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.

(4) comments

Fram Smith

Ask your city council why you should vote for them when they put GEO FOR PROFIT PRISON before the history of Bako.
Profits before people, should be the city motto.


That was quick! Too Quick . . . ? So . . . our fair 'internationally-renowned' global centerpiece and world-famous metropolis will soon be graced by a new architectural delight . . .
A . . . "Detention Center" . . . ? That's a good one . . . AKA . . . "Downtown Jail"? Sometimes the Bakersfield 'Fathers' mentality escapes common logic . . . while asking for 'more penny-money' ( . . . 'faster horses' . . . 'younger women' . . . '?).
Let's hope this 'new' center has the traditional (unique) architectural appeal of "The Dome". But, what do I know, I'm a 'suburban transplant' that watches historic monuments like this fade into the mist of the sociological ether that 'surrounds' us in the truest traditions of "The Grapes Of Wrath". Tom Joad (Henry Fonda & John Steinbeck) . . . where are ya when we really need ya? (the 'original valley immigrants')
Semper Fi . . . !
(but dumbfounded)


"The GEO Group Strives to be a contributing member..."??? Has anyone seen their name included in any charitable organization's donor lists?

Anyway neither the Commission nor the Historical Society ever received a reply to their letters. Considering who is incarcerated at their facility I fail to see how having that land bare will provide any perceivably needed security.

In contrast to the xenophobic description by the administration of who those people are, these are people who are fleeing violence and hopelessness just looking for a life. They aren't a security threat.

Just how loosing taxpaying assets to become open land will do anything to improve anything is beyond me. As I see it, this is just one more loss of one of our historic assets all to satisfy a bogus notion.[censored]

Citizen Kane

Improving The Communities We Serve

From the Geo Group Inc. website-"The GEO Group strives to be a contributing member of the communities in which we operate. Not only do we pride ourselves on the opportunities we make available to the members of those communities, but we also seek out ways to engage our communities directly as a partner and a citizen".Sounds good on paper anyway, eh?

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