Demolishing Stadiums and Hotels
Texas Stadium held 65,675 fans
When is it wise to destroy a building?
After a nationwide contest, an 11-year-old boy won the honor of setting off the explosion to demolish the 40-year-old Texas Stadium. Hundreds, maybe thousands, gathered to see the glorious event. The boy was a minor celebrity, interviewed on national television.
But was destroying the stadium a good thing? Was it really obsolete? It was built just 40 years ago at a cost of many millions of dollars. It served as the home of the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys, that some called “America’s Team”.
It was the home of great college football games, including the historic Cotton Bowl games. And it housed many other sporting and entertainment events, and social activities.
But the destruction of this stadium was far from unique. Stadiums all over the country have been demolished to make way for bigger, better ones. Ones that can attract more fans, fans that will pay much more for upscale suites. Sometimes, cities are expected to pay the cost because they will benefit from increased taxes. This practice is usually met with consternation, even fury, from taxpayers who will foot the bill.
After all, owners of sports franchises have a right to make money on their investments, especially considering how much they must pay the players. Business is business.
Sports aren’t the only venues to tear down the old to make way for the new. Hotels are another example of America’s taste for conspicuous consumption. It wasn’t so long ago the Stardust Hotel in Las Vegas was imploded, to the awe of many spectators, to make way for the construction of a newer, bigger, better hotel and casino.
Of course, this means lots of jobs, particularly for the construction industry. So, I guess all of this tearing down and starting over is good for the economy. Maybe planned obsolescence has its positive aspects.
But I can’t help comparing it to the way they do things in other parts of the world. When my wife and I were in Athens, we visited the Acropolis (or is it better known as the Parthenon?). It was built almost 2500 years ago - completed in 438 BC. Yet they still use the amphitheater there. Our guide told us they still stage plays there.
Seeing this, and visiting buildings in Europe that are several hundred years old and still in daily use was quite a contrast to the way we do things in America. I even stayed in a hotel in Innsbruck that was more than 400 years old.
Different strokes for different folks, I guess.
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