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Thread: Astrodome / Harris County Domed Stadium

  1. #1

    Astrodome / Harris County Domed Stadium

    I thought I'd post some photos of the early days of the Astrodome.

    Here's a few showing construction, a real grass field from 1965 and the awesome 474' scoreboard that used to span the outfield until 1988.

    There were a lot of really unique places in the Astrodome such as clubs and restaurants. I'll try to dig some up some of those photos if anyone is interested in me posting more.

    Does anyone else have any great photos of the Dome?
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  2. #2
    Here's a few more...

    The Countdown Cafeteria - A public restaurant located behind home plate that featured "Blast-Off" girls as waitresses.

    The Domeskeller - Stretched across the outfield wall and featured a mesh wire window so fans could see the field. It served up to 1,500 people per game. It was decorated in a German Beer Garden theme.

    Galaxie Gifts - This is the main gift shop on the Mezzanine (Orange seats, 4th level, first base side).

    The scoreboard - This photo shows the first words to be put on the scoreboard with the home run light display above it.

    Astroturf installation - The 1966 season opened with Astroturf in the infield and foul territories. The entire field was full turf by mid-season. The domed roof had to be painted in 1965 to reduce glare coming through the translucent skylights. This shot shows Astroturf being installed for the first time in the Astrodome for actual games. There had been a private test of Astroturf in January, '66 in the Dome.
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  3. #3
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    Nice photos of the Dome. I know it's still standing but what do they use it for now?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Astros View Post
    The Domeskeller - Stretched across the outfield wall and featured a mesh wire window so fans could see the field. It served up to 1,500 people per game. It was decorated in a German Beer Garden theme.
    That was my favorite place to sit when it first opened and I was a kid. Wasn't a great place to watch a game, but like I said, I was a kid and didn't know better

    Liked it later on, around 1996, I believe, when they opened up Lefty's Pub down in the LF corner. Cheaper homers were hit into Lefty's than have ever been hit into the new Crawford Boxes, but nobody ever mentions that. Plus Drayton fed us free peanuts in Lefty's, hard to beat that!
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  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by driver62 View Post
    Nice photos of the Dome. I know it's still standing but what do they use it for now?
    Not too much right now. "Friday Night Lights" was filmed there and we all know about its role as a shelter for Hurricane Katrina evacuees. It is also used during the annual Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo as "The Hideout" which is a large indoor bar on the Astrodome floor. They used to have it under a tent in the parking lot but moved it inside the Dome a couple of years ago. The Astrodome Redevelopment Corporation is trying to finalize their plans to convert the Dome into a hotel/entertainment complex. No one in Houston wants to tear it down. Despite a somewhat cliche' opinion, the Astrodome is still very sound. Cosmetically it needs to be power washed and repainted in some areas but the stadium itself is in great condition. The air conditioning system is now 42 years old and would've needed upgrading if the Astros remained there. It also would've needed upgrades to the plumbing system. Here's photo taken last summer. You can see the covers over the "sliding pits" and pitcher's mound area. The field level seats are in football configuration. You can compare it to the 1965 photo. There are also three exterior photos 1965 (as it opened), 1999 (last year of baseball) and one taken last summer.
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    Last edited by Astros; 05-18-2007 at 08:38 AM.

  6. #6
    Nice pics Hall of fame Mets announcer Lindsey nelson broacast a few innings of a game from the top of the dome in 1965 C60

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Candlestick60 View Post
    Nice pics Hall of fame Mets announcer Lindsey nelson broacast a few innings of a game from the top of the dome in 1965 C60
    Bob Hope made his first visit to an Astros game in the Dome that same day...April 28, 1965.

  8. #8
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    BUMP!!

    Here is a photo of Mets broadcaster Lindsay Nelson and producer Joel Nixon broadcasting from the gondola above second base.

    Photo from The Sporting News "Take Me Out To the Ball Park" (1983)
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    Last edited by sflnyc; 10-29-2007 at 11:36 AM.

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    Early gimmicks included spacemen who swept and vacummed the first ever "sports carpet"

    Photo from The Sporting News "Take Me Out To the Ball Park" (1983)
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    Last edited by sflnyc; 10-29-2007 at 11:35 AM.

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    April 11, 1965

    Photo from Astros - Yankees exhibition game. Leon McFadden is returning to dugout after tying up the game with a HR in the 8th inning.

    Notice how the Yankees are watching the exploding scoreboard as this was the first time anybody had ever since something like this.

    In those early days of getting used to new technology, opposing pitchers did not like it when the scoreboard told the fans to shout "Charge!", something that we take for granted today.

    Some 188,762 fans watched the 5 exhibition games that weekend (Fri: NYY-HOU; Sat: BAL-HOU & NYY-HOU; Sun: NYY-HOU & BAL-HOU)

    Photo from The Sporting News "Take Me Out To the Ball Park" (1983)
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    Last edited by sflnyc; 10-29-2007 at 11:36 AM.

  11. #11
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    Photo from the early days illustrating the full dirt diamond and the grass field.

