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Art & Culture, Historic Buildings, Sculptures

Texas Legacy Sculpture at Astrodome

Texas Legacy Sculpture at Astrodome
Posted: January 27, 2018 at 6:28 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

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Texas Legacy Sculpture at the Astrodome

Texas Legacy is the title of a beautiful western sculpture but also seems an appropriate title for the Astrodome in Houston, Texas.  This iconic structure was the very first domed indoor sports stadium in all of the United States.  It was the state of the art when it opened in 1965 and was considered the “8th Wonder of the World. ”

Since that time many other more massive stadiums have been built including the NRG Stadium right next to the grand old dame (Astrodome) which closed to the public in 2008.  The NRG Stadium and Minute Maid Park in downtown Houston both have retractable roofs and can seat many more people for events.

The Astrodome has fallen into disrepair over the years, but it has been deemed worthy of rescue.  As of January 2014, it is on the National Register of Historic Places.  It has also been named a State Antiquities Landmark similar to the Alamo in San Antonio.  While plans are still being determined as to how best to use this facility, at least it will be protected from demolition.

Houston Astrodome

Houston Astrodome

Astrodome and NRG Stadium

Astrodome and NRG Stadium

Walking the Grounds After Auto Show

My husband and I attended the Houston Auto Show at NRG Center on January 25th of 2018.  NRG Center used to be called the Astro Hall.  After viewing the many cars and other vehicles, I wanted to take some photos of the beautiful sculptures around the Astrodome.  The sculptures are in an area called Carruth Plaza located between the Astrodome and the NRG Stadium.  Allen H. “Buddy” Carruth was a former chairman of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.

Texas Legacy Sculpture at Astrodome in Houston

Texas Legacy Sculpture at Astrodome in Houston

Texas Legacy Sculpture at Astrodome

Texas Legacy Sculpture at Astrodome

Sign by sculpture

Sign by sculpture

Other Sculptures

Most of the bronze sculptures, in addition to the Texas Legacy Sculpture, have a western flair and relate to the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, which is the largest of such rodeos and livestock shows in the entire world.

Dreams and Memories Sculpture

Dreams and Memories Sculpture

Another view of Dreams and Memories

Another view of Dreams and Memories

Info. regarding Dreams and Memories Sculpture

Info. regarding Dreams and Memories Sculpture

Landscaping Around The Sculpture

All of these sculptures are in one general area, and a crushed granite path leads from one to another.  The plantings and water features around some of the sculptures add even more to the beautiful setting.  Some of the plants were not quite as lush and pretty due to some recent freezing weather in Houston, but they will recover or new ones will take their place if needed.

Wild and Free Sculpture

Wild and Free Sculpture

View of Wild and Free Sculpture

View of Wild and Free Sculpture

Detail View of Wild and Free Sculpture

Detail View of Wild and Free Sculpture

Another Detail View of Wild and Free Sculpture

Another Detail View of Wild and Free Sculpture

 View of Wild and Free Sculpture

View of Wild and Free Sculpture

 Wild and Free Sculpture

Wild and Free Sculpture

Wild And Free

Edd Hayes, the sculptor, created this beautiful herd of horses titled Wild And Free.  It was chosen by the Western Art Committee of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo to commemorate its 60th Anniversary in 1992.  Contributors were listed as follows:

  • Garry L. Plotkin
  • Randall’s / Bob & Kay Onstead
  • John & Robin Milutin
  • Leroy & Susan Littlefield
  • Tom & Mimi Dompier
  • Mr. & Mrs. Frank Dimaria
  • I.W. & Dianne Marks
  • I.W. Marks Jewelers, Inc.
  • Ken & Angie Caldwell
  • Greg & Mark Davis in Memory of Gwen Davis
  • In Memory of O.C. & Lucy Motley
H. Stuart Lang, Jr. Sculpture Plaque at Astrodome

H. Stuart Lang, Jr. Sculpture Plaque at Astrodome

Some Stats

  • The Fat Stock Show was renamed the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo in 1961.
  • 1966 was the first year that it was held at the Astrodome.
  • From 1938 to 1965 the Sam Houston Coliseum was the setting for this annual event.

“The Cookie”

Cooks were certainly valued when it came to ranching let alone when it came to the settlement of the west.  The sculpture labeled “The Cookie” celebrates just such a person.

Closeup of The Cookie Sculpture

Closeup of The Cookie Sculpture

Info. regarding The Cookie Sculpture

Info. regarding The Cookie Sculpture

YES Sculpture

The sculptor Lawrence M. Ludtke depicted a woman happily looking at her prize-winning ribbon after competing in the Houston Rodeo.

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Team Ropers

Learning lassoing and roping skills are essential to ranchers.  The sculpture below depicts a young boy who was probably practicing those skills when he was interrupted by his playful dog.

Team Ropers and YES Sculpture

Team Ropers and YES Sculpture

Team Ropers

Team Ropers

Info. about Team Ropers

Info. about Team Ropers

Depicting Vivian L. Smith

Major league baseball took place in the Astrodome as well as football and other activities.  In the sculpture pictured below, Vivian L. Smith was a devoted fan of the Houston Astros.  She would have been so pleased to know that her team won the World Series in 2017!  The Astros now play their home games in Minute Maid Park.

Vivian L. Smith Sculpture Plaque at Astrodome

Vivian L. Smith Sculpture Plaque at Astrodome

A tall monolith marks the center of Carruth Plaza.  Most of these sculptures, like the Texas Legacy sculpture and others are nearby.

Carruth Plaza at Astrodome and NRG Stadium

Carruth Plaza at Astrodome and NRG Stadium

Crossing the street between the Astrodome and NRG Stadium was one more sculpture.  I could not find a plaque crediting the sculptor.  It depicts a bull with flared nostrils in a running pose.  Anyone wishing to ride this raging bundle of muscle and fury would have quite a time of it!

Sculpture by NRG Stadium next to the Astrodome

Sculpture by NRG Stadium next to the Astrodome

Chief Touch the Clouds

We walked the entire perimeter of the Astrodome to make sure that we did not miss any sculptures.  There is one missing, however!

Chief Touch the Clouds was donated by the sculptor David McGary and his wife to the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo in 1998.  The 20,000-pound sculpture, which stood 18 feet high, was too large to be moved to the Carruth Plaza and needed some restoration.

The HLS&R sold it to the city of Edmond, Oklahoma where it now resides among many other sculptures in that loving art community.  The statue depicts the Minneconjou Teton Lakota Chief who was said to be the cousin of Chief Crazy Horse.

Chief Touch the Clouds - By EricEnfermero (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Chief Touch the Clouds – By EricEnfermero (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

I hope you enjoyed this look at the bronze sculptures near our iconic Astrodome. The Astrodome address is 8400 Kirby Drive, Houston, Texas 77054.

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