Preservation Magazine, Summer 2018

The Past and Future of Houston's "Eighth Wonder of the World"

When an attempt to save the Houston Astrodome through a $217 million bond referendum narrowly failed in 2013, it looked as though the world’s first domed, air-conditioned stadium might be destined for demolition. But the National Trust and other groups decided to try another tactic: working with the local government to find a viable purpose for the building. This effort ultimately succeeded, and work will begin this fall on Phase 1 of an adaptive reuse of the Astrodome, now part of NRG Park. We bring you a few figures to explain the past and future of the “Eighth Wonder of the World.”

This illustrated image of the Astrodome highlights its special architecture.

photo by: Sarah McMenemy

2-1

Score of the first baseball game played at the Astrodome, on April 9, 1965. The Houston Astros defeated the visiting New York Yankees.

90 million

Estimated TV viewership of the tennis match between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs, the second and most famous “Battle of the Sexes,” which took place at the Astrodome in 1973.

2013

Year the National Trust named the building both a National Treasure and one of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places.

40

Pages in an influential 2014 Urban Land Institute report declaring that the Astrodome "can and should live on."

30,000

Attendees at the stadium's on-site 50th birthday party in 2015, hosted by the National Trust, Harris County, and Preservation Houston. (Only 5,000 people were expected.)

1,400

Underground parking spaces for NRG Park that will be created by the Astrodome’s rehabilitation, which will also provide almost 9 acres for indoor events and 400,000 square feet of developable space.

$105 million

Amount allocated by the Harris County Commissioners Court in September of 2016 for Phase 1 of the rehab project. Construction is slated to begin this October.

Meghan Drueding is the managing editor of Preservation magazine. She has a weakness for Midcentury Modernism, walkable cities, and coffee table books about architecture and design.

@mdrueding

Related Stories

From coast to coast, fascinating historic places are waiting for you to visit and explore.

Begin Your Journey