With the 49ers' first official game of the season on the way this Sunday and the explosives set to arrive at Candlestick next year, now's pretty much the perfect time to salute the old stadiums from San Francisco's sporting days of yore. The Niners won't host their first regular-season home game at Levi's until next weekend, so let's take a knee and recap, photographically, the team's 67 years of scrimmages with San Francisco.
Haight Street Grounds
Constructed in 1887, the Haight Street Grounds was a baseball park built for the California League. Bounded by Stanyan, Waller, Frederick, and Cole streets, the stadium hosted college football and in 1892 was the first home to the "Big Game"—Cal vs. Stanford. It was the start of a football rivalry that has lasted more than a century.
The field at Geary and Masonic was originally built in 1914 as a baseball stadium for the San Francisco Seals, though foggy weather and poor attendance caused the team to return to the Mission soon after. In 1923 Ewing Field was transformed into a football stadium for high school and college games, but in 1926 someone tossed a lit cigarette under the grandstand, sparking a huge fire that spread to the Western Addition. The abandoned stadium was eventually torn down in 1938.
Kezar was constructed in 1922 and hosted high school and college football games. In 1926 the stadium also became the home of the East-West Shrine Game, an annual post-season college football all-star game (though now it's held in Texas). The 49ers, the first major professional team in San Francisco, played their first game at Kezar in 1946 in front of 45,000 people. The stadium was notorious for the flocks of seagulls that would descend during games and the cheap seats over the team's entrance, where rowdy and unhappy fans would yell and throw bottles (a chain link covering was eventually installed to protect the players). Since it was nestled in a residential neighborhood, fans would watch games from rooftops. When the Niners played their last game there in 1970, fans tore the place apart. Bleachers were sold off to fans at a party in 1989, right before the stadium was demolished and rebuilt with a much smaller seating capacity of 10,000.
Candlestick was originally constructed as a baseball stadium for the newly Californized San Francisco Giants in 1960. The Oakland Raiders played their final three games of the 1960 season and their entire 1961 season at Candlestick. The grandstand-style stadium was enclosed with stands built around the outfield in 1971 for the 49ers. Next year, the park will be imploded to make way for a massive mixed-use development by Lennar Urban.
· Plans Announced to Blow Up Candlestick Park Next Year to Make Room for Shopping Center [Curbed SF]
· Those "Plucky" Forty-Niners: The Roots of Pro Football in San Francisco [Tramps of SF]
· Ewing Field [The Western Neighborhoods Project]
· Kezar Stadium [Ballparks]
· Origins of the 'Stick [Curbed SF]
· Mega Development and Housing Approved for Candlestick Site [Curbed SF]
· 37 Stunning Shots of Sir Paul McCartney's Candlestick Sendoff [Curbed SF]