The Houston Astrodome: The Saga Continues

Posted on: December 11th, 2013 by Jason Clement 11 Comments

Astrodome in the morning. Credit: Randall Pugh, Flickr

So, what’s happening with the Astrodome?

That’s a question that has plagued Houstonians for years -- if not decades -- and today, we’re no closer to answering it. You might remember that our last post on this subject was titled “The Future for the Houston Astrodome Looks Bleak.”

Well, as it turns out, a more accurate title would have been, “The Future for the Houston Astrodome Is ... Complicated.” Here’s why.

Prior to Election Day, it was widely speculated that demolition would begin almost immediately if Harris County did not pass Proposition 2, a bond measure to turn the Dome into the world’s largest special events space.

Fast forward to today, and we have a failed ballot initiative, but only the building’s non-historic features have come down. The intense “should it stay or should it go” chatter has quieted, and the Dome was noticeably absent from the agenda of the county’s last meeting.

It’s like someone turned off the stove, but left the pot.

Because the Astrodome is Harris County property, all eyes are on the judge and the county commissioners -- the five elected officials who, sooner rather than later, will have to make the call. Since Election Day, this group has taken great care to consider the three most likely options: private development, a public-private partnership, or demolition.

In that time, they have not only expressed disappointment over low voter turnout, but that they still want to hear from people who want to save the Dome. Still.

That’s where we need your help. Please contact these Harris County officials today and let them know you support saving the Dome.

Even if you don’t live in Harris County, you can still show your support for this architectural marvel, the Eighth Wonder of the World. We’ve created an easy-to-use form where you can email the judge and commissioners, all with one click.

Saving places is never easy and rarely straightforward, but when you believe in something, you stay your course. And we believe in the Dome. We hope you do, too.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

Jason Clement

Jason Clement

Jason Lloyd Clement is the director of community outreach at the National Trust, which is really just a fancy way of saying he’s a professional place lover. For him, any day that involves a bike, a camera, and a gritty historic neighborhood is basically the best day ever.

Modern Architecture, National Treasures, Take Action

11 Responses

  1. Robert

    December 11, 2013

    Perhaps you missed the news where they have already begun tearing it down? Sadly, I think the chance for preservation is over.

  2. atmod

    December 11, 2013

    One of the frustrating things living in Houston is the misinformation about the Dome. The abclocal piece and link that Robert references is a case in point. Erroneous information becomes news. Hysterical headlines grab readers, viewers and web hits and continue the spread of misinformation. The abclocal piece is very misleading – only the circular stair towers, ticket booths and asbestos is in the current contract for removal. That is all. The Dome still stands and please contact your county commissioner and show your support and be very wary of misinformation.

  3. Gloria Stalarow

    December 11, 2013

    what was torn down was not the Dome but additions in the 80’s.My father Marvin Stalarow started a tradition in the 40’s by creating the first Houston Thanksgiving Day Parade.When the Mayor came out in September staying there may not be a parade this year,even though she knew for 9 months without saying anything a lot of us emailed her,texted her and sent her letters on how a city this size would drop a tradition like that without asking for help.My family is proud to be a part of Houston’s tradition.Anything worth saving is never easy.

  4. Jimmie

    December 11, 2013

    yeah, those ramps that were added in 1983 & are in no way historical. Nobodies fighting to save the ramps. lol

  5. Jason Clement

    December 11, 2013

    The last three comments are absolutely correct – the non-historic elements like the ticket booths and the ramps were pegged to come down even if Proposition 2 had passed. The time is now to let these county leaders know you support saving the Dome.

  6. How do you preserve the first sports dome that voters rejected? | Legally Sociable

    December 13, 2013

    […] The fate of the Astrodome in Houston is unclear though the National Trust for Historic Preservation still holds out hope: […]

  7. Mike

    December 15, 2013

    Keep fighting Houston…it’s not over! Save the Dome!

  8. Rachael

    December 17, 2013

    Yes!!!! Save the ASTRODOME!!!

  9. Jason F.S.

    December 19, 2013

    Really? our Trust memberships and donations are going to pay the salaries of bloggers and twitters to “advocate” for saving this building? I am sure Texas has more important buildings that need more attention than the Astrodome. Perhaps the Trust was looking to get into Houston’s deep pockets. but it did not seem to work.

  10. Jos. Smith

    December 19, 2013

    Any group whether it be local, regional, state or national who does not mount efforts to save THE Dome must not understand anything about history and heritage. How can The USA or any of its citizens not value the designation Eighth Wonder of The World enough to save it? How rare is it for a place to get that designation? VERY RARE! How short-sighted is it for a society to just tear that down? It requires groups to combine to mount a massive campaign to educate our country of the magnitude of this error: this lack of wisdom is even worse than having to repeat history if you do not know it. It speaks to the fact our culture no longer values history, advancement, and education in general nearly as much as other cultures resulting in our place so low now for the rank of our students learning compared to other countries.
    Perhaps a campaign to say to government officials such as the County Commissioners in charge of this, the Mayor and Councillors, the governor, and Federal officials something like: would you like to be known as the person presiding over this embarrassing lack of wisdom and foresight? The Historical Societies should combine their efforts in one giant campaign also, like with full-page newspaper ads and hiring marketing experts to explain the issue fully. It is not too late if we concerned folks take action to stop the Throw-away Society and the naive elements who are not supporting “Save THE Dome!” The One and Only First USA giant Dome, which forged new architectural and engineering wonders for the world, including AstroTurf !

  11. Jos. Smith

    December 19, 2013

    Jason, can you name another building more important than THE Dome to save in the Gulf Coast region of TX? I can’t think of one.