Kezar Stadium

Kezar Stadium is an outdoor athletics stadium in San Francisco, California, located adjacent to Kezar Pavilion in the southeastern corner of Golden Gate Park. It is the former home of the San Francisco 49ers and the Oakland Raiders (first AFL season only) of the National Football League (NFL) and of the San Francisco Dragons of Major League Lacrosse. It currently serves as the home of San Francisco City FC of USL League Two.

Kezar also hosts amateur and recreation sports leagues, as well as numerous San Francisco high school football games (including the city championship, known popularly as the "Turkey Bowl").

Kezar Stadium
'49ers (28791895142)
Kezar Stadium is located in San Francisco
Kezar Stadium
Kezar Stadium
Address755 Stanyan Street
LocationSan Francisco, California
Coordinates37°46′01″N 122°27′22″W / 37.767°N 122.456°WCoordinates: 37°46′01″N 122°27′22″W / 37.767°N 122.456°W
Public transitBSicon LOGO SFmuni.svg Carl and Stanyan N Judah
OwnerThe City and County
of San Francisco
OperatorSan Francisco Recreation & Parks Department
Capacity59,942 (1925–1989)
10,000 (1990–present)[1]
SurfaceNatural grass
Construction
Broke ground1924
OpenedMay 2, 1925
Renovated1989–1990 (reconstruction)
Demolished1989 (original)
Construction cost$300,000 (original structure)
($4.29 million in 2018 dollars[2])
ArchitectWillis Polk
Tenants
San Francisco Dons football (NCAA Division I/NCAA Division II) (1940–1951, 1959–1971)
San Francisco 49ers (AAFC / NFL) (1946–1970)
Oakland Raiders (AFL) (1960)
San Francisco Golden Gate Gales (USA) (1967)
San Francisco Bay Seals (A-League) (1998–1999)
San Francisco City FC (PDL) (2001–2016, 2018–present)
San Francisco Freedom (PC) (2004)
San Francisco Dragons (MLL) (2006–2007)
California Victory (USL-1) (2007)
San Francisco Stompers FC (USL2) (2012, 2014)
San Francisco Dogfish (MLU) (2013)
Bay Area Breeze (W-League) (2013)
San Francisco Deltas (NASL) (2017)

History

Kezar Stadium 2018
A high school football game at Kezar in 2018

In 1920, Jack Spaulding proposed an athletics stadium for San Francisco, seating 50,000. Many business leaders in the city backed him, as it would keep San Francisco level with other cities with large stadiums. Areas under consideration for the stadium were 7th & Harrison Streets, Ocean Shore, and the Central Park grounds.[3]

In 1922, the San Francisco Park Commission accepted a $100,000 gift from the estate of Mary Kezar to build a memorial in honor of her mother and uncles, who were pioneers in the area. After the City and County of San Francisco appropriated an additional $200,000, the stadium was built in a year. Dedication ceremonies were on May 2, 1925, and featured a two-mile (3.2 km) footrace between Ville Ritola and Paavo Nurmi of Finland, two of the great runners of the era. A little over a month later, the new stadium hosted the USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships.

1930s

The stadium had many uses in the 1930s. In addition to track and field competitions, Kezar Stadium hosted motorcycle racing, auto racing, rugby, lacrosse, soccer, baseball, boxing, cricket, and football. In September 1932, the Australian Cricket Team played a North California all-star team in the Australians' 56-game tour of the U.S. and Canada. The stadium was also home to several colleges (Santa Clara, USF, St. Mary's), and the now-defunct San Francisco Polytechnic High School. In 1926, the stadium also became the home of the East–West Shrine Game.

Football

High school

Kezar Stadium (3540115697)
Original Kezar Stadium
View over Kezar stadium from Mt. Olympus in San Francisco
Kezar Stadium in 1955,
from Mt. Olympus

In 1928, the city high school championship game between cross-town rivals San Francisco Polytechnic and Lowell drew more than 50,000—still the record for a high school football game in northern California. Local Sacred Heart Cathedral Preparatory plays most of their home games at Kezar. The Bruce-Mahoney rivalry football game between St. Ignatius College Preparatory and Sacred Heart Cathedral Preparatory is held at the new (smaller) stadium.

