The Astrodome is threatened with both neglect and demolition. The NFL’s Oilers left town in 1996, the MLB’s Astros relocated to Minute Maid Park in downtown Houston in 2000, and a new NFL franchise, the Houston Texans, began their run in 2002 in the new Reliant Stadium adjacent to the Astrodome. In 2006, the final tenant moved out of the Astrodome, leaving Houston's "lonely landmark" without a use. The City of Houston, citing code violations, shuttered the structure in 2008, and it remains vacant today. Despite numerous proposals and potential investors in the past five years, no private entity has been successful in identifying and financing a reuse for the structure.
Now the fate of the Astrodome rests with the voters of Harris County, Texas, who will decide in a public referendum this fall to reuse or demolish Houston’s landmark. “The New Dome Experience” – a reuse proposal championed by the county and the National Trust -- calls for the reinvention of the Astrodome into a first-of-its-kind special events venue and experience. A vote in favor of the public referendum means new life for the Dome and the preservation of an architectural and cultural icon.
The Astrodome, built in 1964, was deemed the “Eighth Wonder of the World” when it opened in 1965. As the world’s first indoor, air conditioned domed stadium, the 18-story multi-purpose structure – an engineering marvel – was home to MLB’s Houston Astros and the NFL’s Houston Oilers. The Astrodome was designed to embody Houston’s innovative spirit, energy, and potential as a modern American city.
The Astrodome has been declared eligible for the National Register of Historic Places with national significance, despite the fact that the structure is less than 50 years old.
- Raise awareness of the national significance of the Astrodome
- Advocate for the reuse and preservation of the Dome
- Bring preservation expertise and resources to the reuse efforts
Ways To Help
Take the pledge to save the "Eighth Wonder of the World."
Donate to our campaign to save the Astrodome.
Written by Beth Wiedower, Project Manager
That’s the general sentiment of the Astrodome National Treasures team in Houston this week. On Election Day, the majority of Harris County voters did not support Proposition 2 to fund the redevelopment and reuse of the iconic Astrodome (47% FOR, 53% AGAINST) into the world’s largest special events space.
Despite more than 111,000 votes to “Save the Dome,” the fate of this Modernist marvel is still unknown. Prior to the election, Harris County leaders stated that demolition was the likely alternative, though they have since backed off from that sentiment.
The Our Astrodome Coalition reached an estimated 10,000 people during our campaign. Our conversations ranged from memories of the first Astros game in the Dome, to Elvis and Selena concerts, to the infamous Battle of the Sexes tennis match between Billy Jean King and Bobby Riggs. Houstonians’ passion for the Astrodome is indisputable.
And love for the Dome flowed from well beyond Houston as well. Articles calling for the preservation and reuse of the Astrodome graced the pages of the Los Angeles Times, CNN, and the Washington Post, among many, many others. Through our work on the ground we have raised the profile and the plight of the world’s first domed stadium to the national level.
What’s next for the Eighth Wonder of the World? That is yet to be determined. We will work diligently in the coming weeks and months on our continued advocacy for the Dome.
Written by Andy Grabel, Team Member
Hundreds of passionate preservationists, including football legend Earl Campbell, have visited the Dome Mobile since the National Trust and local partners began a two-week tour of Houston last week to raise support for saving the Astrodome.
Many proud Houstonians have written their Astrodome memories and support for preserving it on the inside of the 26-foot long truck. Astrodome advocates gathered at 8th Wonder Brewery last Saturday to raise a glass and share their love of the historic venue. Having made stops across the city, the Dome Mobile continues its tour this weekend with key stops at an Astrodome yard sale on Saturday morning and at the tailgate before the Texans game at Reliant Park on Sunday afternoon.
The tour continues through Tuesday, November 5, when Harris County voters will decide the Astrodome's fate.
Written by Andy Grabel, Team Member
In efforts to save the Astrodome, the National Trust and preservation partners have kicked off a campaign to motivate Houston residents to support the reuse of the iconic stadium. Leading up to the vote on November 5, events will take place throughout the city and they aren't going unnoticed. This morning, the Dallas Morning News, along with other media, wrote about the efforts.
Written by Beth Wiedower, Project Manager
Local and national preservation groups have joined forces to work alongside the "New Dome Experience" to galvanize public support for revitalizing the Houston Astrodome as a special events venue. On November 5, Harris County voters will decide the stadium’s fate when they vote on Proposition 2, which would fund redevelopment of the world’s first domed stadium.
The preservation coalition is comprised of the National Trust, Preservation Houston, Houston Mod, American Institute of Architects (AIA) – Houston, and Houston Arts and Media. The group is collaborating on an effort to educate the public about the referendum that would raise as much as $217 million to reuse the vacant Astrodome, which appeared on the National Trust’s 2013 list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places List and is part of the organization’s National Treasures program. National Treasures is a portfolio of highly-significant endangered historic places throughout the country where the National Trust makes a long-term commitment to finding a preservation solution.
“A vote for the referendum is a vote to invigorate a symbol of Houston’s pioneering spirit and a nationally-recognized landmark, while serving an important need in the community for event space and as an economic driver for the region,” said Beth Wiedower, senior field officer for the National Trust for Historic Preservation. “The annual average cost to each Harris County taxpayer to bring the Astrodome back to life is far less than the cost to park at Reliant Stadium on a single game day.”
Opened in 1965 and quickly deemed the “Eighth Wonder of the World,” the Astrodome has been primarily vacant since 2006. The Harris County Sports and Convention Corporation’s reuse plan, “The New Dome Experience,” would provide an alternate and complementary location for events when Reliant Stadium, Reliant Center and Reliant Arena are unavailable or unsuitable. The plan is designed to attract new and significant events, attractions and revenue to Harris County and will have a multiplier effect throughout the Houston metropolitan area.
“It's an honor to be one of the leaders of this effort to save the Astrodome and bring together a coalition of local and national groups. They have the resources and expertise that will make this a success for all of Harris County,” said Jon Lindsay, co-chair of the New Dome Pac Campaign. “This coalition has the ability to reach out to the residents of Harris County and revitalize the Dome, making it a world stage again.”
Brendan A. Cooney on October 15, 2013
I would like to find out what are the requirements to enter into your program "Saving Historic Places" I submitted an Astrodome Proposal to the Harris County Sports and Convention Corporation which at one point I believe it was approved. Although, the HCSCC decided for the Astrodome to have a different purpose, if their proposal does not pass, would you be interested in seeing my proposal and what it has to offer. Could you please let me know. Thank you, Brendan Cooney