October 06, 2002
Beam me up - to El Paso?

El Paso, Texas, is hoping to capitalize on its status as Gene Roddenberry's birthplace to draw the lucrative Trekkie tourist trade:

Trekkies in town for the city's first Star Trek convention won't need star charts to find the birthplace of Gene Roddenberry, who created the science-fiction television series.

By this weekend's convention, the central El Paso site where Roddenberry was born in 1921 will be marked with a plaque. That location is now occupied by Sylvia's Flowers.

The wooden plaque, which reads, in part, "He created a universe for his future and that universe was `Star Trek,' which became a worldwide phenomenon," will be placed inside the flower shop. The plaque is a little larger than a legal pad.

"We can become a big Trekkie town," city Rep. Anthony Cobos told the El Paso Times. Cobos, who is paying for the marker with campaign funds, hopes the plaque will become a destination for legions of Star Trek fans and bring tourism to El Paso.

The timeline in the official Star Trek Web site begins with Roddenberry's birth in El Paso, and many hard-core fans will boldly go to see the plaque, said John Peterson, a fan and administrator of the El Paso school district's Gene Roddenberry Planetarium.

I've been to El Paso. It's a nice enough place if you like it hot, dry, and mountainous. Dunno how much Trekkie tourism will bring them, but I wish them luck.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on October 06, 2002 to The great state of Texas

Well, it's not as if west Texas is brimming with opportunities to draw tourists....

Posted by: Jack Cluth on October 6, 2002 7:29 PM

I could see it maybe if they set up some kind of Roddenberry/Trek museum or exhibit, but it sounds as if all there is is the plaque. How many people are going to go there just to see a plaque?

Posted by: Alex on October 7, 2002 5:52 AM

I live in El Paso, and have always wanted to go to a convention. With Gene Roddenberry's birth here, it seems the logical place.

Posted by: Tucker on November 3, 2003 9:42 AM