Category Archives: Bricklyn History

Understanding the history of the Tripartite Realm of Bricklyn

Stunning Revelation in Bricklyn Eagle Interview of American Astronaut Neil Armstrong Published after 10+ Year Hold

February 25, 2023

➤ Last week, The Bricklyn Eagle reported on the new downtown Space Flight Park, which many predict will quickly become a “must see” stop for visitors to Bricklyn.

➤ Today we are publishing below the transcript of a June 10, 2009 interview Editor Walt Brickman conducted with the man who first set foot on the Moon, American astronaut Neil Armstrong. Publication of that 2009 transcript, as you will read, had been embargoed until today. How Armstrong’s Apollo 11 lunar mission relates to Bricklyn’s own astronaut, the late Tom Swiftbrick, will for the first time be revealed.

Transcript of Embargoed 2009 Bricklyn Eagle Interview of U.S. Astronaut Neil Armstrong:

Bricklyn Eagle: Mr. Armstrong, thank you so much for being willing to come to Bricklyn and visit with us today to discuss some aspects of the secret history of the Apollo 11 mission to the Moon which you led. I say “secret” because, as you mentioned to us last week, it involves the late Tom Swiftbrick, one of Bricklyn’s original astronauts.

Neil Armstrong: I’m glad to talk with you this afternoon. We do have an understanding that no portion of this interview will be publicly released until ten years and six months after my death.📍

📍Neil Armstrong died on August 25, 2012, ten years and six months ago. 10-6 was apparently Armstrong’s favorite combination of numbers, because, he once said, that with NASA he “always seemed to be on stand-by.”

Bricklyn Eagle: Yes, we agreed to that condition.

Armstrong: Good. Thank you. I am sure at that day in the future, the citizens of Bricklyn will take great pride in the fact that one of their own, Astronaut Tom Swiftbrick, accompanied us on the Apollo 11 mission, and walked on the surface of the Moon with me on that amazing July day in 1969.

Bricklyn Eagle: Wow! I just felt my heart skip a beat when you said that. Amazing!

Tom Swiftbrick suited up on the lunar surface, next to Neil Armstrong’s left leg. Image captured by Buzz Aldrin on July 20, 1969 (image generated with the assistance of DALL-E2).

Armstrong: Walt, let me pull out this shot of Tom that Buzz Aldrin took right after I jiggled Tom out of my pocket and put him down on the Moon’s surface. i must have looked like a giant next to Tom.

Bricklyn Eagle: Over the years some of us had heard rumors about this. But it’s still stunning to hear you say that Tom Swiftbrick walked on the surface of the Moon with you.

When we asked Swiftbrick a few years ago about this rumor, he laughingly denied it, saying “don’t you news guys have something better to do with you time.”📍

📍As many readers know, Tom Swiftbrick died nearly three years ago. Bricklyn’s ballpark was renamed in his memory — as Swiftbrick was also a big fan and supporter of the Bricklyn Stackers.

Bricklyn astronaut Tom Swiftbrick in his new and more colorful BASA spacesuit. Photo from The Bricklyn Eagle archives (August 5, 1973).

Armstrong: [chuckling] Of course Tom would say that. He agreed to never disclose his involvement with Apollo 11, and as the honorable Bricklynite he was, he never did. The only others at NASA who knew about Tom being onboard were my crew-mates, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins, who also, as they promised me, have kept their lips sealed.

Bricklyn Eagle: Why the need for secrecy?

Armstrong: There’s an interesting story, also not known to the public, behind that. NASA had originally approached Carl B. Sheagan, your Realm’s chief cosmologist at the time, about having a Bricklynite on board, you know, as a sign of building stronger relations between the human and the LEGO-based world. In fact, an initial understanding was reached with NASA that Tom would join our crew. You can even see — if you move that slider bar on the photo below to the right — there’s the real original NASA photo of me. You’ll see the Bricklyn logo on my left sleeve just beneath the American flag.

The first photo you see above is the one of Neil Armstrong the world has come to know, and is even featured on Wikipedia. But if you move the slider to the right you’ll see the actual photo of Armstrong, with the words “Bricklyn VT” emblazoned on his left arm sleeve. These words were excised from the copy of the photo people are familiar with. (NASA Photo, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

But some of the “politicos” with oversight over NASA began to feel uncomfortable with having a non-human individual on the spaceflight, and put pressure on our agency. They felt it would make NASA the laughingstock of the human world and that our major rival, the U.S.S.R., would taunt us as being anti-human for having a LEGO astronaut join our crew.📍 That photo of me suited up [see above] that I just showed you was “photoshopped” to delete the BricklynVT logo.

