The domes surrounded by myths and rumors have been standing since the 1980s, but it only took less than a day for them to be destroyed.
CASA GRANDE, Ariz. — The mystery and legends coming from the Casa Grande domes brought countless people to see them. Now, they’re gone.
On Monday, a team to came in and tore down the oddly shaped domes located on Thornton Road just south of Interstate 8 following the approval of the Pinal County Board of Supervisors.
People driving by Tuesday were seen slowing down to see the rubble that now sits on top of the land.
"I just think it's really sad,” said Cass Lansberry.
Credit: Chase Golightly
Lansberry and her husband told 12News they’ve both been coming to the domes since they were teenagers. “This is like a pillar of our community,” Cass Lansberry said. “All the kids that grew up here, we came here."
Shaped like flying saucers, the domes were created in the 1980s to be an electronic manufacturing plant. It never opened and was abandoned in the decades to come. It then became one of Casa Grande’s most popular destinations.
“It was the mystery behind it all,” said George Lansberry. “Nobody could really tell you what they were, where they came from.”
"It was just so intriguing and so interesting to be inside these weird-shaped buildings,” Cass Lansberry said, standing next to the now gated-off area. “The graffiti and the artwork inside they all told stories."
Rumors and myths quickly grew about the domes. The rumors included claims there were rumors of people doing satanic rituals and sacrifices inside the domes.
"Everyone has always thought that the domes were haunted," Cass Lansberry said. "It was very creepy."
The stories become bigger than the domes themselves. "It's about everyone having their own story about what happened here to them," said Cass Lansberry.
That includes Pinal County District 3 Supervisor Stephen Miller.
"My pick-up got stolen one night," Miller said.
Three days later, Miller got a call from the sheriff’s office.
"They had found it inside one of the domes completely burnt to the ground," Miller bursting out laughing as he told the story.
Over the years, the graffiti-covered domes started to crumble. In 2016 the county said the largest dome collapsed on its own. After that, officials determined it was unsafe for people to be there, and the domes were condemned.
“Something needed to be done,” Miller said.
Officials tried working with the property owners, but Miller said they could not come to an agreement. In 2017, it was decided the buildings would come down. The property owners attempted to appeal the ruling, drawing out a five-year legal battle.
It ended with the County moving forward with tearing down the domes. Miller said the decision was not easy. “We have to make these kinds of decisions or tough decisions. We don't like them, but we also need property owners to be responsible."
The cost to demolish the domes came out to just under $129,000, according to reports given to 12News by Pinal County officials.
As for what’s next for the land, Miller said that is up to the property owners. For the Lansberrys, they hope it doesn’t remain an empty lot.
“They were something to us, and that’s what matters,” Lansberry said.
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