Force Base before being moved
to its present location in 1965 to serve as a barbecue shack and the U-Joint
(properly “Fort Terry’s The Universal Joint”) before being
purchased by Gene Ross and becoming The Outpost in 1980.
And let’s not forget the famous Outpost Burgers and Fries (OBAF)
made fresh to order.Unlike the
fast food burger chains today, the fries start as a whole potato and are cut
just before cooking,that’s
how fresh they are !
So what is the problem?Well,
The Outpost may have to close the doors forever unless some help is received.
According to Sharon Aden,
the current owner of the business,she
and her husband Stan purchased the business from the estate of Gene
Ross (the “old man”) after his death to see if they could continue the
tradition and good times that were had by everyone.They never intended to get rich off of the business, but did hope to make
the ends meet.Since their
purchase, times have been tough as new establishments opened in the area and the
regular customers found greater happy-hour options available.They had mounting debts but vowed to keep trying.And their struggles were just beginning to pay off when another
setback occurred:the local fire
marshal closed down the grill.
With the grill closed,
nearly half of the business went away,
and the bills began piling up even faster than before.Many of the regulars pitched in to help, volunteering their time and
talents to getting the grill back up as soon as possible.But it isn’t that simple in Webster to bring things up to code.In fact, it turns out it is down right expensive.Permits have to be pulled, contractors hired, specifications met, all of
which came with an ever increasing cost.The
initial bid was over $12,000!But
with some luck and a lot of phone calls, connections were made and costs were
cut.Unfortunately, they were not
cut down enough for a small bar to afford.
Other problems mounted (an aging air conditioner finally bit the dust, the
water main needs to be replaced because of this summers horrific Houston heat, a
cooler needs a new compressor, etc) and Sharon finally decided that it was
enough - Time to close the doors.
As word of this decision
spread throughout the NASA and surrounding community there were words of
Outpost can’t close – it’s too
historic.” “What can we do to
In a week of an emotional roller coaster ride for Sharon and Stan,
everyone wanted to know what was needed to keep the doors open.
Finally, Stan decided that it was time to call a meeting with anybody who
wanted to hear about the reasons for the closing and let them talk about
On Thursday, September 28th, a group of about thirty
"Friends of The Outpost" sat
down with Sharon and Stan and listened to what they had to say: No more debt, no more loans, no partners, and no guarantees.
It only took the assembled group five minutes to decide on a course of
action:ask the community to help
by donating to The Outpost.After
all, for nearly five years Sharon and Stan have put their time and
savings into keeping the place going for us, now it was our turn to give
something back to The Outpost.
of the OutPost raised $9000 in six weeks !
This Webpage Is A Tribute
To The OutPost, A US Space Program Landmark
"SaveTheOutPost" Website Retired Feb 01, 2001
This Website Inaugurated Feb 01, 2001
Questions about this website? Please contact us at:
op-tribes at comcast.net
Webpage Sponsored by Friends Of The OutPost: A Non-Profit
This website is a fan website, not a business website
Original Web Content Copyright 2000-2014