Chimpanzee “Ham” in space suit is fitted into the couch of the Mercury-Redstone 2 capsule #5 prior to its test flight which was conducted on January 31, 1961. NASA photo via Wikipedia.

📍Editor’s note: Too often we forget that many non-humans have been in space, including Ham, the chimp who flew for NASA, and many monkeys and dogs who flew for the Soviet Union.

Of course, what those politicians believed was nonsense. Tom Swiftbrick was as well-trained to go to the Moon as I was. I felt awful for Tom when word was passed along that he had been scrubbed from the crew. But I felt even worse knowing this was a lost opportunity for us “Outlanders” to strengthen our ties with you “Inlanders” … and frankly, all of us astronauts, whether human or LEGO-based, shared the same passion for exploration.

Bricklyn Eagle: Remarkable what you’re saying. But how then did Swiftbrick get onto Apollo 11?

Armstrong: [chuckling] That was my little secret, shared only with Buzz and Michael. I asked Tom if he’d be willing to be tucked into the oversized shirt pocket under my spacesuit and come along for the ride. Just told him he’d have to vow never to reveal this. Tom, with that famous grin of his, agreed. As he weighed just twelve grams with his own spacesuit on, his extra weight was minuscule, and made essentially no difference in our overall payload.

So, yes, Swiftbrick was with us. When we had the cameras turned off, he floated out of my pocket and enjoyed the pleasure of weightlessness. As I mentioned, he also walked on the surface of the Moon with me, so it was truly a giant leap not just for mankind, but for “LEGO kind” as well!

Bricklyn Eagle: So you took Swiftbrick with you, despite what your higher-ups at NASA decided?

Armstrong: Yes, I did. It was the only time in my career I did anything like that, though if I were a lawyer I’d note that we were simply told that Astronaut Swiftbrick could not be a member of the crew, not that we couldn’t take him on board as our “passenger.”

Bricklyn Eagle: I want to thank you again for being willing to sit down with us for an interview. We know that someday we in Bricklyn will be able to honor not just Tom Swiftbrick and his fellow Bricklyn astronauts, but also you and your crew-mates for what you accomplished on Apollo 11 … and what you did for Tom Swiftbrick, and for Bricklyn. ✥

Responses to the Publication of the Armstrong Interview:

To The Editor: “I was very pleasantly surprised to read your interview of famous American astronaut Neil Armstrong. The revelations in today’s Bricklyn Eagle about astronaut Tom Swiftbrick’s extraordinary voyage with Neil Armstrong will be treasured by all citizens of the Realm. In conjunction with the opening of Space Flight Park, this has been quite a week in the history of Bricklyn.” — O’Neal deGas Brickson, Chief Cosmologist, Realm of Bricklyn.

To the Editor: “No one could have better scripted a week like we’ve just had. To see the amazing Space Flight Park now open after nearly a year of construction, and then find out that our very own Tom Swiftbrick reached the Moon with Neil Armstrong. It all just takes my breath away.” — Dennis Plater Dross, Bricklyn Ambassador to Vermont & Outland Communities,.

Astronauts Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong in NASA’s training mockup of the moon and the Apollo Lunar Module. Were photos of the mission and Moon landing actually made using sets similar to this training mockup? Many still believe this. / Photo by NASA via Wikimedia.

To the Editor: You must think Bricklynites are country bumpkins? We know that Tom Swiftbrick never was on Apollo 11, and never went down to the Moon in anyone’s shirt pocket! In fact, there never was any space flight to the Moon’s surface. It was that big-shot director, Kubrick I think was his name, who put the whole deep fake together on a big Hollywood set of his.

You want proof? Your article says that NASA “photoshopped” the photo of Neil Armstrong’s spacesuit to eliminate the Bricklyn logo. Can you believe a group that would do that? If they’ll post phony pictures like that one, why wouldn’t they also post fake pictures of the so-called lunar landing?

It’s sad that Bricklyn was ever involved with NASA. Should have just kept our own space program going. NASA even swiped our rocket design for their “new” SLS rockets. You gonna trust that outfit?” — Seeker of Truth, Bricklyn, VT

Reply from Editor Walt Brickman: We stand by our reporting. Only a small segment of the population still believes that the lunar landing was a fake. High-resolution orbital photos indicate that the lunar vehicle components and flags are still on the Moon’s surface. As to what Neil Armstrong told me during our interview, I will leave that to our readers to judge.

See Walt Brickman’s poem in honor of Swiftbrick & Armstrong: “In the Shirt Pocket of Neil Armstrong

Unique Space Flight Park Opens Downtown

Feb. 18, 2023

by Samantha B. Fortune, Bricklyn Eagle Health & Science Reporter & David Plater Blue, Metro Desk Reporter

Showcasing an imposing BASA BrickR-4 rocket,📍 Bricklyn’s new Space Flight Park has opened to the delight of many Bricklynites.

