Astrodome Gets New Life
by Marcela Macias, Photographer
Sports fans from all over Houston came together to salute the Eighth Wonder of the World, The Astrodome, on April 9, 2018. The Astrodome Conservancy, in union with Harris County, organized “Domecoming” to give a last goodbye to the Astrodome on its 53rd anniversary before its renovation. Along with the support of other organizations such as Eighth Wonder Brewery, National Trust for Historic Preservation, Harris County Sports and Convention Corporation and RE Bob & Vivian Smith Foundation, the Astrodome welcomed past players and fans to share their stories in the legendary stadium.
The Astrodome was the home for many sports and entertainment events such as the NFL’s Houston Oilers and MLB’s Houston Astros. It was also the home to concerts of big performers like Elvis Presley, Selena Quintanilla, and George Strait during the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.
Many legendary players such as Scott Boucher (left offensive guard- Houston Gamblers), Charlie Davis (Defensive Tackle), and Dan Pastorini (Former Quarterback- Houston Oilers) among others, were present to give one last ovation to the place that took them in before it gets renewed into an event center.
Scott Boucher was asked about his first impression of the Astrodome and commented that “growing-up as a young boy it was so futuristic. When they first built it, it was like a flying saucer landed here on Earth”. When asked about what it was like playing in the stadium, number 60 for the Houston Gamblers said, “It is incredible to be back here today. It is still a phenomenal place to be, it is the Eighth Wonder of the World. It’s been a great ride so whatever they do next it is going to be wonderful.”
Filled with joy, old and new fans were amazed to see the Dome as they entered. Stories were heard, tears were falling, and excitement was seen. Many of them proclaimed their pride for the legendary building as they waved flags and wore t-shirts of the different Houston teams.
“ I grew-up in the city and even as a high school student I came here to watch the University of Houston play UCLA in 1968 and that was a big game, the place was packed, the people went crazy and it was right here in the Astrodome you know” “ The Battle of the Sexes, the tennis match it was played here. This is a young city, we can build new without tearing down the old.” Sylvester Turner, Mayor of Houston.
More than 25,000 people assisted this event to admire the building that carried many victories, defeats, tears, and joys. The Astrodome was the setting of events that created history like the tennis match between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs also known as “The Battle of the Sexes”. Now, after 53 years of its construction, it will become history again as this is the first time that the building will be renewed. The Eighth Wonder of the World is expected to open its doors to new fans and to create new history by 2020.