Vintage photos of Houston’s AstroWorld amusement park to enjoy on its 49th birthday

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Photo: Bill Clough, Houston Chronicle

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A rider gets splashed on AstroWorld’s Bamboo Shoot ride on June 1, 1973.

A rider gets splashed on AstroWorld’s Bamboo Shoot ride on June 1, 1973.

Photo: Bill Clough, Houston Chronicle

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Passersby walk underneath AstroWorld’s first major roller coaster, the Dexter Freebish Electric Roller Ride. 

Passersby walk underneath AstroWorld’s first major roller coaster, the Dexter Freebish Electric Roller Ride. 

Photo: E. Joseph Deering, Houston Chronicle

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The Astrowheel was one of AstroWorld’s original rides. It is pictured here on June 1, 1968.

The Astrowheel was one of AstroWorld’s original rides. It is pictured here on June 1, 1968.

Photo: Houston Chronicle

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The Black Dragon also opened in AstroWorld’s inaugural year. It is pictured on June 1, 1968.

The Black Dragon also opened in AstroWorld’s inaugural year. It is pictured on June 1, 1968.

Photo: Houston Chronicle

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AstroWorld’s 610 Limited train carried passengers across the park. It is pictured here on June 1, 1968.

AstroWorld’s 610 Limited train carried passengers across the park. It is pictured here on June 1, 1968.

Photo: Houston Chronicle

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The Astroway at AstroWorld gave guests a bird’s-eye view of the park. It is pictured here on June 1, 1968. 

The Astroway at AstroWorld gave guests a bird’s-eye view of the park. It is pictured here on June 1, 1968. 

Photo: Houston Chronicle

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Pictured under construction in May 1968, the Alpine Sleigh roller coaster carried guests into chilly, dark tunnels and featured a surprise abominable snowman that jumped out at the end.

Pictured under construction in May 1968, the Alpine Sleigh roller coaster carried guests into chilly, dark tunnels and featured a surprise abominable snowman that jumped out at the end.

Photo: Houston Chronicle

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Pictured in January 1976 is AstroWorld’s infamous Texas Cyclone. It opened in the summer of 1976 and was a replica of the Coney Island Cyclone roller coaster. The track required 336,000 feet of boards and 14,000 feet of linear track.

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Pictured in January 1976 is AstroWorld’s infamous Texas Cyclone. It opened in the summer of 1976 and was a replica of the Coney Island Cyclone roller coaster. The track required 336,000 feet of boards and

… more

Photo: Blair Pittman, Houston Chronicle

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Thunder River participants knew they were bound to get wet. The ride is pictured in May 1980.

Thunder River participants knew they were bound to get wet. The ride is pictured in May 1980.

Photo: David Breslauer, Houston Chronicle

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The ride Thunder River is pictured under construction in 1980.

The ride Thunder River is pictured under construction in 1980.

Photo: Houston Chronicle

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Guests ride the Texas Cyclone in June 1976.

Guests ride the Texas Cyclone in June 1976.

Photo: Blair Pittman, Houston Chronicle

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The Texas Cyclone is pictured on June 12, 1976.

The Texas Cyclone is pictured on June 12, 1976.

Photo: Houston Chronicle

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Thunder River in AstroWorld is pictured on May 22, 1980.

Thunder River in AstroWorld is pictured on May 22, 1980.

Photo: Houston Chronicle

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AstroWorld executive Bill Crandall displays the then-new safety devices on the Texas Cyclone in 1976. Before they were installed, the park had complaints of people standing up during the ride. Also, it was just unsafe.

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AstroWorld executive Bill Crandall displays the then-new safety devices on the Texas Cyclone in 1976. Before they were installed, the park had complaints of people standing up during the ride. Also, it was just

… more

Photo: Joseph Deering, Houston Chronicle

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The Dexter Freebish Electric Coaster Ride is pictured under construction on May 24, 1972. It cost $800,000 to build the ride, which was 2,900 feet long and 80 feet high at its highest point.

The Dexter Freebish Electric Coaster Ride is pictured under construction on May 24, 1972. It cost $800,000 to build the ride, which was 2,900 feet long and 80 feet high at its highest point.

Photo: David Nance, Houston Chronicle

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Mechanic Tommy Hull is pictured in May 1972 performing maintenance on one of the rides.

Mechanic Tommy Hull is pictured in May 1972 performing maintenance on one of the rides.

Photo: Tom Colburn, Houston Chronicle

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Riders enjoy the Greezed Lightnin’ shuttle loop on May 13, 1978.

