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Thread: Astrodome / Harris County Domed Stadium

  1. #76
    Join Date
    May 2007
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    St. Louis, MO
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    1,103
    Quote Originally Posted by Astros View Post
    Note the real grass in the outfield, but the foul territory is Astroturf. They started the 1966 season with turf only on the infield and foul areas. The entire field was turfed by mid season.

    BTW- I LOVED that old scoreboard. There was nothing like it and if you never saw it in person you wouldn't really understand. Photos of it during a home run are good to look at, but watching it celebrate a home run in person was really something to see.

    The tapered Mezzanine level (orange seats) kind of reminds me of how they did it at the new Yankee Stadium.
    I guess the only way to see the scoreboard during a home run now is if you watch Bad News Bears in Breaking Training. I loved Tanner's reaction to the scoreboard.

  2. #77
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
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    Evanston, Thrillinois
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    Great configuration for baseball and football. You never see good sightlines and minimal sideline space in a multi-purpose, except here.

    Why was it so hard to hit in the Astrodome? Why did the ball not carry there?
    Go go White Sox

  3. #78
    Quote Originally Posted by Zoso View Post
    Great configuration for baseball and football. You never see good sightlines and minimal sideline space in a multi-purpose, except here.

    Why was it so hard to hit in the Astrodome? Why did the ball not carry there?
    In the early days the corners were 340', 390' to the alleys and 406' to center. The right and left field areas were more difficult because you had to hit the ball up into the orange seats. The wall did not extend in front of the seating/concourse structure at that time. Since the game was indoors there was no wind blowing out. The Astrodome was the best stadium built for baseball and football. It started the trend but the followers were not as great. They encompassed the basic idea started in Houston but did not improve. Keep in mind though that the Dome was built for baseball as its main sport.

  4. #79
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    Nov 2006
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    Hour from Citi
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    4,606
    Old dead links restored above, great huge shots!

  5. #80
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
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    Dartmouth, NS, Canada
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    196
    Quote Originally Posted by Milwaukee County Stadium View Post
    A photo I found that was never posted here of The Astrodome in 1966
    I love this photo for the pure 1960s essence of it -- the International pickup truck, and the groundskeepers in their astronaut helmets.

  6. #81
    Astros,
    Do you have any photos of the concourses at the Dome?

  7. #82
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Long Island
    Posts
    58
    Those are some very nice old photos. Any details of how the foul poles were set up against the wall way back when? There are a lot of similarities with the field dimensions of Shea Stadium in New York because the firm of Praeger-Kavanagh-Waterbury had input into both stadiums. The distance down the lines at the original Shea Stadium was 341 ft and at the Astrodome it was 340 ft. I was wondering if the difference was due to placement of the foul poles or home plate. Or if the radius of the playing field "bowl" was just different.

  8. #83

    Praeger-Kavanagh-Waterbury

    if you look at the dimensions of most of the 60's/70's circular stadiums the inner circumference, which determined most foul line lengths they were not much different from building to building.
    a big difference in the seating layout of p-k-w influenced buildings from the 60's was that shea was set-up with cross aisles on every level and dodgers stadium and astrodome had none or few.
    as anyone who sat in row "a" reserved "non-box" seats @ shea cursed the decision to do this, either because of nyc building codes or architect decision.

  9. #84
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Long Island
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    I had the pleasure of seeing an Astros-Mets series at the Astrodome back in September of 1998. Mike Piazza hit what's thought to be the longest HR ever at the dome. It was an awesome thing to see in person. What a great regular season series that was. Maybe better than any I ever saw at Shea. Sitting in the field boxes behind the 3rd base dugout, I kept having to remind myself that I wasn't in Shea Stadium. The similarity of the field level was eerie, except for the rug, of course, which was in pretty bad shape, and a glance at the roof or the outfield was also enough to shatter the illusion. Not to mention being surrounded by hostile fans

    I'm hoping to nail down the dimensions as accurately as possible for a project I'm doing. It has to do with Shea Stadium, but I turned my attention to the Astrodome after failing to find out very much about Shea itself. That, plus Astros' model of Shea, led me to this thread. Thanks for the info.

  10. #85
    Quote Originally Posted by The Rock 07 View Post
    Astros,
    Do you have any photos of the concourses at the Dome?
    Yes and I'm going back to find some to post soon!

