Lancaster Shop Shows Antelope Valley’s Aviation and Space Past, Present

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American Data Plates gift shop in Lancaster, Calif. (Credit: Douglas Messier)

California’s Antelope Valley is probably the home of more aviation and space firsts than any place else in the world. Within this massive stretch of desert, the sound barrier was broken, space shuttles were built and tested, Voyager took off and landed for its solo around the world trip, and the first privately-funded manned space vehicle soared above the Karman line.

Monuments and tributes to this glorious past and high-tech present can be found scattered all over the valley from suburban Palmdale in the south to the dusty desert outside Randsburg up north. The Antelope Valley’s blue skies are filled with advanced supersonic jets that boom and zoom across the horizon just like Chuck Yeager first did nearly 70 years ago.

I found a very cool place in Lancaster the other day that encompasses the Antelope Valley’s past and present. American Data Plates, which makes products for aircraft and space vehicles, has a gift shop with interesting aviation and space memorabilia and collectibles.

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The store has all the usual nicknacks you would expect: hats, shirts, postcards, books, coffee mugs and model aircraft, to name just a few.

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But, it also has a number of unusual items that help set the store apart. I found entire shelves full of instruments salvaged from various planes that make for very cool collectibles.

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The shop also contains a number of items that you will find nowhere else. There is a piece of an SR-71 Blackbird that crashed at nearby Edwards Air Force Base.

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And a piece of the X-15 that crashed into the desert near Randsburg after a flight that killed its pilot, Mike Adams.

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The shop is definitely worth a visit if you like aviation and space.

Store Information:

American Data Plate Gift Shop
45626 North Sierra Highway
Lancaster, CA 93534
Hours: Monday — Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.