Riders enjoy the Greezed Lightnin’ shuttle loop on May 13, 1978.

Photo: Mike Robinson, Houston Chronicle

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Greezed Lightnin’ is shown under construction on Dec. 8, 1977. The ride had the ability to accelerate from zero to 60 miles per hour in less than four seconds, and thrilled riders with its speed and loop.

Greezed Lightnin’ is shown under construction on Dec. 8, 1977. The ride had the ability to accelerate from zero to 60 miles per hour in less than four seconds, and thrilled riders with its speed and loop.

Photo: Houston Chronicle

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Performers in animal costumes ride the cars in AstroWorld on July 30, 1971.

Performers in animal costumes ride the cars in AstroWorld on July 30, 1971.

Photo: Houston Chronicle

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Children enjoy the bumper cars in AstroWorld on July 9, 1979.

Children enjoy the bumper cars in AstroWorld on July 9, 1979.

Photo: Timothy Bullard, Houston Chronicle

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Construction near the Dexter Freebish Electric Roller Ride is pictured on June 8, 1975.

Construction near the Dexter Freebish Electric Roller Ride is pictured on June 8, 1975.

Photo: David Nance, Houston Chronicle

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Pictured are AstroWorld’s bumper cars prepared for use on June 8, 1975.

Pictured are AstroWorld’s bumper cars prepared for use on June 8, 1975.

Photo: David Nance, Houston Chronicle

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A children’s slide is pictured on March 13, 1982.

A children’s slide is pictured on March 13, 1982.

Photo: Houston Chronicle

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Satara Ellisor gets a thrill from the big splash at the end of the Bamboo Shoot on Nov. 13, 1980.

Satara Ellisor gets a thrill from the big splash at the end of the Bamboo Shoot on Nov. 13, 1980.

Photo: Houston Chronicle

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AstroWorld’s carousel is pictured on March 8, 1979.

AstroWorld’s carousel is pictured on March 8, 1979.

Photo: Houston Chronicle

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Pictured is an overview shot of the Texas Cyclone in AstroWorld.

Pictured is an overview shot of the Texas Cyclone in AstroWorld.

Photo: Houston Chronicle

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Participants in the picture enjoy a ride on AstroWorld’s Dexter Freebish Electric Roller Ride on July 1, 1972.

Participants in the picture enjoy a ride on AstroWorld’s Dexter Freebish Electric Roller Ride on July 1, 1972.

Photo: Darrell Davidson, Houston Chronicle

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On July 22, 1970, these teenagers enjoyed a ride on AstroWorld’s cup and saucer ride.

On July 22, 1970, these teenagers enjoyed a ride on AstroWorld’s cup and saucer ride.

Photo: Houston Chronicle

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Pictured is AstroWorld’s flying chair ride on Aug. 21, 1978. 

Pictured is AstroWorld’s flying chair ride on Aug. 21, 1978. 

Photo: Buster Dean, Houston Chronicle

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One of the Astrowheel cars is pictured on June 1, 1973.

One of the Astrowheel cars is pictured on June 1, 1973.

Photo: Bill Clough, Houston Chronicle

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A view of AstroWorld from above on opening day in 1968.

A view of AstroWorld from above on opening day in 1968.

Photo: Chronicle Archives

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The Sky Screamer at AstroWorld pictured in April 1983

The Sky Screamer at AstroWorld pictured in April 1983

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The Hofheinz family looks over a model of Astroworld in 1967. From left, Roy Hofheinz and his children, Dene Hofheinz Mann, Roy Hofheinz Jr., and Fred Hofheinz. (Tom Colburn / Houston Chronicle file)

The Hofheinz family looks over a model of Astroworld in 1967. From left, Roy Hofheinz and his children, Dene Hofheinz Mann, Roy Hofheinz Jr., and Fred Hofheinz. (Tom Colburn / Houston Chronicle file)

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Photo: 2010

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On October 30, 2005 Six Flags AstroWorld said goodbye to the Bayou City and soon said hello to the wrecking ball as the theme park took its final bow off the South Loop after 37 years of offering up fun and the pleasure of avoiding responsibility. less
On October 30, 2005 Six Flags AstroWorld said goodbye to the Bayou City and soon said hello to the wrecking ball as the theme park took its final bow off the South Loop after 37 years of offering up fun and the … more

