Houston Astrodome Receives State Antiquities Landmark Designation from Texas Historical Commission

The Houston Astrodome. Photo: Ed Schipul / Flickr

The Texas Historical Commission (THC) voted to designate the Houston Astrodome—the first fully enclosed, domed, multipurpose sports stadium in the U.S.—a State Antiquities Landmark (SAL).

The Astrodome joins other SAL-designated sites like the Alamo, the State Capitol, the Cotton Bowl and many other iconic Texas landmarks.

“The Astrodome is not just an important part of Houston’s cultural history,” said Mark Wolfe, THC's Executive Director. “Architecturally, it is one of the most significant sports and entertainment venues in history, setting the standard for modern facilities around the world.”

Completed in 1965 by Harris County, the Astrodome (officially the Harris County Domed Stadium) is the first enclosed and air-conditioned sports stadium in the U.S., boasting the largest clear span dome at the time of its completion (642 feet). Dubbed the "Eighth Wonder of the World," by the influential Houston Judge Roy M. Hofheinz, the Astrodome provided more than 60,000 seats while it served as home playing field to Major League Baseball’s Houston Astros until 2000 and the National Football League’s Houston Oilers until 1996.

It hosted concerts by Elvis Presley, Muhammed Ali boxing matches, Evel Knievel stunts and the 1970’s “Battle of the Sexes” tennis match between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs. In 2005, the building provided temporary shelter to thousands of residents displaced by Hurricane Katrina flooding.

The SAL designation stipulates that a historic property cannot be removed, altered, damaged, salvaged, or excavated without a permit from the THC. Archeological sites, shipwrecks and historic buildings on non-federal public lands in Texas are eligible to be designated as SALs. Historic buildings must be listed in the National Register of Historic Places before they can be designated as SALs, but archeological sites do not have the same prerequisite.