When Jason, Beth, and I were driving around Houston in the Dome Mobile, people talked to us for many different reasons - Our charming personalities (obviously)! The swag we were handing out! The fact that we had a 26-foot truck parked somewhere they wanted to be! But they were also drawn in by two very Astrodome-specific things:
1. The end-zone Astroturf lining the floor of the Dome Mobile
2. The four orange Astrodome seats sitting in the Dome Mobile
Harris County, which owns the Astrodome, has had two different "yard sales" where devoted fans could buy assorted items from the Dome, including pieces of Astroturf and pairs of the iconic seats. In the days and weeks afterwards, we saw photos of these items showing up on our @SavingPlaces Instagram and Twitter feeds. Most often, people were buying items for the mancaves/fancaves and as gifts for others.
Though the future of the Astrodome is still complicated, we wanted to share some of our favorite photos. We also asked the photographers what made them want seats from the Dome. (Ed. note: Some entries edited for length and clarity.)
"Being born and raised in Houston, Texas, the Astrodome is where I grew up watching my hometown teams play. There are so many amazing memories I have of going to the Dome. I wanted a piece of the history so I could share it with my kids." -- @gplongoria, Greg Longoria, Houston, Texas
"For me getting a seat from the Astrodome was about having something to remember the times I spent with my dad at the Houston Rodeo. He worked on the Corral Club Committee for many years and I would go hang out with him and his friends. He passed away in November of 2008. So the seats to me are a reminder of the times I spent in the Astrodome with him watching the rodeos. I have more memories than just those in the Dome, but those are the ones that are close to my heart." -- @tsherm387, Thurman Haston
"I'm a lifelong Houstonian who experienced many firsts at the Dome: first MLB game; first NFL game; countless Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo exhibitions and concerts; and many other events. It will always hold a special place in my heart." -- @danjoyce, Dan Joyce, Houston, Texas
"I wanted the seats obviously to be able to keep a piece (or a few) of one of the world's most amazing architectural achievement (for its time). To me the Dome is a Houston staple and I had to have a part of it. The Astrodome symbolizes hope, opportunity, pride, and the endless growth of a thriving city. It is indeed a historical landmark and will always be a part of Houston's history. It was, is, and now always will be a part of my family." - @majicd0njuan, Juan José Oliva
"My memories take me back to my childhood when he (Grandpa) would take me to just about every Astros game in the Astrodome before I could even understand the concept of the game. Sentimental memories. Bonding moments being there. The Astros are his team and always have been since coming to the States." -- @rickyortizarts, Ricky Ortiz, Houston, Texas
"I wanted seats from the Astrodome because it brings back memories of going to the Astros games with my family when we were kids. To have a piece of that in my home as an adult now [means that] at a glance I can call up those memories and it smells like it was yesterday, young again for a moment..." -- @blackknight1, Michael
"I wanted the seats because I love the Astrodome and wanted a little piece of it. I was there so many times as a kid and it was just a magical place to watch a baseball game or rodeo. My grandfather was an usher in the skyboxes so we were there often. This was a great gift from my wife!" -- @motleyshoe, John Harshaw
As we've shared in previous posts, the Dome is Harris County property and all eyes are on the judge and the county commissioners -- the five elected officials who, sooner rather than later, will have to make the call about what to do with the dome. Please contact these Harris County officials today and let them know you support saving the Dome.
Even if you don't live in Harris County, you can still show your support for this architectural marvel. We've created an easy-to-use form where you can email the judge and commissioners, all with one click. Thank you for helping us #SaveTheDome!
Follow National Trust for Historic Preservation on Twitter: www.twitter.com/PresNation