Photo: Josh Burdick, Cecil Burdick Jr. / Josh Burdick

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AstroWorld, circa 1968

AstroWorld, circa 1968

Photo: Cecil E. Burdick Jr., Cecil Burdick Jr. / Josh Burdick

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AstroWorld, circa 1968 

AstroWorld, circa 1968 

Photo: Cecil E. Burdick Jr., Cecil Burdick Jr. / Josh Burdick

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AstroWorld, circa 1968 

AstroWorld, circa 1968 

Photo: Cecil E. Burdick Jr., Cecil Burdick Jr. / Josh Burdick

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AstroWorld, circa 1968 

AstroWorld, circa 1968 

Photo: Cecil E. Burdick Jr., Cecil Burdick Jr. / Josh Burdick

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AstroWorld, circa 1968 

AstroWorld, circa 1968 

Photo: Cecil E. Burdick Jr., Cecil Burdick Jr. / Josh Burdick

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Clear blue skies in Houston the medical center and downtown in the distance. 

Clear blue skies in Houston the medical center and downtown in the distance. 

Photo: Cecil E. Burdick Jr., Cecil Burdick Jr. / Josh Burdick

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A baby picture of the 610 Loop. Houston was very green it seems. 

A baby picture of the 610 Loop. Houston was very green it seems. 

Photo: Cecil E. Burdick Jr., Cecil Burdick Jr. / Josh Burdick

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Here’s roughly the same view over 20 years later. 

Here’s roughly the same view over 20 years later. 

Photo: Josh Burdick, Cecil Burdick Jr. / Josh Burdick

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AstroWorld, circa 1968 

AstroWorld, circa 1968 

Photo: Cecil E. Burdick Jr., Cecil Burdick Jr. / Josh Burdick

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AstroWorld, circa 1968 

AstroWorld, circa 1968 

Photo: Cecil E. Burdick Jr., Cecil Burdick Jr. / Josh Burdick

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AstroWorld, circa 1968 

AstroWorld, circa 1968 

Photo: Cecil E. Burdick Jr., Cecil Burdick Jr. / Josh Burdick

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AstroWorld, circa 1968 

AstroWorld, circa 1968 

Photo: Cecil E. Burdick Jr., Cecil Burdick Jr. / Josh Burdick

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AstroWorld, circa 1968

AstroWorld, circa 1968

Photo: Cecil E. Burdick Jr., Cecil Burdick Jr. / Josh Burdick

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AstroWorld, circa 1968

AstroWorld, circa 1968

Photo: Cecil E. Burdick Jr., Cecil Burdick Jr. / Josh Burdick

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AstroWorld, circa 1968

AstroWorld, circa 1968

Photo: Cecil E. Burdick Jr., Cecil Burdick Jr. / Josh Burdick

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The Astrodome with the AstroHall out front facing south. 

The Astrodome with the AstroHall out front facing south. 

Photo: Cecil E. Burdick Jr., Cecil Burdick Jr. / Josh Burdick

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The Astrodome with the AstroHall out front facing south. 

The Astrodome with the AstroHall out front facing south. 

Photo: Cecil E. Burdick Jr., Cecil Burdick Jr. / Josh Burdick

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AstroWorld, circa 1968 

AstroWorld, circa 1968 

Photo: Cecil E. Burdick Jr., Cecil Burdick Jr. / Josh Burdick

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AstroWorld, circa 1990

AstroWorld, circa 1990

Photo: Josh Burdick, Cecil Burdick Jr. / Josh Burdick

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AstroWorld, circa 1990

AstroWorld, circa 1990

Photo: Josh Burdick, Cecil Burdick Jr. / Josh Burdick

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AstroWorld, circa 1990

AstroWorld, circa 1990

Photo: Josh Burdick, Cecil Burdick Jr. / Josh Burdick

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The Astrodome, before what looks like RodeoHouston. 

The Astrodome, before what looks like RodeoHouston. 

Photo: Josh Burdick, Cecil Burdick Jr. / Josh Burdick

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The feeder road leading into AstroWorld. 

The feeder road leading into AstroWorld. 

Photo: Josh Burdick, Cecil Burdick Jr. / Josh Burdick

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A few more buildings have popped up by 1990 and the Dome is beginning to have a grungy hue. 

A few more buildings have popped up by 1990 and the Dome is beginning to have a grungy hue. 

Photo: Josh Burdick, Cecil Burdick Jr. / Josh Burdick

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Long lines at AstroWorld. 

Long lines at AstroWorld. 

