Houston, Harris County
Completed in 1965, the Astrodome in Houston, Harris County, Texas, is an engineering marvel of its time. As the first enclosed and air-conditioned sports stadium in the United States, the Astrodome boasted 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 over 60,000 seats while it served as home playing field to Major League Baseball’s Houston Astros, the National Football League’s Houston Oilers, and the University of Houston’s Cougars. The Astrodome also served as a multi-use facility for events such as the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, boxing matches, tennis matches, concerts, trade-shows, and religious assemblies. The Oilers left Houston after the 1996 season, and the Astros played their last game in the Astrodome in 2000 before moving to Enron Field in downtown Houston. In 2005, the building provided temporary shelter to thousands of residents displaced by Hurricane Katrina flooding, but the Astrodome has sat unused since then.
The Astrodome was listed under Criterion C at the national level in the areas of Architecture and Engineering for its innovations in clear-span dome design and construction. It also listed under Criterion A in the area of Recreation/Entertainment at the national level as the progenitor of enclosed multi-purpose sports stadiums, now an American sports archetype architectural form, and at the local level of significance for its role in sports and popular entertainment in Houston and the surrounding region. The period of significance extends from 1965 to 2000, the period during which major-league sporting events were regularly held in the arena. The property meets Criteria Consideration G (Properties that Have Achieved Significance within the Past Fifty Years) as an exceptionally significant example of stadium construction.
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