College

The annual East-West Shrine Game of 1931 was replaced by a raucous Knights of Columbus game featuring the Savoldi All-Stars. Prescott Sullivan, a San Francisco Chronicle sportswriter, recounted the day's events in his January 26 column. " "Jumping Joe" Savoldi gave some very sound reasons why Knute Rockne calls him "modern football's greatest fullback" yesterday when he led a team composed largely of California and U.S.C. stars to a 13-0 victory over Ernie Nevers and a supporting cast of St. Mary's players at Kezar Stadium. More than 30,000 customers put the Knights of Columbus’ grid finales over in a big way and saw “Jumping Joe” and his playmates cinch their victory with two spectacular fourth period touchdowns. These runs, end to end, constituted a very sizable day's work for "Jumping Joe," and the crowd showed it's [sic] deep appreciation by mobbing him at the finish of the ball game. Savoldi managed to escape by throwing his headgear to the milling throng, and long after the players had left the field of action, Joe's helmet was still at the center of a battle royal. More than 200 enthusiastic souvenir hunters joined in the fight, which continued to rage unabated outside the stadium after police had managed to chase the combatants from the big bowl. Numerous black eyes were exchanged before mounted police finally quelled the uprising. Such is Savoldi's fame!"

Stanford University played four of its home football games at Kezar: one in 1928 and three in 1942. Stanford was also part of the first-ever major college football double header in 1940, which featured StanfordSan Francisco and Santa ClaraUtah.[4]

Professional

Kezar Stadium was the first home of the San Francisco 49ers[5] and Oakland Raiders, as well many NFL Hall of Famers, historical NFL games, and the first "alley-oop."[6] The Raiders played at Kezar for their first four home games in 1960, and at Candlestick Park during the remainder of their first two seasons,[7] before Frank Youell Field was built as a temporary facility in Oakland. Defensive end Jim Marshall of the visiting Minnesota Vikings had his famous "wrong way run" at Kezar in 1964, against the 49ers on October 25.[8]

The 49ers played the final NFL game at Kezar in early 1971, losing the 1970 NFC Championship Game to the Dallas Cowboys 17–10 on January 3.[9] The 49ers moved to the more modern and accessible Candlestick Park (1960–2015) for the 1971 season, and played there for 43 years, through 2013.

Kezar Stadium was also the home field for the San Francisco Stingrayz women's professional football team from 2003–2005, until the team was forced to end their season due to a bus accident which injured many players. The Stingrayz were one of the Bay Area's women's tackle football teams in the Women's Professional Football League, and then the Independent Women's Football League.

1970s and 1980s

Dirty Harry

Months after the 49ers' departure, several scenes from the 1971 film Dirty Harry were filmed at and above the stadium. The film's fictional antagonist, Scorpio (played by Andrew Robinson), worked as the caretaker at the stadium and lived under the grandstand.[6]

Concerts

With the loss of professional football in 1971, the stadium became a popular outdoor concert venue, and its proximity to the Haight-Ashbury District helped with the transition. Notable performers at Kezar included Led Zeppelin, The Doobie Brothers, Jefferson Starship, Tower of Power, Joan Baez, Grateful Dead, The New Riders of the Purple Sage, Santana, Waylon Jennings, Bob Dylan, Neil Young and Graham Central Station.

