Judge Roy Hofheinz envisioned the world's first air-conditioned fully enclosed multi-purpose stadium by 1960. Officially named the Harris County Domed Stadium, ground was broken for the home of Major League Baseball's Houston Colt .45s on January 3, 1962, with Colt .45 pistols fired into the soil. Later named the "Astrodome" for the Houston-based NASA space program and the renamed Houston Astros, the dome opened on April 9, 1965, with a 12-inning, 2-1 Astros exhibition win over the New York Yankees with President Lyndon B. Johnson in attendance.Recorded Texas Historic Landmark - 2018
Architectural firms Lloyd & Morgan and Wilson, Morris, Crain & Anderson led the design team for what was termed an engineering marvel and "The Eighth Wonder of the World." The Astrodome is a domed circular concrete and steel framed building featuring a lamella truss roof, with a clear span of 642 feet. The roof consists of wood-fiber-concrete boards, steel framing, and 4,596 Lucite skylights. The original field was natural grass, replaced in 1966 with the first synthetic turf field, known as "Astroturf." The 'sky boxes' were the first-ever stadium luxury suites. The structure was built to withstand sustained winds of 130 mph and gusts up to 165. It has survived two major hurricanes: Alicia in 1983 and Ike in 2008. In 2005, the dome sheltered about 16,000 Hurricane Katrina refugees.
with the Astros, the stadium was home to Houston Oilers and Houston Cougars football, Houston Rockets basketball, and the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. Special sporting events included four Muhammad Ali boxing matches, the basketball "Game of the Century" in 1968 between University of Houston and UCLA, and the "Battle of the Sexes" tennis exhibition in 1973. Notable concerts, political conventions and gatherings also kept the Astrodome in the national consciousness. From 1965-2002, Astrodome turnstiles counted more than 100 million people.