    Photo from The Sporting News "Take Me Out To the Ball Park" (1983)
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    Last edited by sflnyc; 10-29-2007 at 11:36 AM.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by driver62 View Post
    Nice photos of the Dome. I know it's still standing but what do they use it for now?
    on occasion it hosts high school football games between area teams
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    dont they use the Astrodome for monster truck rallies sometimes?
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  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by St. Louis 093 View Post
    dont they use the Astrodome for monster truck rallies sometimes?
    The Astrodome continued to host monster truck shows, motocross, Wrestlemania, high school football playoffs and the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo after the Astros moved out. These events shifted to Reliant Stadium in 2002 and 2003. They filmed many scenes for Friday Night Lights in 2004 at the dome and it hosted smaller events. George Strait's concert to close out the '02 rodeo marked the last major event held there. The 2005 evacuees from Hurricane Katrina marked the most people in dome at once since that last concert. Now there are huge plans to redevelop the Astrodome into a massive hotel and entertainment complex. The Astrodome Redeveloment Corporation and Harris County are currently trying to sort plans out so that the Houston Texans and the Houston Rodeo do not lose revenue during their events to the redeveloped dome.

  15. #15
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    Reviving this thread with some interesting Astrodome stuff from Bill Thompson's amazing Colt .45's site.


    Colt Stadium in the background:




    From the Colts' '62 yearbook - "Completion of the stadium is set for April, 1963." (ha):








    '65 ticket brochure:




    This exhibit includes construction of the Dome roof, and a shot of the Dome from within Colt Stadium:


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    Astrodome.. what a dump.

  17. #17
    Great photos, thanks for those. I wonder if it's possible to take a tour of the place? I was thinking about catching a game this summer at Enron/Minute Maid/whatever it's called this year Field and would love to see the old dome.

  18. #18
    Did anyone ever hear the story of the mets manager complaining after one of the earliest games at the astrodome because he thought the astros were using the air conditioning to control where the balls went for either team? Sometimes I forget how big of a marvel it was really was for its time since so many domes now exist, but that story says a lot.

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by Chevy114 View Post
    Did anyone ever hear the story of the mets manager complaining after one of the earliest games at the astrodome because he thought the astros were using the air conditioning to control where the balls went for either team? Sometimes I forget how big of a marvel it was really was for its time since so many domes now exist, but that story says a lot.
    This is true. Here is a little research excerpt from a book I'm working on.

    5/9/65- It is concluded that the Astros are not able to manipulate wind currents in the Astrodome. The study is done by Mr. Robert J. Salinger, chief engineer of C.F. Murphy Associates of Chicago. The independent study was prompted by complaints of New York Mets players and members of the New York media who claimed the Astros could change the wind direction coming from the Astrodome air-conditioning system. The Astros had been accused of having the wind blow in when the visitors were batting and blowing out when the Astros were batting. Meanwhile the Astros beat the Chicago Cubs 11-5 at Wrigley Field.

  20. #20
    Here's are some photos showing the early architectural model of the Astrodome. The color photos were taken in the late 90s at the Astrodome museum inside the dome and the black and white shot is an early publicity photo.
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  21. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by Astros View Post
    This is true. Here is a little research excerpt from a book I'm working on.

    5/9/65- It is concluded that the Astros are not able to manipulate wind currents in the Astrodome. The study is done by Mr. Robert J. Salinger, chief engineer of C.F. Murphy Associates of Chicago. The independent study was prompted by complaints of New York Mets players and members of the New York media who claimed the Astros could change the wind direction coming from the Astrodome air-conditioning system. The Astros had been accused of having the wind blow in when the visitors were batting and blowing out when the Astros were batting. Meanwhile the Astros beat the Chicago Cubs 11-5 at Wrigley Field.
    So was the dome that revolutionary that they didn't know what ac could do? Because by today standards that sounds pretty backwoods to think like that.

  22. #22
    No they knew exactly what the air-conditioning system was capable of. There was a communications room with a computer that monitored the air system in the stadium, concourses, offices and other areas. They just did it to appease the complainers. Getting it into the media for additional coverage didn't hurt either.

  23. #23
    I think its funny and a good way to get in the papers like you said. I am just trying to see someone today saying the the rays beat us because they used the ac to push their balls out and move ours in.

  24. #24
    Anyone who claims that today would get laughed at.

    In all seriousness the Astrodome did provide a lot of new features not seen in stadiums before besides the domed roof. I've spoken to many people involved with the team and other organizations in those early days. They were amazed at what they saw and it was actually believable that you could have different weather patterns in the stadium. In the early days they ran the air system in the stadium even when there wasn't a game going on to prevent mositure buildup. This used to happen in large zepplin hangers where a light mist would fall because of the large size.

  25. #25
    I have heard people talk about it like this stadium was like 10 steps ahead of any other stadium up to that point. With the huge light up scoreboad, the real grass in a dome, then later the astroturf, and being one of the first stadiums to be away from a city to make room for tons of parking. I will alway speak highly of this dome!

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