Astrodome added to National Register of Historic Places

The historic Astrodome has been sitting dormant for years.
January 31, 2014 3:21:09 PM PST
The ongoing saga of what happens to the Astrodome took another turn Friday.

It was always called the Eighth Wonder of the world. Now the Dome is a national landmark, but one with an uncertain future.

The National Parks Service approved adding the Dome to a long list of treasured spaces and yet 53 percent of Harris County voters who turned out last November refused a bond issue to repurpose the Dome. A plaque, says Preservation Houston's David Bush, won't necessarily save it.

"The big misconception that you constantly hear is that it's listed on the National Register, it can never be torn down. That's not true. It has never been true," Bush said.

There is no deadline to decide on the future of the Dome by the county. It may well look on while neighboring Reliant Stadium hosts the Super Bowl in three years. But perhaps, Harris County Judge Ed Emmett says, the Dome's new status might remind people of what's at stake.

"The reality is I think we're all, maybe still, hoping that some white knight is going to come in and say here's the solution of what to do with the Dome and here's the money to pay for it. We're not there yet," Emmett said.

There is a financial benefit attached to that national historic place designation, which may attract investors to save the Dome.

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