Gay Games

The stadium hosted the inaugural and closing ceremonies of the 1982 and 1986 Gay Games. In the 1982 edition the stadium also hosted the soccer events.[10][11]

Demolition and reconstruction

Renovated Kezar Stadium
Kezar Stadium in October 2011
Kezar Stadium Replica Entrance
The replica arch at Kezar Stadium
Bob St. Clair's Kezar Stadium Plaque
Plaque of NFL Hall of Famer
Bob St. Clair at Kezar Stadium

With pending demolition, the bleacher planks of Kezar Stadium were sold off to fans at a party in April 1989.[12][13] In June, the stadium was demolished and rebuilt with a much smaller seating capacity of 10,000. The upgrades included an eight-lane, all-weather track and a grass athletic infield suitable for soccer, football, and lacrosse.[14]

During the reconstruction, the field and track configurations were shifted several degrees counterclockwise, to move the stadium away from Frederick Street. The evidence for this can be seen by examining photos of the tunnel entrance at the east end of the field, which used to be exactly on the long axis of the track. A replica of the original concrete arch bearing the name "Kezar Stadium" was built on the west side of the stadium as a tribute to the original structure. A plaque of NFL Hall of Famer Bob St. Clair, a San Francisco native who played 11 pro seasons (1953–63) with the 49ers, plus his high school (S.F. Poly) and most of his college career (USF) at Kezar Stadium, is built into the replica arch.

2014 to 2015 renovation

Kezar Stadium was closed for renovations from September 29, 2014 until March 13, 2015. The $3.2-million renovation included the replacement of the running track surface, new entry walk paving, upgraded sound system, new perimeter walkways and curbs, installation of new Mondo running track surface and striping for nine 42” lanes. In addition, 1,000 historic Candlestick Park Stadium seats were installed for the public to enjoy. The renovation was funded by the City’s Capital Planning General Fund. Mayor Edwin M. Lee helped re-open the stadium with a warm-up run.[15]

In December 2016, 4,000 additional historic Candlestick seats were acquired and installed at Kezar. The seats were paid for by the San Francisco Deltas as a part of a $1-million improvement the team agreed upon to make use of the stadium.[16]

Soccer and other sports

In 1967 it served as the home stadium for the San Francisco Golden Gate Gales of the United Soccer Association.[17]

With the 2006 West Coast expansion of Major League Lacrosse, Kezar Stadium once again became a home to a professional team, the San Francisco Dragons. In October 2006, United Soccer Leagues (USL) and Spanish football club Deportivo Alavés announced that the new pro soccer team, named California Victory, would play their 2007 home games at Kezar. The Victory played in the USL's First Division, one level below Major League Soccer. However, Alaves later withdrew their support and the team folded.

Sacred Heart Cathedral Preparatory, a nearby Catholic high school uses the field for their home football games. Mission High School also uses the field for home games. Kezar has also been the host of several Northern California Semi-pro football championship games.

In 2010, 2011, and 2012, Stanford University held its spring football game at Kezar. For the 2012 and 2016 San Francisco Olympic bids, Kezar was designated to host field hockey had San Francisco been chosen in either year.

From 2001 to 2016, Kezar was the home field for San Francisco City FC, a supporter-owned club playing in the PDL.

In 2017, Kezar became the home field for the San Francisco Deltas, a professional soccer team playing in the North American Soccer League (NASL). The Deltas have contributed over $1-million in renovations to the stadium. However, Deltas announced that they would be concluding operations and the team folded.

In February 2018, San Francisco City FC announced they would return to Kezar Stadium for the 2018 PDL season.

Women's soccer

The San Francisco Nighthawks, founded in 1995 and a member of the Women's Premier Soccer League, play their home games at Kezar. The Bay Area Breeze of the W-League started play there in 2013.[18]

College lacrosse

Kezar is also the home to the annual San Francisco Fall Lacrosse Classic, an NCAA Division I fall ball game started in 2009 to benefit the Bay Area Youth Sports Foundation. The first event was between Brown and North Carolina. It was the first Division I men's lacrosse played in Northern California. North Carolina beat Brown 13–5 in front of a crowd of more than 4,500. The 2010 event featured lacrosse powerhouse Johns Hopkins and Notre Dame on Saturday, October 16, 2010. Notre Dame beat Hopkins 10–7. The third installment took place on Saturday, October 8, 2011 and featured the University of Denver and Harvard University. The fourth installment took place Sunday October 21, 2012 in a match between Lehigh and Ohio State.[19] As a direct result of the San Francisco Fall Lacrosse Classic, the BAYS Foundation has made over $225,000 in grants to local youth sports and educations programs for under-resourced children throughout the Bay Area.[19]

Other sports

In 2013, Kezar was home to the Major League Ultimate (MLU) team, the San Francisco Dogfish.[20]

Kezar was home to the San Francisco GAA football league (Gaelic football). In 2004 it served as the home of the San Francisco Freedom, the city's Pro Cricket team.

