Reliant Astrodome

HOUSTON-Once lauded for being the first multipurpose, enclosed stadium complete with a domed roof, the Reliant Astrodome, as it’s now dubbed, has made it onto the National Trust for Historic Preservation‘s endangered buildings list. According to the National Trust, without a viable reuse plan to preserve the domed site, the Astrodome could be demolished.

Located in Reliant Park on Kirby Dr. (on the near southwest side), the Astrodome opened in 1965 and was dubbed the “Eighth Wonder of the World.” Equipped with air conditioning, the Astrodome kept players of professional sports and their fans comfortable. It was also the site for notable events, such as the “Battle of the Sexes” tennis match between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs in 1973.

But the Astrodome has been more or less empty since the Houston Astros baseball club left in 1999 for a newer ballpark. Since that time, numerous adaptive reuse and development plans have been introduced for the space, but none, as yet, have been workable. The Texas Historical Commission indicates that the Astrodome is eligible for the National Register of Historic Places, but it’s uncertain what this designation means.

The National Trust each year puts together a list of sites that have made unique contributions to American history, but are threatened by a variety of factors. Also on this year’s list are the old Pan Am Worldport Terminal at John F. Kennedy Airport in Jamaica, NY and Montana’s one-room schoolhouses.