📍 BASA is the Bricklyn Aeronautics & Space Administration, comparable to America’s NASA.

Bricklyn’s new Space Flight Park, located in the center of downtown, and surrounded by the buildings of Upper North, West, East, and South Streets.

The BASA BrickR-4 rocket, used in several 1990-era launches,📍 will serve a new mission: as the central attraction in the newly dedicated “Space Flight Park.”

📍Unknown to most, Bricklyn’s BASA BrickR-4 rocket’s design has — with adjustments for scale — been used as the model for NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket being used for the Artemis space missions. Unfortunately, NASA has not publicly credited BASA for its’ pioneering 1992 rocket design!

The BrickR-4 rocket displayed in Space Flight Park is no longer functional, and has been emptied of fuel and other equipment. But it still evokes memories of the salad days of Bricklyn’s space flight program, a program that, with the cooperation of the League of Inland Cities, also involved astronauts from three other Inland communities.

Space Flight Park: How the Pieces Came Together

Legotary President and High School History teacher Jerry Plater-Zybrick next to the BrickR-4 rocket at Space Flight Park.

Jerry Plater-Zybrick, head of the Legotary told the enthusiastic opening-day crowd that “Space Flight Park offers a dramatic, unique experience,” adding that “the Legotary is proud to have supported its assembly.”

The idea of restoring one of Bricklyn’s old rockets, and in the process creating a downtown park honoring Bricklyn’s space flight program, came from members of the Bricklyn Legotary.

Many in the community responded, helping the Legotary raise the funds needed to transport the giant rocket to its new home. Volunteers, including half a dozen members of the Bricklyn Laborers’ International Union, helped build a new gantry tower. The tower was closely modeled after the original gantry, unfortunately disassembled and discarded twenty years ago.

View of the newly assembled gantry tower. Volunteer construction workers donned space suits while working on the tower.

Winifred Tiler Jackson, Chief Historian of the Realm, noted that “it’s incredibly important that we preserve and celebrate key parts of Bricklyn’s history, and here we have one of the actual rockets used to send Bricklynites into space.”

As Tiler Jackson added, “the project is more than just a preservation project, it’s also a project that has built pride among Bricklynites in what our small Realm can accomplish when we pull together.”

Chamber of Commerce head Tom Brickorti stressed that the park would rapidly become a major attraction not just for Bricklynites, but for visitors, and noted that “the funds being put into developing the Park will be more than repaid by money spent in Bricklyn by new visitors who want to see our magnificent Space Flight Park.”

Planning Director Tim Brickedy.

City Planning Director Tim Brickedy and members of the Planning Commission were among the first to envision this novel park, recognizing it as a great fit for this long underutilized space in the heart of downtown.

Brickedy chuckled in recounting that, “some nearby residents and office workers thought we would be launching rockets from the middle of downtown, but we reassured everyone that the rocket on display would be fully decommissioned, and empty of fuel or any other equipment. It’s not going to be blasting off!”

To help implement the project, the Planning Commission last year recommended, and the Federal Council adopted, a zoning change that increased the maximum height of structures in the downtown district from 15 to 20 inches. This allowed for Space Flight Park to display a BrickR4 rocket which, along with its platform, comes to 19.5 inches in height.

Looking Back, But With Hope for the Future

Astronaut Sue Tiler Torres in her space suit, accompanied by her daughter Alicia on a rooftop overlooking the new Space Flight Park.

Posing beside one of the new signs for Space Flight Park we found Bricklyn Astronaut Sue Tiler Torres, with Alicia, her seven-year old daughter.📍

📍Sue Tiler Torres was one of the last group of three astronauts certified for flight in 2012. But none have yet been in space, as funding for the space program was slashed the following year. Only several unmanned flights took place between 2013 and 2018. Since then the Bricklyn space program has been on hold.

For Tiler Torres, the new Space Flight Park is “a hopeful step towards reviving the moribund Bricklyn space flight program.” As she adds: “When citizens of the Realm of Bricklyn, are so beautifully reminded of the wonders of space flight, and how much we accomplished just three decades ago, I hope they will support efforts to better fund our space flight program now.”

Alicia also had a few words to share with us: “The new park is so very cool. I love it! I’m going to be an astronaut like my Mom one day, and I’m going to go to the Moon!”

Rocket Moving Day Photos

Finally, credit is due to the Bricklyn Department of Public Works, and workers at the railyard, for helping in the complex, multi-stage move of the rocket and its boosters from the railyard to downtown.

