Winganon, Oklahoma — For nearly 60 years, a “space capsule” has been laying beside a long stretch of country road between the villages of Talala and Winganon, Oklahoma. It is clearly marked with a US flag with the letters “NASA” stamped directly under it.
For locals, this “space capsule” has become a proud landmark that is part of their history — a folklore that residents have passed down to their children and grandchildren. But for travelers passing through this remote part of the state, seeing this unusual landmark often invokes great confusion and constant questions. Is that a real NASA space capsule? What is it doing out here in the middle of nowhere?
The origin of this unusual landmark stems from the spring of 1959, when a bridge was being built over nearby Oologah Lake. Like any modern construction undertaking, the project required concrete and LOTS of it. So a constant supply had to be transported to the construction site about 14 miles away. Senior residents who witnessed the construction recall seeing a daily stream of cement mixer trucks traveling up and down this very road.
All was going well, until one day when one of those mixer trucks got into a traffic accident. The precise cause of the accident remains unclear and the details have been lost through history. What is clear is that the accident resulted in the truck overturning — at this exact spot seen in the top photo.
By the time a tow truck arrived on site, the cement had hardened. And moving the truck, upright in its entirety, became nearly impossible due to the extra weight. A decision was made to separate the mixer drum from the truck. The truck was towed away first, with plans to recover the separated drum at a later date. However, this never happened and the drum has been laying at the accident site ever since that fateful day.
Local graffiti artists eventually discovered the mixer drum, and this began its slow transition to become a roadside attraction now known as “Winganon’s Space Capsule”. Since the explosion of social media, thousands of people from across the country have made pilgrimages there — wanting to touch an unusual piece of local history.