On Saturday, Ryan and a friend sneaked into San Francisco’s Candlestick Park home of the Giants from 1960-1999 and the 49ers from 1971-2013. Demolition began in November of last year, but after opposition from local residents to an implosion, crews began to tear it down manually. That demolition has already taken months longer than planned. Here, Ryan shares his story and his photos with us.
Candlestick Park (what’s left of it) is located in the Bayview-Hunters Point neighborhood of San Francisco. It’s a quiet neighborhood filled with warehouses and unglamorous middle-class housing. We parked on a narrow road adjacent to the stadium parking lot, and after hopping a not-too-tall fence, we approached the stadium ruins.
We climbed over some large piles of concrete and mangled rebar and ran on to what used to the be the north end zone of the football field.
Candlestick had seemed old and decrepit for decades, and the crumbling facade and the concrete dangling from twisted rebar made it seem like the demolition plan for the stadium had always been to simply let it fall apart on its own.
The stadium is being disassembled in pieces, and one of the last remaining sections is on the east side of field, somewhat near the seat that I had for the last two football seasons at Candlestick. Compare the view from the seat in earlier, happier times with the current view.
The seats have been torn out of the remaining sections and piled on the field.
We navigated the remaining sections the way a fan might find her seat on gameday: we strolled the concourse, walked up and down the steps, chose a row, and took in the view.
We also explored the old baseball dugouts. I sat right behind the away team dugout at my first Giants game, in 1996. Today the view looks something like this:
We hung out in the old home team dugout for a while.
From the dugout, we followed a dark tunnel that led to the home team locker room, using an iphone for illumination.
This is the view from the tunnel leading to the field:
The locker room area is mostly gutted; but we did find some mail addressed to the San Francisco 49ers and (oddly, they haven’t played at Candlestick since 1999) the San Francisco Giants:
We gathered some of the discarded stadium seats from the piles on the field and collected other sentimental debris for souvenirs.
Other than a few cars driving around the perimeter of the stadium parking lot and stopping briefly to view the ruins, we didn’t see any evidence of human activity around the stadium—no security, and not even much demolition equipment (no bulldozers, cranes, etc.). It’s almost as if the city is hoping that someone will sneak in and take the whole stadium as a souvenir.