Photo: Josh Burdick, Cecil Burdick Jr. / Josh Burdick

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AstroWorld, circa 1990

AstroWorld, circa 1990

Photo: Josh Burdick, Cecil Burdick Jr. / Josh Burdick

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AstroWorld, circa 1990

AstroWorld, circa 1990

Photo: Josh Burdick, Cecil Burdick Jr. / Josh Burdick

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AstroWorld, circa 1990

AstroWorld, circa 1990

Photo: Josh Burdick, Cecil Burdick Jr. / Josh Burdick

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AstroWorld, circa 1990

AstroWorld, circa 1990

Photo: Josh Burdick, Cecil Burdick Jr. / Josh Burdick

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AstroWorld, circa 1990

AstroWorld, circa 1990

Photo: Josh Burdick, Cecil Burdick Jr. / Josh Burdick

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AstroWorld, circa 1990

AstroWorld, circa 1990

Photo: Josh Burdick, Cecil Burdick Jr. / Josh Burdick

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A hazy view of downtown Houston as seen from a ride at AstroWorld. 

A hazy view of downtown Houston as seen from a ride at AstroWorld. 

Photo: Josh Burdick, Cecil Burdick Jr. / Josh Burdick

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You can almost hear the screams here. 

You can almost hear the screams here. 

Photo: Josh Burdick, Cecil Burdick Jr. / Josh Burdick

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Dudes chilling at AstroWorld. Fashion hasn’t changed much. 

Dudes chilling at AstroWorld. Fashion hasn’t changed much. 

Photo: Josh Burdick, Cecil Burdick Jr. / Josh Burdick

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Becky Laughter, Colorado State College student

Becky Laughter, Colorado State College student

Photo: Tom Colburn, © Houston Chronicle

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Pam Patton, Rummel Creek Elementary School teacher

Pam Patton, Rummel Creek Elementary School teacher

Photo: Tom Colburn, © Houston Chronicle

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Ticket teller Julie Burns, Lee Junior College student

Ticket teller Julie Burns, Lee Junior College student

Photo: Tom Colburn, © Houston Chronicle

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Linda Bowling, University of Mississippi graduate

Linda Bowling, University of Mississippi graduate

Photo: Tom Colburn, © Houston Chronicle

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Jeanie Hermont, University of Houston graduate

Jeanie Hermont, University of Houston graduate

Photo: Tom Colburn, © Houston Chronicle

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Wanda Richards, University of Houston graduate

Wanda Richards, University of Houston graduate

Photo: Tom Colburn, © Houston Chronicle

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Barbara Tolden, Wharton Junior College graduate

Barbara Tolden, Wharton Junior College graduate

Photo: Tom Colburn, © Houston Chronicle

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Joan Wofford, University of Houston student

Joan Wofford, University of Houston student

Photo: Tom Colburn, © Houston Chronicle

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Suzanne Hearn, University of Houston

Suzanne Hearn, University of Houston

Photo: Tom Colburn, © Houston Chronicle

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Judy Ganem, University of Houston student

Judy Ganem, University of Houston student

Photo: Tom Colburn, © Houston Chronicle

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Ticket teller Marilou Griffith, Stephen F. Austin State College student

Ticket teller Marilou Griffith, Stephen F. Austin State College student

Photo: Tom Colburn, © Houston Chronicle

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VIP guest relations hostess Janet Boyle, University of Texas graduate

VIP guest relations hostess Janet Boyle, University of Texas graduate

Photo: Tom Colburn, © Houston Chronicle

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Ticket taker Valerie Diehl, Stephen F. Austin State College student

Ticket taker Valerie Diehl, Stephen F. Austin State College student

Photo: Tom Colburn, © Houston Chronicle

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Ticket taker Suzanne McMillan, Mississippi State College for Women student

Ticket taker Suzanne McMillan, Mississippi State College for Women student

Photo: Tom Colburn, © Houston Chronicle

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Ticket taker Nancy Baldwin, Texas Technological College student

Ticket taker Nancy Baldwin, Texas Technological College student

Photo: Tom Colburn, © Houston Chronicle

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Ticket taker Gale McCauley, Houston Baptist College student

Ticket taker Gale McCauley, Houston Baptist College student

Photo: Tom Colburn, © Houston Chronicle

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Ticket teller Shirley Ann Fielder, Lamar Tech student

Ticket teller Shirley Ann Fielder, Lamar Tech student

Photo: Tom Colburn, © Houston Chronicle

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Ticket teller Linda Ford, Texas Christian University student

Ticket teller Linda Ford, Texas Christian University student

Photo: Tom Colburn, © Houston Chronicle

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Astroworld and Astrodome – January 1968.

Astroworld and Astrodome – January 1968.

Photo: Gulf Photo

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Astroworld Texas Cyclone roller coaster ride. June 22, 1976

Astroworld Texas Cyclone roller coaster ride. June 22, 1976

Photo: Blair Pittman, Staff

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