References

  1. ^ "STADIUM RENTALS". San Francisco Recreation and Parks.
  2. ^ Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis Community Development Project. "Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–". Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Retrieved January 2, 2019.
  3. ^ San Francisco Bulletin, October 13, 1920
  4. ^ Fimrite, Ron (September 5, 1977). "A melding of men all suited to a T". Sports Illustrated: 90.
  5. ^ "They're leaving Kezar to kids and seagulls". Eugene Register-Guard. Associated Press. December 6, 1970. p. 2B.
  6. ^ a b Turbow, Jason (20 January 2012). "West Coast Brew Gave Kezar Stadium Its Color". New York Times.
  7. ^ The Oakland Raiders 2010 Media Guide.
  8. ^ "Viking romps wrong way". Spokane Daily Chronicle. (Washington). Associated Press. October 26, 1964. p. 13.
  9. ^ "Dallas rebounds". Spokane Daily Chronicle. (Washington). Associated Press. January 4, 1971. p. 17.
  10. ^ "Official Schedule". Bay Area Reporter. 26 August 1982. Retrieved 11 August 2018.
  11. ^ "Official Schedule". Bay Area Reporter. 7 August 1986. Retrieved 11 August 2018.
  12. ^ "Fans take home pieces of Kezar". (Sonora, CA) Union-Democrat. Associated Press. 7 April 1989. p. 3C.
  13. ^ "Stadium to Be Razed : The Last Faithful Fans Take a Seat at Kezar". Los Angeles Times. 7 April 1989. Retrieved 1 February 2014.
  14. ^ Kezar Stadium at Ballparks.com
  15. ^ Mayor Lee at Kezar Track Opening After $3.2 Million Renovation
  16. ^ Candlestick Seats Will Soon Fill SF's Kezar Stadium
  17. ^ Thomson, Ian (June 28, 2013). "Happel's "Monster" Dutchmen Take San Francisco By Storm". The Soccer Observer. Retrieved October 1, 2017.
  18. ^ "Breeze Tab Kezar Stadium as Home Field". United Soccer Leagues (USL). May 3, 2013. Archived from the original on May 28, 2013. Retrieved May 4, 2012.
  19. ^ a b "SFLacrosse.com: October 21, 2012 – Kezar Stadium, San Francisco CA – NCAA Division I Men's Lacrosse Returns to San Francisco – Sunday, October 21, 2012". Retrieved 2012-11-16.
  20. ^ Phillips, John (14 January 2013). "6San Francisco Dogfish". Major League Ultimate. Archived from the original on February 3, 2014. Retrieved 1 February 2014.

External links

Preceded by
first stadium
Home of the
San Francisco 49ers

1946–1970
Succeeded by
Candlestick Park
Preceded by
first stadium
Home of the
Oakland Raiders

1960
Succeeded by
Candlestick Park
Preceded by
first stadium
Host of
NFC Championship Game

1971
Succeeded by
Texas Stadium
1927 Saint Mary's Gaels football team

The 1927 Saint Mary's Gaels football team was an American football team that represented Saint Mary's College of California during the 1927 college football season. In their seventh season under head coach Slip Madigan, the Gaels compiled a 7–2–1 record, shut out seven opponents, won the Far Western Conference championship, and outscored all opponents by a combined total of 155 to 28. The Gaels' victories including a 16-0 besting of Stanford. The Gaels also lost to California, 13–0.Center Larry Bettencourt was selected by the Associated Press as a first-team member of the 1927 All-Pacific Coast football team; he was later inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.