    Quote Originally Posted by StillShea View Post
    Those are some very nice old photos. Any details of how the foul poles were set up against the wall way back when? There are a lot of similarities with the field dimensions of Shea Stadium in New York because the firm of Praeger-Kavanagh-Waterbury had input into both stadiums. The distance down the lines at the original Shea Stadium was 341 ft and at the Astrodome it was 340 ft. I was wondering if the difference was due to placement of the foul poles or home plate. Or if the radius of the playing field "bowl" was just different.
    The foul poles were never really fixed poles at all. They consisted of a netting that was suspended from the overhead catwalk on the dome. I've seen photos and remember some instances when the "poles" were raised above the seating area for field reconfiguration. In my best guess, I'd say the Astrodome and Shea Stadium had a very similar "inner ring" diameter meaning the structural columns behind the last rows of the field box levels in both stadiums. The concourse on the field level had many shared characteristics between both stadiums, however the upper levels were became different from each other.

    Quote Originally Posted by StillShea View Post
    I had the pleasure of seeing an Astros-Mets series at the Astrodome back in September of 1998. Mike Piazza hit what's thought to be the longest HR ever at the dome. It was an awesome thing to see in person. What a great regular season series that was. Maybe better than any I ever saw at Shea. Sitting in the field boxes behind the 3rd base dugout, I kept having to remind myself that I wasn't in Shea Stadium. The similarity of the field level was eerie, except for the rug, of course, which was in pretty bad shape, and a glance at the roof or the outfield was also enough to shatter the illusion. Not to mention being surrounded by hostile fans

    I'm hoping to nail down the dimensions as accurately as possible for a project I'm doing. It has to do with Shea Stadium, but I turned my attention to the Astrodome after failing to find out very much about Shea itself. That, plus Astros' model of Shea, led me to this thread. Thanks for the info.
    I'd be happy to help with your project if I can. Just let me know.

  11. #86
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Long Island
    Posts
    58
    My plan is to do a 3D model of Shea Stadium from the 1960s. I could never do what you're doing with a physical model but I'd like to do something like what Kaplanski is doing with his 3D Yankee Stadium model. If I can do 10% of what he's done with his model I would consider it a success. You're an architect and an artist. I'm just an engineer. With 3D drafting and modeling software I'm much more at home than with styrene, foamboard and balsa.

    I found a paper on the Texas Tech website titled "Astrodome: An Engineering Marvel of the 1960s". It gives the "playfield diameter" as 516 feet. I'm trying to nail down the physical dimensions of Shea as closely as possible. I guess there are no actual contractor drawings or blueprints online anywhere, so I'm using rough dimensions I gathered here and there along with the many pictures people have taken over the years including the demolition photos. There's a photo on flikr of the site demolition plan taken by wesanderson14 that is the closest I've seen to anything resembling high fidelity dimensions. I wish I could see what else was posted there. Using the properties of scale and proportion on that diagram, the playfield diameter of Shea does appear to also be right around 516 feet plus or minus a foot or two.

    I'll be starting a new topic soon so this and other threads won't get cluttered up with my rambling. I'm going to wait until I have at least a primitive skeleton in place, and then I'll start it. Probably in another week or so.

    Thanks for your offer of assistance. I really appreciate it.

  12. #87
    Here are some shots of the concourses and ramps in the Astrodome.

    1. Sidewalk cafe in the private five story apartment in right field.
    2. A view of the Trailblazer Restaurant on the Loge Level.
    3. A tour walking on the Mezzanine Level concourse.
    4. A group walking along the ramps. The signs for the seating levels were color-coded.
    5. A view of the concourse just outside the Astros clubhouse as it was in 1999. This view is typical of walking anywhere in the Astrodome- always circular halls.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  13. #88
    Did you say apartments like people could live in the astrodome?
    The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time.

  14. #89
    Quote Originally Posted by Chevy114 View Post
    Did you say apartments like people could live in the astrodome?

    The Judge had his own private apartment spread out over five levels or the rightfield portion of the Dome. It had suites for his guests but wasn't available to the public.

  15. #90
    Quote Originally Posted by The Old Ballpark View Post
    The Judge had his own private apartment spread out over five levels or the rightfield portion of the Dome. It had suites for his guests but wasn't available to the public.
    I want to live in a stadium!
    The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time.

  16. #91
    The Astros paid for a five story apartment in the right field area of the Astrodome. It was built in attempt to attract one of the 1968 political conventions. A smaller component of the apartment housing living space and an office for Judge Roy Hofheinz had been in place since 1965, the year it opened.

