For Sale: Early Model AstroWorld

FOR SALE: EARLY MODEL ASTROWORLD Sure, AstroWorld shut down 5 years ago tomorrow — and the site still lies vacant. But Ed Henderson, builder of the original model of the amusement park (shown at left with his creation 43 years ago), is looking for a buyer who’ll preserve and restore it. The recently recovered 8-ft.-by-10-ft. construction goes on display for 6 weeks beginning this Saturday night at Bill Davenport’s Optical Project gallery on 11th St. near the Heights. The model was originally displayed in September 1967 at Foley’s Department Store Downtown. “After the park’s opening, the model resided in [Judge Roy] Hofheinz’s private model room on the Astrodome’s 9th level. When Astroworld was being dismantled in 2006, the model was found in a warehouse, sawn into six irregular pieces and covered in dirt.” Davenport, who’s already spent a while cleaning up the model, tells Swamplot he can’t decide if the $3,000 asking price is “expensive for a big project in need of restoration or unbelievably cheap as a unique piece of Houston history, or both.” [Optical Project; previously on Swamplot] Photos: Bill Davenport

4 Comment

  • To whom it may concern. Years ago, a friend of mine gave me what he said was the model train that ran around the perimeter of Astroworld. I have no reason to doubt that is the original train. If interested, please advise…

  • I went to see this Saturday night. It’s in fairly ragged shape, but with a little skill and time it could easily be restored. I think the skills that an avid model railroader possesses would be adequate to restore this. Many of the familiar Astroworld rides are depicted, although no rollercoasters (except for the Alpine Sleigh Ride, which just barely qualifies). All the big roller coasters came later. Among the excellent features in the 1:144 scale model were Judge Hofheinz’s personal on-site office as well as his personal train station!

    It now looks like the real estate speculators who tore it down made a pretty unwise decision, financially. I was certainly sad to see this Houston landmark go on a personal level, having visited it so many times as a kid and as a teenager. But it’s gone and not coming back, so I hope someone takes up the offer to buy and restore the model. It’s an important relic of Houston history, and I should say, a surprisingly affordable relic.

  • This guy will build you a replacement Texas Cyclone to scale:

    (I have noafflilation with the website linked)

  • Wow nice! The ideal way to deal with this model would be to have removable/replaceable parts, so you could configure it like it was when it opened in 1968, when they opened County Fair/Dexter Frebish Electric Roller Ride in 1972, 1976 when they added the Cyclone, etc.