What the Inside of the Astrodome Looks Like Now, with Its Seats and Color Stripped Out

Interior of Astrodome with Seats Removed, Houston

The inside of the Astrodome has been closed to the general public since 2008, when inspectors revoked its certificate of occupancy after discovering numerous code violations. Four years later, Swamplot’s publication of reader Russell Hancock’s snuck pics of the structure’s desolate innards spurred several local reporters to request their own tours of the structure. Later, the building’s caretakers offered up a few rounds of media tours of the dilapidated stadium on their own, leading up to last November’s defeat of a bond issue that would have paid for extensive renovations to the building. In advance of the vote, and then again shortly after, the Astrodome’s seating and other furnishings were removed and put up for sale.

But since the seat sell-off, the public hasn’t had a chance to see how the inside of the vacant sports stadium appears with the earth-tone rainbows painted in plastic backrest that once lined its upper decks stripped out and sold off. What does the inside of the Astrodome look like, now that it’s a whole lot less colorful, and pretty much standing-room only?


Like this:

Interior of Astrodome with Seats Removed, Houston

Former reporter Joe Stinebaker, who’s served as Harris County judge Ed Emmett’s spokesman for 7 years, took these photos of the Astrodome’s denuded decks and stripped playing surface during a visit on Monday. Save a few banks that still appear to remain in place in a couple of sections at the lower level in the center of both photos — and the dismantled seats piled onto the AstroTurf-less field in advance of their disposition in a possible upcoming additional sale or auction — there’s no proper place to sit.

Other items inhabiting the stripped floor reflect the building’s current use as a storage facility for other venues in the NRG (formerly Reliant) Park complex. They include a pair of Dumpsters and sections of turf sometimes used in neighboring NRG Stadium.

Photos: Joe Stinebaker

The End of the Rainbows

8 Comment

  • Indoor sporting clays!

  • tear it down

  • This is like death by a thousand cuts. Our politicians need to man up and make a final decision on the dome. To just strip it and allow it to deteriorate is untenable. The building looks awful, inside and out. The county talks a good story then allows the building to slowly decay. It says a great deal that the county is so reluctant to allow tours of the desecrated icon. I understand the selling of the seats, but there seems to be no end game, it’s just an endless death spiral of fits and starts. Just make a final decision on the Astrodome and let the chips fall where they may. It’s disrespectful to the building and to the memories it instilled to just allow it to languish in perpetual limbo, slowly decaying, like some forgotten fruit.

  • For me, the pics just reinfornce why it needs to be torn down. However the space might be reinvented, it will never (for me) evoke the memories that made the place special. It will never be used for sporting events; everyone is clear on that. The only thing left of the dome, if reinvented, will be the frame. Are people really that attached to the superstructure? The Rodeo/Texan plan makes sense. We should proceed with that will all due speed.

  • turn out the lights, the party’s over……

  • It look horrible it needs to be torn down. They should build a Discovery Green park with a lake. Not a stupid parking lot. It has so many memories how depressing.

  • Forgotten fruit. Okay, that’s a new one. I’ve never heard that phrase before.

    My perspective on this is that the more you strip away a structure of the superficial little things that give it its old life and character and emotive attachments, the greater the opportunity to envision a new life. It is not very different from my outlook on the city as a whole with consideration to historic preservation or related issues. We need to ask what is the next step, not merely jump to the conclusion that tearing it down is a good idea because we don’t recognize it as something that we had previously known.

  • Shit or get off the pot – nothing to see. Tear it down.