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Local Knowledge: Kezar Stadium

The NFL Season is upon us yet again, so it’s only appropriate to spotlight Kezar Stadium, the 49ers beloved original home, in this week’s Throwback Thursday post. Kezar officially opened in 1925 after the San Francisco Park Commission appropriated $300,000 for its construction, with the Mary Kezar estate gifting the city $100,000 of that sum.

After the 49ers were founded in 1946, Kezar served as the franchise’s original stadium through 1970. The Oakland Raiders also played four home games at Kezar during their first season in 1960.

A single-tier bowl of bleachers encircled the entire stadium to seat 60,000 fans, while hundreds more caught games from the rooftops of adjacent houses. And though the stadium was notoriously cramped and uncomfortable, Kezar still evokes nostalgia amongst 49ers fans for its distinctly homey, old school vibe. Located smack dab in a residential area (between Golden Gate Park and a bunch of houses—and a stones throw from Haight Ashbury during its flower power heyday), it was truly a neighborhood stadium—a relic of a concept in today’s era of hyper-modern mega arenas. In fact, it’s hard not to think of the sleek and shiny Levi’s Stadium as Kezar’s polar opposite.

Check out some amazing old photos below—and grab some SFP 49ers gear while you’re at it!

No ticket? No problem. Fans caught games from adjacent rooftops. Photo via The Chronicle, 1957

Seagulls were a major issue at Kezar; fans would put newspapers over their heads to protect themselves as flocks of gulls descended upon the stadium.

49ers tight end Clyde Conner hauling in a pass. Photo via The Oakland Tribute, 1962

49ers vs Green Bay Packers – 1950

Next time you’re in the neighborhood, hop over to Kezar Pub—the best sports bar in the city, if you ask me—to check out the amazing vintage 49ers memorabilia, posters, and photos adorning the pub’s walls.

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