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Remembering the Early Years of the Minneapolis Metrodome's Questionable Roof

The Minneapolis Metrodome is slowly being stripped from the city. Last month, the signature roof was deflated and removed. This weekend, officials blew up the "roof ring" that once anchored it. Soon, construction will start on a new, $975 million dollar stadium on the same site.

Sunday's demolition. Audio of spectator shrieks and freak-outs included.

It's been a long time coming for the outdated stadium. The Twins moved to an outdoor park in 2010 before the stadium's infamous roof collapse late that year, just hours before a scheduled Vikings game (later played in a different city).

The 2010 incident wasn't the first time the air-supported structure misbehaved. Debuting in 1982, the 80s were a cruel decade for the Metrodome's engineers. During construction in 1981, a foot of snow caused it to collapse. A year later, four days before the Vikings's final home game of the 1982 season, it collapsed because of heavy snowfall again.

Workers were able to fix the tear in time for the game, the behind-the-scenes tale recapped dramatically by Howard Cosell just before kickoff:

Four months later, snow caused yet another rip, forcing the Twins to reschedule their game that night. In April 1986, high winds caused a small tear in the roof but it didn't deflate, meaning only a 9-minute delay for that evening's baseball game. The dome started behaving consistently in time for the Twins' first World Series appearance in 1987.

It didn't disrupt another game until 2010.

Things were so good, in fact, that an employee instructional video from the late 1980s didn't even tell new employees what to do in case the dome ripped open and collapsed. There are some other slightly stomach-turning moments though (including one with re-used hot dogs):

Mark Byrnes is an associate editor at The Atlantic Cities. All posts »

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