77彩票网appThis week in 1962, ground was officially broken for the Harris County Domed Stadium, which would soon be called the Astrodome and would usher in a new era in modern sports.

This being Texas regular shovels wouldn’t do, so an all-star cast of local dignitaries (Harris County commissioners and other community leaders) famously shot Colt .45 pistols into the dirt.

RELATED: Revisiting the dazzling, hidden suites at the top of the Crowne Plaza next to the Astrodome

77彩票网appHouston Astros authentication manager and historian Mike Acosta reminds us that they shot blanks towards the dirt that day.


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"Yes, there was no live ammo used that day," he said from his office inside Minute Maid Park.

The new Houston baseball team, the Colt .45s, began their inaugural season a few months later at nearby (temporary) Colt Stadium as the Astrodome took shape just a short walk to the south.

77彩票网appFun fact: The Astrodome but local luminary Ima Hogg shot down the plan as her family had donated the land in the first place.

77彩票网appIn the end, highway accessibility would prove to be key, as you can see from some vintage site-selection studies from the period.

As for the pistols used that day, Acosta said that they've been somewhat lost to history, although they would make fine additions to the Astros memorabilia collection. Acosta does have some dirt from the groundbreaking ceremony which was placed in commemorative jars and given out as souvenirs that January day.

The Dome took nearly three years to construct, and three workers died building it. Homer B. Williams, a welder, fell to his death in May 1964. Frank Halliburton died during a fall a month earlier. Leon Homer died on the job in 1963.

RELATED: When the Colt .45s became the Astros and the origins of other Houston sports team names

They were working on a structure that many said "couldn't be done," according to the National Register nomination. By the time it opened, the Astrodome had earned another nickname: the "Can-do Cathedral," according to the nomination.

The team’s name was changed to the Astros in December 1964 to match their new digs.

77彩票网appThe Astrodome opened its doors for the first time on April 9, 1965 for an exhibition game between the Astros and the New York Yankees. Mickey Mantle hit the first home run, but the Astros won the game 2-1 in 12 innings.

Craig Hlavaty is a reporter for Chron.com and HoustonChronicle.com. He's an intolerable native Texan with too much ink in his skin and too much brisket stuck in his teeth.