South Dakota. "Stratobowl"
Historic balloon flights. This is why the Stratobowl is "on the map". From here, in 1934 and 1935, the Army Air Corps and National Geographic Society launched manned balloon flights into the stratosphere to a record 72,395 feet. It was then that this little valley became known as the "Stratobowl" and the birthplace of the space age.
Much has been written about these historic flights since they were very significant, newsworthy events. The National Geographic documented them and there was a lot of media and newpaper coverage. You can easily find a great deal of information about the history of the Stratobowl by doing a web search and checking out any of the many excellent websites available, such as Morning Star Balloon Company and wikiepidia.com.
The Explorer II Gondola. The Smithsonion National Air and Space Museum in Washington DC is home to 1935 Explorer II gondola. Clearly, this underscores the historical significance of these flights - the beginning of the Space Age. To learn more, see the Smithsonion Museum site.
If you happen to be in the Black Hills area, there are two museums which have high quality displays about these flights. They are the South Dakota Air and Space Museum, which is located next to Ellsworth Air Force Base, in Box Elder, and The Journey Museum, which is near downtown Rapid City, SD.