The Astrodome’s Christmas Star

December, 1964: The Astrodome nears completion.

December, 1964: The Astrodome nears completion.

In a story that appeared in the Houston Post on April 9, 1990, Robert Minchew, who represented the Astrodome architects on site during construction, described the origins of the Christmas star that topped the Dome each year:

Minchew says the Astrodome’s Christmas star had its beginnings with some true holiday spirit, and spirits.

The steel framework for the roof was up when a period of rain began before Christmas [1963]. Foremen and other supervisors had to report to work even though nothing was going on. Several congregated in the construction shack where Minchew worked for more than two years.

Minchew wanted to work then, and found those men a distraction. He suggested they leave him alone and go do something worthwhile, like decorate the Astrodome for Christmas.

“They had been consuming a little of the spirits,” he said, and thought that was a fine idea. “They went down and got reinforcing steel, and welded it into that giant star.”

“They put a construction string of lightbulbs on it and dragged it up over the steel structure of that dome while it was raining. Why they didn’t fall and kill themselves I’ll never know. So far as I know, they still use that star today.”

– John Ira Petty, “Those folks who built the incredible Dome,” Houston Post,¬†April 9, 1990