Booster rocket leaves railyard en-route to its new home downtown.

Booster arrives downtown along West Street.
Crew off-loads the booster rocket near the entrance to Space Flight Park.

Reader Responses to this Story:

To the Editor: “I live in the third floor apartment on Upper North Street that is right next to the so-called Space Flight Park. This park will soon be a noisy hang-out for young people with nothing better to do day and night. Or even worse, it’ll be filled with that doomsday Preacher Johnny Kahn and his gang.

Will the police keep an eye on goings on in the park? Or will they just hang out at the police station eating donuts all day like my good-for-nothing son Homer? I bet we all know the answer to that question!” — Abraham Jebediah “Abe” Simpson II (Grampa Simpson)

To the Editor: “I take this occasion to congratulate the people of Bricklyn on their achievement in opening Space Flight Park. Folks, the story of Bricklyn is a story of progress and resilience. Of always moving forward. Of never, ever giving up. It’s a story unique among all LEGO nations. You are writing the next chapter in the great Bricklyn story.

When world leaders ask me to define Bricklyn, and they do, believe it or not, I say I can define it in one word, and I mean this: possibilities. Bricklynites, you don’t think anything is beyond your capacity. Everything is a possibility. You’ve proved it again today.” — U.S. President Joe Biden

To the Editor: “Very interesting that letter from U.S. President Joe Biden you received. Sounded a bit familiar to those of us who sat in The Exchange building connected to the Outland Internet watching him give his “State of the Union” address. Say it ain’t so, Joe!” — John Tiler Quincy, South Bricklyn, VT

Please email the Editor your comments or questions.

Have a donut

Kudos to the CuDo! A Look at Bricklyn’s Unique Currency

  • by Paul B. Macro, Bricklyn Eagle Business & Economics Correspondent
  • August 10, 2021

Summary of Article ➤ Bricklyn’s official currency is the CopperDonut. Learn about the fascinating history of the “CuDo” and how it relates to both the Republic of Vermont and donuts.

The Realm of Bricklyn’s CopperDonut is modeled after the Republic of Vermont’s Coppers. The reverse side of a one CuDo coin is shown here. Current value of a one CuDo is approx. 75 cents U.S.

The CopperDonut — or CuDo 🍩 as it is commonly called — is Bricklyn’s official currency, adopted in 1971 to replace the Danish krone.

The CuDo both honors Vermont (which welcomed in LEGO immigrants from the Danish Realm) and recognizes the key role that donuts play in Bricklyn, which bills itself as The Donut Capital of America.

➤ During the 14 years of its existence, the independent Vermont Republic used its own currency, including from 1785-1788 copper coins. The Coppers were minted by Reuben Harmon, Jr. of Rupert, with a view of the Sun rising over the Green Mountains, on its obverse side, and the “all-seeing eye of Providence” surrounded by 13 stars on the reverse.

It should be noted that the Federal Council in 1971 considered replacing the Danish Krone with the U.S. Dollar, but Bricklynites at that time were angered by U.S. involvement in the Vietnam war. As a result the Federal Council responded to public pressure by nixing the original plan to adopt the dollar, choosing instead to issue its own currency, the CopperDonut.

The CopperDonut’s Design

It was in appreciation of Vermont’s assistance in the founding of the Tri-Partite Realm of Bricklyn that Bricklyn’s founders decided to name and model their new currency after the Copper — the late 18th century Vermont Republic’s currency — using a slightly modified version of the Copper’s “Eye of Providence” design.

Real, tasty, Bricklyn donuts in their right hands; CopperDonut coins in their left.

At the same time, the newly formed Bricklyn Chamber of Commerce felt that the importance of donuts to Bricklyn should also be recognized in the Realm’s new coins.

Thus the similarity in look of the coin to a donut (though the coin is actually about 15 percent thinner than a typical donut).

Of course, being roughly the size, shape, and heft of an actual donut makes the CuDo an inordinately challenging piece of currency to carry around in a purse or pocket, despite the fact that the blended copper is wafer thin — less than the amount of jelly in a jelly donut. As a result some Bricklynites have taken to using CuDo containers.


As a practical matter, paper CuDo notes are more widely used, but the historic coin CuDo remains popular among Bricklynites!

The CuDo is not without a special kind of risk: cracked teeth.

This happens when individuals (often drunk, stoned, or donut-crazed) inadvertently bite into a CuDo thinking it’s a baked donut.

Another dental patient who bit into a CuDo mistaking it for a fresh baked donut.

Biting into the thin layer of copper inside a CuDo can cause dental damage, perhaps explaining why Bricklyn has an inordinately high number of dentists! ✥