Tucked away in a private courtyard just behind a little house and next to a barber shop is a strange but fantastic stone monument celebrating the future birthplace of United Federation of Planets hero, and Captain of the Starship Enterprise, James Tiberius Kirk. The monument notes that Captain Kirk’s birthplace will not become part of history till 2228, but the city of Riverside, Iowa is already proud of their future native son.
Gene Roddenberry noted in his 1968 book The Making of Star Trek, that James Tiberius Kirk was born in a small, but unnamed Iowa town. Since there was no city designated by Roddenberry, Riverside decided in 1985 that they were just as likely a place as any, and declared themselves the future birthplace of Captain James T. Kirk. It was Steve Miller, a Star Trek fan and Riverside city councilman that suggested the idea but it was the entire city council that unanimously passed the motion at the very next meeting. Riverside promptly changed their official city slogan from “Where the Best Begins” to “Where the Trek Begins”, and they have never looked back. They now hosts the annual Trek Fest (formerly the River Fest), and since the release of the 2009 reboot have officially become part of the Star Trek cannon.
After the city council declaration, Miller planted a flag behind the barbershop designating it Kirk’s official future birthplace. A proper engraved monument was added a few years later, and now there’s a bench for relaxing and spaceship shaped donation box to help with maintenance costs.
Captain James T. Kirk Facts
- The mask of Michael Myers of the Halloween films was a slightly modified and painted Captain Kirk mask.
- Kirk graduated in the top five percent of his class at Starfleet.
- According to the 2010 Space Foundation survey, more people are inspired by the adventures of Captain Kirk than they are by those of Col. Buzz Aldrin, the second man to walk on the moon. In the same survey Kirk tied cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin as the sixth most popular space hero.
- In 1968, William Shatner (as Captain Kirk), and Nichelle Nichols (as Lt. Uhura) shared the first interracial kiss in American television history.
- Kirk became the first and only student at Starfleet Academy to defeat the Kobayashi Maru test.
- In the original series Kirk never said “Beam me up, Scotty!”.
- In 2002, Kirk’s captain’s chair from the original Star Trek was auctioned for $304,000.