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Astrodome listed among endangered historic places

The Houston Astrodome, dubbed the "Eighth Wonder of the World" when it opened in 1965, has been listed by the National Trust for Historic Preservation as one of this year's 11 most endangered places.

The former home of the Astros and NFL's Oilers, currently unused, was the world's first domed, air-conditioned, multipurpose sports facility and was considered a modern marvel in its innovation of engineering but now sits idle as city officials decide its future.

The Astros played at the Astrodome from 1965-99 and hosted the All-Star Game there in 1968 and '86. Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan threw a no-hitter there in 1981, and Mike Scott's no-hitter there in '86 gave the club the National League West title. The Astros won their third straight NL Central title in the last regular-season game played in the Astrodome in 1999.

The 18-story stadium was the home of the Oilers of the AFL and NFL from 1968-96, and it was there where the 1968 "Game of the Century" was played between UCLA and the University of Houston, a game that showed that college basketball could attract enough fans to fill a facility so large. It also was the site of concerts by many memorable musical acts, including Elvis Presley, Bob Dylan, the Rolling Stones, the Jacksons, Madonna, Pink Floyd, Paul McCartney and Selena.

Other notable events in the stadium's history included Muhammad Ali's defeat of Cleveland Williams in 1966, Evel Knievel's jump over 13 cars on consecutive nights in '71 and the "Battle of the Sexes" tennis match, in which Billie Jean King defeated Bobby Riggs, in '73. The Astrodome also played host to the 1989 NBA All-Star Game, the Republican National Convention in '92 and Wrestlemania 17 in 2001.

Matt Weber is a reporter for

Houston Astros