Sunday, April 29, 2012

Kezar Stadium, 755 Stanyan Street, San Francisco, CA


Capacity 59,942


In 1922,  Mary Kezar donated $100,000 to build a memorial in honor of her mother and uncles who were pioneers in the area. The City of San Francisco threw in another $200,000 to build on the land that had housed Golden Gate Park's nursery and stable yard beginning in 1873-1874. Also on the site was John McLaren's beloved Rhododendron Dell. Most of the money was used to build Kezar Stadium, a football stadium that served as the home of the 49ers between 1946 and 1971. The smaller Kezar Pavilion, built in 1924 by Willis Polk and Company, has outlasted the stadium.

Dedication ceremonies for the stadium were held on May 2, 1925. The architect was Willis Polk.  It is in the Southeast corner of Golden Gate Park.
First event - 2 mile race between Willie Ratola and Pavo Nurmi of Finland, (world's greatest distance runner), on May 2, 1925.
Last event - November 10, 1988, Frosh Football between Sacred Heart and Mitty High Schools.
Two world championship fights - Jackie Fields vs. Young Corbett (of San Francisco), welterweight championship in 1932; and Rocky Marciano vs. Don Cockell (from England), welterweight championship in 1955.

Beginning in June 1989, Kezar 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 large grass athletic field suitable for soccer, football and lacrosse.[3]
The field and track configurations remained the same. 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, who played a record 189 career games at Kezar Stadium, is built into the replica arch.

The San Francisco 49ers and the Oakland Raiders both began their existence at the stadium. The Raiders played at Kezar during their first season and at Candlestick Park during their second season, before Frank Youell Field was built as a temporary facility in Oakland. The 49ers moved to a more modern and accessible stadium at Candlestick Park in 1971 after losing the 1970 NFC Championship Game to the Dallas Cowboys, 17-10, on January 3, 1971, in their final game at Kezar.




Jerry performed here with The Grateful Dead on
5/26/73




Here's a review by Jeff Perry, who knew Kevin McKernan, Pigpen's brother.
5-26-73
It had only been a couple months since Kevin's brother died. I saw the
Dead play a few months back at Maples (Stanford)... the sound was terrible
in that gym... the new songs were not very "Grateful Dead-like" and I only
heard Lesh's bass. I had gotten word that Pig was down to 90 lbs and
wanted to leave the hospital and go back to his home in Corte Madera. I
kept looking at the empty space onstage where he should be. Not a good
show, I just wasn't in the mood. A month later Pig would be dressed in his
honorary Hell's Angels vest and old hat at Roller and Hapgood funeral home
on Middlefield Rd in Palo Alto. The Dead were changing and Kevin
McKernan's brother was gone.
Spring and summer came early to the Bay Area. My first love and I
broke up. The Dead were playing the Cow Palace and I decided to "pass" on
seeing them. Kevin had vanished from my "social circles" and there was
concern. My condolences seem to fall on deaf ears the last time we talked.
The Dead changed their plans and decided to play one show at Kezar
instead. A girl I grew up with was determined to get me out of my mood and
drag me to the show (her first..and last). My Austin-Cooper was not
running (as usual) so we took the train up. Spring/summer and the Dead are
playing again in Golden Gate Park and I wasn't up for it.
Kezar seemed to have shrunk since my family took me to 49er games there
as a kid. Low walls and bench seats that held only 40,000. The field was
half full of Deadheads... New Riders were singing "Hello Mary-Lou" when we
entered. I looked up and Keith was playing with them... my first thought
was "Where's Garcia on pedal-steel?" I wanted them to play "Portland
Woman" but don't remember if they did. Waylon Jennings came on but the un
SF-like weather was getting warm and I just wanted to see the Dead and
leave. I remember Jennings doing "Me and Bobby McGee" and I thought
sarcastically "oh great, now the Dead won't do it". I noticed alot less
cowboy hats at that show... that's one phase (view blocking fad?) of the
Deadheads in the early 70s I was glad to see go... I only stand 5'8"...
Even though I grew up in sunny California, during the peak of summer,
the best tan I can muster is comparable to a belly of a dead fish. This
was a hot day and I felt like a gopher out of his hole. The girl I was
with (Tonie) and I ran into alot of our friends and "staked" our area. I
was warned that our friend Margaret had had a few too many whites and was
talking a blue streak. The warning was on the money. She kept saying two
things thoughout the show.."I think the Grateful Dead should be only guys,
don't cha think?" and "Jeffrey, you're really getting sunburnt".
There was a LONG break between Jennings and the Dead... it seemed like
the entire crew was climbing in and out of Keith's grand piano...then I
think they replaced the piano (using a forklift). In about 1970 the Dead
had all tie-dyed speaker covers (I think Bill Kreutzman's (then) wife made
them), with time speakers had blown and were replaced. At this show I
noticed only a few tie-dyed speakers were left from the "old days". Bill
Graham came on the left side of the stage and said something like "I can't
think of a better way to start this new 'Day on the Green' series than to
say, 'ladies and gentlemen, The Grateful Dead.'"
My friend since 1st grade (....cheesy plug< ck out his tape GD tape
list- http://www.montrose.net/rlbecker/index.htm ) had become quite the
musician, Bob played in bluegrass bands at the time. He told me bluegrass
was "Happy Music". As I was listening to the Dead that day it struck me
that the "new" Dead was "Happy Music" also. I think everyone has a tape of
this show... some folks online say it's overrated, they weren't at this
show. The Dead worked intensely for 3 sets to put on something special. I
remember enjoying every song and jam. I guess I can only say to those
critics that the tapes must only captured the magic for those who were
there. (Many, many thanks to Prof. Paisley for upgrading my 70s crummy aud
with a sparkling Betty-board!). Someone once said to me that Keith had the
ability to outshine Garcia, I never thought it possible. I was a believer
after this show... the tone and playing of that instrument is what I
remember most... I was absolutely giddy during the China-Rider.
During a break, out of the corner of my eye I saw Pig... it was
actually Kevin (they moved and (somewhat looked) alike). I went to the
gate area and found him. He was smiling. He was excited to tell me Garcia
had come to him and offered to get his band moving. Garcia was going get
him the "right" instruments and equipment *and* sit in on their
rehearsals. This was the only medicine from the only person that could
have helped his depression. We talked gossip for a while and then 2 giggly
girls came up to us... kinda pushing each other towards us... One said to
Kevin, "Are you Bob Weir's brother?" I rolled my eyes. Kevin looked down
and mumbled..."no"... they walked away one saying to the other "see, I
told you so". Kevin was quiet after that, we talked a bit about summer
plans and I went back to our group.
(True to his word, Garcia supplied new and used equipment for Kevin and
the Moore brothers (other old HS friends)... worked with them *AND* made
them the opening act to a number of Garcia Band/LoM shows. The band was
called "Osirus").(1)

3/23/75




1.)^ Perry, Jeff, jperry@znet.com
3.)^ Kezar Stadium at Ballparks.com


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