EV Life | August 6, 2019

#WeirdEVSpots Part 3: Midwestern US


Team ChargePoint

Apollo 11 Mission

If you hadn’t heard, 2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission that put human beings on the moon. We can only imagine how Neil Armstrong felt stepping off the LEM (lunar excursion module) onto the moon’s surface for the first time in history. What a strange trip that must have been! So, what do firsts and strange trips have to do with EV charging? If you haven’t been paying attention, this is the third in our four-part series of out-of-the-ordinary, and often out-of-the-way, places you can reach in an EV—sometimes for the first time ever! (See the first two installments here and here.)

And Neil Armstrong? He was a proud Midwesterner who got his start as a Naval aviator and test pilot before joining NASA. Today, by installing our charging solutions, airports across the Midwestern US are helping EV travelers go places they’ve never gone before. That’s one small step for ChargePoint, one giant leap for e-mobility…

Armstrong Air and Space Museum, Wapakoneta, OH

Columbus, OH

Speaking of Apollo 11, Columbus Regional—a trio of airports that includes John Glenn Columbus International (CMH), Rickenbacker International (LCK) and Bolton Field (TZR)—not only offer ChargePoint solutions to travelers, they’re only a moon rock’s throw from some pretty exciting Neil Armstrong history.

  • Armstrong Air and Space Museum: Wapakoneta, Ohio was Armstrong’s boyhood home and where he took his first flying lessons. There are celebrations throughout the area, including at the eponymously named air and space museum, which features an actual Apollo 11 moon rock, along with Armstrong’s Gemini and Apollo spacesuits. Located 90 miles or so from Columbus.
  • Neil Armstrong First Flight Memorial: This approximately half-size replica of that LEM Armstrong would step off from and into history was built by retired steelworkers who even added a faux moonscape complete with footprints. That’s not even the coolest part. It’s located on the former site of an airfield where the future astronaut would take his very first plane ride as a 6-year-old boy. It isn’t quite to the moon and back, but at 160 miles from Columbus, this one will test your mettle (and your battery).

Tiffany Dome, Chicago

Chicago, IL

The late, great Anthony Bourdain said Chicago was made up of “one cultural Mount Everest after another.” We couldn’t agree more, which is why we’re proud that ChargePoint is represented at the city’s two largest airports, O’Hare International (ORD) and Chicago Midway International (MDW). Fun fact: both airports had mid-20th century name changes from Orchard Field Airport and Chicago Municipal Airport, respectively. Both are named for World War II icons: O’Hare for fallen naval pilot Lt. Cmdr. Edward "Butch" O'Hare, who single-handedly fought off 9 enemy bombers and Midway for one of the most famous battles of the war. While in Chicago, be sure to visit:

  • Tiffany Dome: At 1,134 square feet, this glass masterpiece is believed to be the largest Tiffany dome in the world. If it’s not, it’s certainly the most stunning. It was restored a decade ago to renew its 1897-era brilliance. Naturally lit, it even saves on energy at its Chicago Cultural Center location. Depending on traffic, it’s located equidistant from both airports, roughly a 30-minute drive from each.
  • American Science and Surplus: A surplus store for nerds? You know we’re in. You never know what you’re going to find because the inventory is ever changing, but everything is always science-related and really, really cool—only 4.5 miles from ORD.

Eight Mile Wall, Detroit, MI

Detroit, MI

Sadly, our charging solutions may not be the highlight of your stop at Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County (DTW), Michigan’s busiest airport. That would have to go to the incredible LED tunnel, 9,000 feet of underground illuminated panels that flash colors along to an original musical score. Other sites to check out include:

  • Eight Mile Wall: This wall, which once separated black and white neighborhoods in Detroit is a reminder of how far we’ve come on race relations—and how far we yet have to go. Located 30 minutes from DTW.
  • The Russell Industrial Center: This massive (2.2 million square feet) century-old artist and small business mecca is an affordable way for creatives and entrepreneurs to create, network and sell their work, 20 miles from the airport.

National Museum of Toys and Miniatures, Kansas City, MO

Kansas City, MO

In the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, Oklahoma!, Kansas City represents the ultimate in state-of-the-art progress. In the song by the same name, the character Will Parker marvels at Kansas City’s many wonders, singing, ‘I got to Kansas City on a Frid'y. By Sattidy I larned a thing or two. For up to then I didn't have an idy. Of whut the modren world was comin' to!’” After ticking off cutting-edge technology such as automobiles, telephones and skyscrapers, he wonders, “Whut next?” Well, we’re here to tell you, Will. EV charging at Kansas City International Airport (MCI) is whut’s next. You’ll also want to check out:

  • The National Museum of Toys and Miniatures: ChargePoint boasts the largest EV charging network in the world and this place has the largest collection of fine-scale miniatures on the planet (and one of the biggest treasure troves of antique toys too), 30 minutes from MCI. 
  • SubTropolis: While we’re on the subject of big, this 55 million square foot city beneath the city has been dubbed the “world’s largest underground business complex.” And because it’s below ground, energy costs are lower too—something we can get behind here at ChargePoint. It’s more storage than shopping, but you can drive through weekdays from 6am-6pm (believe us, you don’t want to walk it). Most entrances are less than 30 minutes from the airport.

Other Midwest US Airports

We’ve covered a lot of ground (or, if you prefer, space) in the Midwest, but we’re not finished yet. If you find yourself charging up at General Mitchell International Airport (MKE) in Milwaukee, Wisconsin make sure to visit their inspiring flight gallery and then check out:

  • Niagara Cave: Rochester International Airport (RST) in Rochester, Minnesota is the gateway to Niagara Cave, the largest cavern in the US Midwest. The cave has a wonderful backstory involving three pigs (alas, no wolves were involved), but the reason we love it is that it’s the first commercial cave in the world powered entirely by solar—an hour from the airport.

Want to know what else is weird? Find out next time when we take you to the out-of-the-ordinary destinations you can reach from airports in the US Northeast and Toronto.

Where’s the strangest place you’ve taken your EV? Let us know using the hashtag #weirdEVspots on Twitter for a chance to win a special prize. If you'd like EV charging at your favorite airport, feel free to tag them too!


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