SAN FRANCISCO — The bleachers at Kezar Stadium were chopped up and sold for $20 a plank when 1,500 football fans showed up to say farewell to the decrepit stucco pile built in 1925.
The stadium, abandoned by the San Francisco 49ers in 1971 when they moved to Candlestick Park, will be torn down as part of a $9-million project that will result in a new, smaller stadium at the same site that will be used for high school sports.
The party on Thursday night was held inside a huge tent in the middle of the football field. Fans paid $30 each to attend the bash, where they met such football legends as Y. A. Tittle, R. C. Owens and Leo Nomellini.
The party's auction saw a football signed by the 1989 Super Bowl Champion 49ers go for $700. A 1948 St. Mary's-USF program went for $30. A jersey worn and signed by Owens was bought for $70. A helmet signed by all the former players who attended the party was sold for $250.
Tittle, who was the 49ers quarterback, said he missed the place and the crowds that were almost close enough to touch.
"I remember coming through the tunnel before they put the cage over it," he said. "It was fearsome."
Deborah Learner of the San Francisco Recreation and Parks Commission said construction on the new stadium will begin in October and will result in a structure that resembles the old Kezar.
The new stadium will seat 10,000. The old Kezar initially seated 10,000 in a bowl below ground level, and a 40,000-seat above-ground superstructure was added in 1928.