1930 Saint Mary's Gaels football team

The 1930 Saint Mary's Gaels football team was an American football team that represented Saint Mary's College of California during the 1930 college football season. In their tenth season under head coach Slip Madigan, the Gaels compiled an 8–1 record, shut out five of nine opponents, and outscored all opponents by a combined total of 168 to 31. The Gaels' victories included a 21–6 besting of UCLA, a 20–12 besting of Fordham, and a 7–6 victory over Oregon. The lone setback was a 7–6 loss to California.End Harry Ebding was selected by both the Associated Press and the United Press as first-team player on the 1930 All-Pacific Coast football team.

1933 San Francisco Dons football team

The 1933 San Francisco Dons football team was an American football team that represented the University of San Francisco as an independent during the 1933 college football season. In their second season under head coach Lawrence "Spud" Lewis, the Dons compiled a 1–6–1 record and were outscored by a combined total of 74 to 42.

1936 Santa Clara Broncos football team

The 1936 Santa Clara Broncos football team represented Santa Clara University during the 1936 college football season. In their first season under head coach Buck Shaw, the Broncos compiled an 8–1 record with five shutouts, and outscored all opponents by a combined total of 139 to 36. In the final AP Poll released in late November, Santa Clara was sixth.

The Broncos' victories included a 13–0 besting of Stanford, a 19–0 victory over Saint Mary's (CA) and a 21–14 victory over undefeated and second-ranked LSU in the third Sugar Bowl on New Year's Day. The team's lone setback was a 9–0 shutout loss to #16 TCU (with Sammy Baugh) at Kezar Stadium on December 12.Two Broncos received honors on the 1936 All-Pacific Coast football team: fullback Nello Falaschi (INS-1, UP-1); and guard Dick Bassi (AP-1, INS-1, UP-1).

1937 Saint Mary's Gaels football team

The 1937 Saint Mary's Gaels football team was an American football team that represented Saint Mary's College of California during the 1937 college football season. In their 17th season under head coach Slip Madigan, the Gaels compiled a 4–3–2 record and outscored their opponents by a combined total of 71 to 50.

1940 Santa Clara Broncos football team

The 1940 Santa Clara Broncos football team represented Santa Clara University as an independent during the 1940 college football season. In its fifth season under head coach Buck Shaw, the team compiled a 6–1–1 record, outscored opponents by a total of 155 to 46, and was ranked No. 11 in the final AP Poll.

1940 Utah Utes football team

The 1940 Utah Utes football team represented the University of Utah during the 1940 college football season. Utah's season opener against Santa Clara was part of the first-ever major college football doubleheader. The event at Kezar Stadium in San Francisco also featured the future Rose Bowl champions, the Stanford "Wow Boys", defeat San Francisco, 27–0.

1941 Saint Mary's Gaels football team

The 1941 Saint Mary's Gaels football team was an American football team that represented Saint Mary's College of California during the 1941 college football season. They played their home games off campus at Kezar Stadium in San Francisco. In their second and final season under head coach Red Strader, the Gaels compiled a 5–4 record and outscored their opponents by a combined total of 133 to 123.

1941 San Francisco Dons football team

The 1941 San Francisco Dons football team was an American football team that represented the University of San Francisco as an independent during the 1941 college football season. In their first and only season under head coach Jeff Cravath, the Dons compiled a 6–4 record and were outscored by their opponents by a combined total of 206 to 193.

1942 Stanford Indians football team

The 1942 Stanford Indians football team represented Stanford University in the 1942 college football season and was led by first-year head coach Marchmont Schwartz. With the United States now fully engaged in World War II, Stanford played three "home" games at Kezar Stadium in San Francisco in order to comply with wartime requirements to minimize the use of non-essential public transportation by holding events near population centers. The team also played four games at its usual home stadium, Stanford Stadium.

Stanford suspended football after this season, resuming in 1946.

