The Dome is no more.
A demolition crew hired by the downtown property's new owner razed much of the structure before noon Friday, days ahead of a schedule outlined earlier this week.
The building's destruction ends what had been a growing movement to spare the architecturally novel events venue built in 1940.
Historic preservations groups had appealed to the building's owner, Boca Raton-Fla.-based The Geo Group Inc., owner of the nearby Mesa Verde immigration detention center on Golden State Avenue.
Geo has said the demolition was necessary to create a safe and secure buffer around the detention facility. But the building's former owner and his agent said representatives of Geo told them the plan was to build a residential treatment center at the site.
The Bakersfield Historic Preservation Commission and the Kern County Historical Society both reached out to Geo recently urging them to spare The Dome even if surrounding structures must go.
The City Councilman who represents the area, Andrae Gonzales, said he had been contacted by many individuals asking the city to intervene. But in an interview, Gonzales said the city could not afford to buy the property from its owner.
On Wednesday, one day after the city of Bakersfield issued a demolition permit, a crew with Anaheim-based Integrated Demolition and Remediation Inc. began tearing down buildings next to The Dome.
A supervisor with the demolition company told The Californian Wednesday he didn't expect to knock down The Dome for another two to three weeks because electrical power was still hooked up to the building. But then he revised his forecast, saying the building might come down as soon as Tuesday or Wednesday. That schedule appears to have been accelerated.
The Dome had been notable for its "arch-ribbed" roof, one of a handful built in California. For decades it hosted wrestling and boxing matches, as well as concerts and other events.
The building's previous owner, Chencho Madera, said attendance at events there had waned and it no longer made financial sense for him to keep the structure. In the end, he said, Geo was the only entity that made him a viable purchase offer.