The Astrodome has captured the imagination since before the first shovel of dirt was moved. Browse through some of these images taken by photographers both professional and amateur and see how their eye saw Houston’s most famous building.
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R.E. “Bob” Smith, Roy Hofheinz, George Kirksey, Craig Cullinan and Paul Richards. The first four were the primary movers in bringing baseball to Houston in 1962, and Richards was the GM of the baseball club until he was fired following the 1965 season. Courtesy Houston Astros/HSA
The newly renamed Astros played a round robin schedule of five exhibition games against the New York Yankees and the Baltimore Orioles. This is a ticket to the first game, a night time contest in which the Astros beat the Yankees 1 -0.
President Lyndon Johnson and his wife, Lady Bird, were among the dignitaries who watched the first game at the Astrodome in Judge Roy Hofheinz’s private box. Courtesy Houston Astros/HSA
Even players on the field were known to stop and enjoy the amazing scoreboard when it lit up after an Astros home run. Courtesy Houston Astros/HSA
Once inside the gate, fans could purchase an Astros program before ascending or descending the ramps to their seats. Mezzanine ticket holders walked straight ahead. Courtesy Houston Astros/HSA
Thousands of Houston children have memories of running the ramps at the Dome. Courtesy Houston Astros/HSA
Hall of Fame announcer Gene Elston called Astros games along with Loel Passe, another holdover from the minor league Houston Buffs. Courtesy Houston Astros/HSA
Designer’s drawing for the Parking Lot Attendant uniform. Courtesy Houston Astros/HSA
The conceptual drawing for the famous Space-ette uniforms. Courtesy Houston Astros/HSA
Though their visibility was hampered by the space helmets, the Earthmen that tended to the Astrodome diamond were hugely popular. Courtesy Houston Astros/HSA
The Astrodome Club was a private dining venue for season ticket holders that was located on the press level (black seats). It featured red velvet walls and a 100-fot long mahogany bar. Courtesy Houston Astros/HSA
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One of the traveling models of Astrodomain that Judge Hofheinz used to promote his lavish idea. Courtesy Mike Vance Collection.
The cornerstone for the Harris County Domed Stadium.
An aerial of the Astrodome steel work. Courtesy Arthur Jones Collection, Woodson Research Center, Fondren Library, Rice University
The baseball club ran ads to bring prospects to tryout camps. Courtesy Arthur Jones Collection, Woodson Research Center, Fondren Library, Rice University
Inside the Dome under construction. Courtesy Arthur Jones Collection, Woodson Research Center, Fondren Library, Rice University
Towers support the construction of the roof beams. Courtesy Arthur Jones Collection, Woodson Research Center, Fondren Library, Rice University
Giant beams ready to be hoisted into place high atop the Dome roof. Courtesy Arthur Jones Collection, Woodson Research Center, Fondren Library, Rice University
Handwritten construction calculations for the Astrodome which was built in pre-computer days. Courtesy Arthur Jones Collection, Woodson Research Center, Fondren Library, Rice University
The Rain or Shine tour to the West Coast was both fact finding and support building with other Major League clubs. Courtesy Arthur Jones Collection, Woodson Research Center, Fondren Library, Rice University
The distinctive plexiglass roof and gondola still thrills those fortunate enough to get a peek inside the Dome today. Library of Congress
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Astrohall and Astroworld parking is full. The Astrodomain often had multiple events in progress. Courtesy Arthur Jones Collection, Woodson Research Center, Fondren Library, Rice University
A Jimmy Wynn home run blast in the Harris County Domed Stadium. Courtesy Arthur Jones Collection, Woodson Research Center, Fondren Library, Rice University
Football was not a 1965 event, but the Oilers arrived for indoor games shortly thereafter. Library of Congress
The Astrodome is packed for the Battle of the Sexes as Billy Jean King serves to Bobby Riggs (not shown) on 1973. Courtesy SMG/NRG Park.
Following a second consecutive AFC Championship Game loss to Pittsburgh, this one complete with a famously bad call on an apparent Mike Renfro touchdown catch, the Oilers returned for a rally on the night of January 6, 1980 in front of some 70,000 cheering fans at the Astrodome. Courtesy Chris Daigle
NFL Hall of Famer and Heisman Trophy winner at UT Earl Campbell rides into the Astrodome on the back of an HPD motorcycle at the 1980 Luv Ya Blue rally. Courtesy Chris Daigle
Oilers favorite Carl Mauck fires up the crowd at the 1980 Luv Ya Blue rally. Courtesy Chris Daigle
Head Coach Bum Phillips, one of the most widely beloved figures in Houston sports history, greets family members at the 1980 Luv Ya Blue rally. Bum got the biggest response of the event when he promised that after knocking and beating on the door, “next year we’re going to kick the sumbitch in.” Courtesy Chris Daigle
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Astroworld was just across the newly constructed Loop 610 when it opened on June 1, 1968. Courtesy Houston Astros/HAS
A ticket to the utmost in family fun.
Astroworld was a big hit right from the time it opened. Courtesy Bill Britton
The 610 Limited train circled Astroworld and had stops including this one at Oriental Corner across from the Black Dragon. Courtesy Bill Britton
The Crystal Palace Theatre was an original feature located in Western Junction. Courtesy Kenny Ryman
The Astro-Needle was an original and prominent feature. Courtesy Kenny Ryman.
The Rub-a-Dub boats in Children’s World pleased many a young Houstonian. Courtesy Jennifer Peebles
A ski show was held in the Showcase Lagoon, formerly the Oriental Lagoon, starting in 1979. Courtesy Larissa Lindsay
Margo Rudder getting inside the Marvel McFey costume. Courtesy Larissa Lindsay
Le Taxi in the European Village was the first driving experience for many Houstonians. It passed through a tunnel in the Alpine Sleigh Ride, where park goers went for a blast of cool air conditioning. Mike Vance Collection
When it opened in 1968, Astroworld was promoted as a place for all ages. This photo shows family members from 9 to 89 posing in Americana Square, the entrance area to the park. Mike Vance Collection
The Country Fair opened in 1972 and was home to the Dexter Frebish, the first attraction outside the original train track perimeter. Courtesy Bill Britton
The Wacky Shack opened on Fun Island in 1970. Courtesy Jeri Harpole Sharp
The Dexter Frebish Electric Roller Ride was a tamer coaster that sat at the front of the park. Courtesy Kenny Ryman.
The Texas Cyclone, opened in June 1976, was the first really big roller coaster at Astrowrld, and for part of its life, it laid claim to being the top coaster in the world. Courtesy Jeri Harpole Sharp
Some happy and relieved riders pull into the exit for the Texas Cyclone. Courtesy Jeri Harpole Sharp
The Astrowheel, a double Ferris wheel, was located in Modville when the park opened in 1968. It was removed in 1981. Courtesy Jeri Harpole Sharp
The Marvel McFey show was popular with the younger kids. Courtesy Bill Britton
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