    This area became a private living space for Hofheinz, owner of the Astros. In addition to the living space it featured a mini movie theater, kids play rooms, barber shop, billiards room, one lane "Astro Bowl" alley, miniature putt-putt, all-faiths chapel, a saloon, conference rooms, party/client entertaining areas, a New Orleans-style sidewalk cafe and a full Presidential Suite built for Lyndon Johnson (a personal friend of Hofheinz). The suite even featured a working red Presidential phone. Hofheinz and his wife lived there for a number of years and watched baseball games and all sorts of other events. His second wife, Mary Frances one talked about how she like the way the sun rose over the dome and the seats reflected the morning light coming through the dome.

    This area was dismantled in 1988 for a 10,000 seat expansion that also removed the massive 474' scoreboard across the outfield. Four years after the renovation the '92 Republican Convention was finally held there.

    On April 9, 1965 the President watched the Astros and Yankees open the Astrodome from this private suite.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  17. #92
    Quote Originally Posted by Chevy114 View Post
    I want to live in a stadium!
    somebody already has...

    [QUOTE=StanTheMan;807056]A little known fact about the Polo Grounds is that an apartment INSIDE the stadium was built by the Giants Owner, Charles Stoneham. He lured groundkeeper Matty Schwab away from the Dodgers in the late 40's iirc, and Schwab lived in the small, three or four room apartment during the season. He had a wife and son who sometimes lived their with him. The kid would have friends over, and was friends with some of the sons of the Giants Players.... when they would sleep over, they could camp out in the outfield, ride their bikes around the concourse, and generally have the PG to themselves if the Giants were out of town. The kid also had the biggest backyard in New York City!!

    The family kept a car under the grandstand, and when they left the PG, drove around the concourse, and exited the PG through a roll-up door leading to Eighth Avenue... which would be down the right field line, right?

    I have always looked for a photo showing the door connecting the field to the apartment, and I knew it was under the left field grandstand, and that the door was in foul territory. Never found one until now.... The door is just past the third base box seats, in foul territory.
    Last edited by Paul W; 07-01-2009 at 03:20 PM.

  18. #93
    I think when Tampa gets a new stadium they should build an apartment for me to live in, maybe more than one so I can have neighbors. Im just saying...
    The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time.

  19. #94
    Thanks for the photo of the Trailblazer restaurant. I was 14 when the Dome opened and my family along with two other friends of my parents had tickets for the first game (NYY vs Astros). We ate in the Trailblazer before going down the Field Level seats we had.

    It was amazing to walk into the stadium at the Loge level that first night (actually day since we got there as soon as the gates opened). I sat at a table with one of the family friends and we got served quickly, but my parents and the other friend had a waitress who was overwhelmed and waited and waited for their food. Finally she came by and asked if the tray she was carrying contained their food and they said yes (even though it wasn't) and our friend who was Catholic looked at the beef on the plate (it was a Friday night) and said he was sure the Pope would understand.

    For me it the whole night was magical as my hero was Nellie Fox (who I patterned my own second base career after...bottle bat and all) and for him to PH and drive in the winning run was just perfect.

  20. #95

  21. #96
    What was the deal with the little level ABOVE the upper deck?

    What was it called, what were the prices like and what was the concourse like?
    I see great things in baseball. It's our game - the American game.
    - Walt Whitman

  22. #97
    Quote Originally Posted by jnakamura View Post
    What was the deal with the little level ABOVE the upper deck?

    What was it called, what were the prices like and what was the concourse like?
    That was the sky box level. Not quite like today's suite. There were three or four rows of royal blue seats with a small walkway behind them. Then behind the walkway were forty or fifty little rooms with private bathrooms, sorta like a suite today but without a view of the field.

    Fans rented a box for the season, like a suite today. Along with the box came a specified number of the blue seats in front of the box.

    There was also a private club/dining room just for skybox patrons with an outside view, but none of the field.

  23. #98

    the begining of the end...

    here's some pix of those top level suits...
    Attached Images Attached Images

  24. #99

    the begining of the end...

    here's the view from up there circa 1966...
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by Paul W; 12-08-2009 at 10:23 AM.

  25. #100
    Quote Originally Posted by Paul W View Post
    here's the view for up there circa 1966...
    Another note...every one of these original Skyboxes had it's own motif. They were patterned after the world travels of Astros owner Roy Hofheinz. The names included "Roman Holiday", "Las Vegas", "Captains Cabin", Petroleum Room" and so on. The boxes were renovated in 1985 and were streamlined in decor. To this date, only Captain's Cabin remains it's original look because of the solid curved walls that resemble the hull of an old schooner. This level in the Astrodome had exclusive access to the Skydome Club, which was a Japanese style steak house.

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