This raw footage for Houston's KPRC-TV captures the construction of the AstroWorld amusement park in January 1968. Developer and former Houston Mayor Roy Hofheinz gives a behind-the-scenes tour of the 57-acre property and its themed sectors. AstroWorld opened on June 1, 1968, as part of the Astrodomain, a development complex owned by Hofheinz. Six Flags bought the park in 1975, operating it until its closure in 2005.
Politician and developer Roy Hofheinz was born in Beaumont on April 10, 1912. He served in the Texas House of Representatives from 1934 to 1936 and as a Harris County judge from 1936 to 1944. After a brief stint in private law and business, Hofheinz returned to public life in 1952 to run for mayor of Houston. Winning the election, he ultimately served two terms from 1953 to 1955.
Hofheinz was very unpopular with the Houston City Council. In 1954, he had four councilmen arrested for boycotting a special meeting he had called. The following year, the Council voted to impeach Hofheinz, but the Mayor refused to acknowledge the impeachment and was eventually voted out of office.
Returning to law and business, Hofheinz and his partner, Robert Everett Smith, created the Houston Sports Association. On the promise of building a new stadium, the organization soon received a major-league franchise. Completed in 1965, the Houston Astrodome became the home of the Houston Colt .45s (now the Astros) and the Houston Oilers. To expand his empire, Hofheinz developed the AstroWorld theme park and four "Astrodomain" hotels. He also purchased Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus.
Hofheinz's business ventures began to decline in the 1970s, with the Astrodomain accumulating $38 million in debt. He died of a heart attack at his Houston home on November 22, 1982.