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Atlantans Reflect On Their Favorite Dome Memories

The Georgia Dome was demolished early Monday morning. Its been replaced by Mercedes Benz Stadium.
Credit Ian Palmer / WABE

The sun rose on the Georgia Dome one last time Monday morning.

At 7:30 a.m., it was reduced to a pile of rubble, except for a piece of wall on the stadium’s east side.

A couple hundred people turned out to watch the Dome’s implosion. The crowd ranged from old to young, people who remembered when it was being built to kid’s who had never stepped foot inside.

But those who were able to experience an event inside shared some of their favorite memories from the 25-year-old venue.

John Harris, an Atlanta resident who came out to watch the former Olympic site’s demolition, said he experienced just about everything there.

“I saw many Falcons games,” Harris said. “I saw some wrestling matches as a little kid, saw the home state guy Goldberg win in there and saw some basketball games.”

Jared Hopkins, a 17-year-old from Sandy Springs, said he has a lot of memories from Atlanta Falcons games in the Dome, but it’s time to move on.

“Mercedes is awesome,” he said. “I grew up ‘defending’ the Dome, but if we’re not going to play there, might as well see it blow up.”

The Georgia World Congress Center Authority, the entity that operated the Dome, said it cost $214 million when it was built in 1992.

Then, in 2007, the Atlanta Falcons, who played their home games there, spent some $300 million in renovations.

The Dome is gone now and its replacement, the Mercedes-Benz Stadium, is up and running. But some spectators questioned whether or not the demolition was premature.

Rick Haynes, who lives in Atlanta and watched the implosion with his wife and kids, said he thought the stadium had some more life in it.

“We got our money’s worth, but I still think the stadium should still stay up,” Haynes said. “We could’ve used it for something else.”

His wife agreed and said it could’ve still been a revenue source for Atlanta.

Scott Williams, a Philadelphia native but Atlanta resident, said he remembers seeing the Dome being built while vacationing here in the city more in the early 1990’s. He said quite a few more events could’ve happened in the Dome but is looking to the future now.

“It probably had another good 10 years, but I like Mercedes stadium,” he said. “It’s very nice, great visiting point for a lot of out of town visitors but I think it was a little early for the Dome.”

His wife, Angela Williams, said she had some great memories at the Dome but the demolition was symbolic of where the city is headed.

“It reminds me of the Olympics and that whole era of the city,” she said. “So I think watching it go is just showing the transition and the growth and development of the city.”

The Dome was paid off last year, according to a Georgia World Congress Center spokeswoman.

Numbers from the Congress Center show some 37 million people attended more than 1,400 event in the Dome’s 25 years. Numbers also show those events generated a near $7 billion impact.

Cleanup of the rubble is expected to take three months.

Then, in its place, a hotel, parking spaces, and green space will occupy the land that was once home to the Georgia Dome.