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Harris County Domed Stadium (Astrodome), 1966 OCEA
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The Harris County Domed Stadium (Astrodome) was the original large domed multi-sport arena. Capable of seating 42,217 for baseball and 50,000 for football at its opening in 1965, it became an instant must-see attraction. In fact, it became America’s third most visited man-made tourist attraction (after Mt. Rushmore and the Golden Gate Bridge) and forever changed the way sports were experienced in the stadium and on the television. The stadium featured a retractable seat configuration and round design which allowed for multiple uses. It also featured a 710 ft. (outside diameter) lamella structures domed ceiling, equipped with lighting sufficient for color television coverage - another first.

 

The Astrodome was conceived by Judge Roy Hofheinz, who purchased the land it sits on, secured public funding for the project, and convinced the Texas Highway Department to build Loop 610 ahead of schedule for better access. Hofheinz named the stadium for his baseball team, the Astros, to honor the Manned Space Center that had opened in Houston two years earlier. The Astrodome was the first of its kind, including the first stadium to use an electronic scoreboard and luxury boxes. Modifications to minimize glare, making the stadium suitable for color television broadcasting, led to the invention of the artificial grass known as Astroturf - providing a grass field where there was not enough light for grass to grow. The Astrodome was the first innovative feat of civil engineering to receive the Texas Section Outstanding Civil Engineering Acheivement (OCEA) Award.


Owner: 
 Harris County, Texas
Engineers:
 Richard Pharr Doss (Harris County Engineer)
  Walter P. Moore Associates, Houston (Structural)
  I.A. Naman & Associates (Mechanical)
Architects:
 Hermon Lloyd & W.B. Morgan
  Wilson, Morris, Crain & Anderson
Contractor: H.A. Lott Construction
 Photo:Houston Astrodome; 8400 Kirby Drive; Houston; Harris County; TX.; Library of Congress

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