It may not be the most attractive piece of architecture in San Francisco, but for what Candlestick Park lacks in aesthetics, it makes up for in character.
Originally built for the San Francisco Giants, Candlestick made its grand debut during the team’s home opener on April 12, 1960. In 1971, the stadium was expanded to house the 49ers, who would go on to win five Super Bowls in the 1980s and 1990s and become one of the most storied franchises in NFL history.
During 53 years on the shore of San Francisco Bay, loyal fans filed in to cheer on sports legends such as Joe Montana, Willie Mays, Jerry Rice, Will Clark, Ronnie Lott, Barry Bonds and Steve Young.
In addition to sports, Candlestick played host to many music and historical events over the years, including the Rolling Stones in 1981, a mass held by Pope John Paul II in 1987, the Beatles’ final live concert in 1966 and, most recently, a Justin Timberlake and Jay-Z performance on July 26, 2013. The Timberlake/Jay-Z performance was in front of a sold out crowd and marked the final concert to be held at Candlestick Park.
On December 23, 2013, the 49ers will kick off what will likely be the final game at Candlestick in front of a national, Monday Night Football audience. They will then head south to Santa Clara to the new and state-of-the-art Levi’s stadium, leaving Candlestick Park empty and scheduled for demolition.
For the diehard fans who wore their Croix de Candlestick pins like a badge of honor, cheered on their team during playoff wins and clinches, and survived the ground shaking in 1989, Candlestick may be gone, but it will never be forgotten.