But the space agency wanted to demolish the structure within a few years, and state preservation officials objected to the plan in 2009.
Brown said the state eventually agreed to drop its objections after NASA documented the history of the structure, but she was still sorry to see it go.
"Here is a story from Alabama that everyone could be proud of. It's of national importance," she said.
Marshall has test stands of even greater historical significance, she said, including one that tested entire Saturn V rockets and another that fired engines for the first Mercury rockets.