Icons at Risk


Location: Houston

Architects: Hermon Lloyd & W.B. Morgan; Wilson, Morris, Crain & Anderson

Year: 1965

Proclaimed the "Eighth Wonder of the World" when it opened, the Astrodome was the world's first large, multipurpose enclosed stadium built with a self-supported domed roof. Equipped with air conditioning as a way to bring professional sports to Houston, "The Dome" has been largely vacant since 1999, when baseball's Astros left the stadium for a newer ballpark. More recently, it provided temporary shelter for New Orleans residents in the weeks following Hurricane Katrina. But this relic of our recent past faces an increasingly uncertain future. Although the Texas Historical Commission says the Astrodome is eligible for the National Register of Historic Places, a group of local investment companies is planning to redevelop the structure, possibly turning it into a 1,300-room hotel and convention center. "From football games to the rodeo to entertainment events, the Astrodome has touched millions of people's lives in this city," says David Bush, spokesperson for the Greater Houston Preservation Alliance. "It's an integral part of our history."

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