Crews starting demolition on historic Candlestick Park

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ByJonathan Bloom KGO logo
Thursday, February 5, 2015
Crews starting demolition on historic Candlestick Park
A chapter in San Francisco's history is almost over. Crews are starting demolition on Candlestick Park.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- A chapter in San Francisco's history is almost over. Crews are starting demolition on Candlestick Park and on Wednesday, they let ABC7 News pay one final visit.

In a stadium full of broken seats and torn up grass, a giant claw peels apart the steel bleachers, just like pulling the wrapper off a hot dog.

Of course, for 49ers photographer Michael Zagaris, that brings back other memories. "Sometimes the wind would howl. I could be shooting and all of a sudden like WHAP - there's a plastic hot dog wrapped just slamming against my face," he recalled.

Candlestick Park wasn't known for nice weather. Even as workers take it apart, the padded seats in the dugout can still be seen with heaters right behind them.

"Well, they would've saved people's butts except they didn't work. None of the heaters worked," Zagaris said.

Still, The Stick was a place where history happened.

From that last Beatles concert to Candlestick's last concert here by Sir Paul himself.

There was sports history -- the play known as "the catch." And the World Series when the earth shook.

"Canseco kind of fell back against me and he said, 'I've got a migrane, my head's killing me,' and I just said, 'Hey man, relax, it's just an earthquake,'" Zagaris said.

For all the history that's been seen from these seats, Candlestick will vanish into history in almost no time at all.

It'll take another week or two to get the rest of the wrecking equipment on site and then all this could be gone within three months.

"This will all be a very dramatically different landscape once we finish demolishing Candlestick," site development manager Jermaine Smith said.

Housing, shopping and wide open green space - it's only fitting the man who's managing the project has already spent so much time here.

"The funny thing is this is the first time I've been on the field with all the games that I've been to, so it's actually kind of cool. It looks a lot smaller now," Smith said.

And it'll get smaller every day as workers dismantle it one crumbling piece at a time.

"It was kind of like a great, old house you grew up in as a kid where the roof leaked and some of the windows didn't shut right. But that's where you grew up. I grew up there, so it was a great place," Zagaris said.