1946 San Francisco Dons football team

The 1946 San Francisco Dons football team was an American football team that represented the University of San Francisco as an independent during the 1946 college football season. In their first and only season under head coach Maurice J. "Clipper" Smith, the Dons compiled a 3–6 record and were outscored by their opponents by a combined total of 172 to 162.

1947 San Francisco Dons football team

The 1947 San Francisco Dons football team was an American football team that represented the University of San Francisco as an independent during the 1947 college football season. In its first and only season under head coach Edward McKeever, the team compiled a 7–3 record and outscored opponents by a total of 275 to 143.

1947 Santa Clara Broncos football team

The 1947 Santa Clara Broncos football team was an American football team that represented Santa Clara University during the 1947 college football season. In its second season under head coach Len Casanova, the team compiled a 4–4 record and was outscored by a total of 158 to 109. The team played its three home games at Kezar Stadium at San Francisco.

1950 San Francisco 49ers season

The 1950 San Francisco 49ers season was the team's first season in the NFL, after playing the previous four years in the All-America Football Conference, which folded after the 1949 season. The 49ers, Baltimore Colts, and Cleveland Browns all joined the NFL from the AAFC.

San Francisco's first NFL game was at Kezar Stadium on September 17 against the New York Yanks, as the 49ers fell short, losing by a score of 21–17. They started the season 0–5 before recording their first NFL victory in a 28–27 victory over the Detroit Lions at home. The Niners played better after the 0–5 start, went 3–4 in their remaining 7 games to finish the season 3–9, and failed to qualify for the playoffs.

Quarterback Frankie Albert completed 50.7% of his passes, while throwing for 14 touchdowns and 23 interceptions. Running back Joe Perry rushed for a team-high 647 yards and 5 touchdowns, while wide receiver Alyn Beals caught 22 passes for 315 yards, and 3 touchdowns.

1957 NFL playoffs

The 1957 National Football League season resulted in a tie for the Western Conference championship between the Detroit Lions and San Francisco 49ers. Both finished at 8–4 and had split their two games during the regular season in November, with the home team winning each.

The tie thus required a one-game playoff to be held between the two clubs. This conference championship game was played on December 22 at Kezar Stadium in San Francisco, and Detroit won, 31–27.The Lions moved on to host the Cleveland Browns on December 29 in the championship game, and won in a 59–14 rout at Briggs Stadium for their third title in six years. As of 2017, it is Detroit's most recent league title.

2017 San Francisco Deltas season

The 2017 San Francisco Deltas season is the club's only season of existence. The club plays in North American Soccer League, the second tier of the American soccer pyramid.

49ers–Rams rivalry

The 49ers–Rams rivalry is a rivalry that began in 1950 and became one of the most intense in the National Football League in the 1970s as the two California based teams regularly competed for the NFL's NFC West Division title. The intensity of the rivalry is due to the fact that Northern California (where the 49ers are based) and Southern California (where the Rams are based) have long been competitors in the economic, cultural, and political arenas. During the Rams' twenty-one years in St. Louis, the rivalry did not have the geographical lore it once had, but games were still intense regardless of the standings. With the Rams’ return to Los Angeles in 2016, the rivalry became geographic once more. Sports Illustrated considers their rivalry the 8th best of all time in the National Football League.

San Francisco City FC

San Francisco City Football Club, commonly abbreviated to SF City, is a supporter-owned amateur soccer club located in San Francisco, California that competes in USL League Two.Founded in 2001, SF City plays its home matches at Kezar Stadium. The club has also hosted home matches at Negoesco Stadium, Cox Stadium, Raymond Kimbell Playground, and Crocker-Amazon Park.In 2016, SF City qualified for its second U.S. Open Cup, the oldest ongoing national soccer competition in the U.S., after winning two preliminary qualifiers and receiving a bye into the first round of the tournament.

San Francisco Deltas

The San Francisco Deltas were an American professional soccer team based in San Francisco, California, United States. Founded in 2016, the team made its debut in the North American Soccer League in 2017. The franchise played its home games at Kezar Stadium located at the south-east end of Golden Gate Park.

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