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Outside Lands Podcast Episode 1: Kezar Stadium

(Listen to Episode #224 instead!) Woody and David discuss the old Kezar Stadium in Golden Gate Park
Outside Lands San Francisco Podcast - Jan 4, 2013

Outside Lands Podcast Episode 1: Kezar Stadium Outside Lands Podcast Episode 1: Kezar Stadium

(above) Kezar Stadium, Aug 1, 1924

Construction. Man working on seating at Keazar Stadium, 1924.


Podcast Transcription

Outside Lands Podcast #1 Kezar Stadium

[Intro Music]

Woody Labounty: It's January 3rd 2013 and this is the first podcast of the year for the 

Woody and David Gallagher: Western Neighborhoods Project 

Woody: All right, we’ve got to work on that. We’ve got to get our friend to write us a better jingle. We're talking here about what happened today, or what today is... 

David: Who are we?

Woody: Well I am Woody Labounty

David: and I'm David Gallagher!

Woody: and January 3rd is actually the anniversary of the last game the San Francisco 49ers played

David: at Kezar Stadium

Woody: that's right, which you know where Kezar Stadium is right?

David:  Uh yeah, it's at the eastern end of Golden Gate Park

Woody:  It's pretty much like the southeast corner the last little piece of park there

David:  It's kind of cut off from the other part because there's a kind of a thoroughfare from 

[laughter]

Woody: But I had a question for you David. So I heard that Kezar Stadium, and I always pronounced it Kezar [Key-zar], but I heard that it was named after a woman named Mary Kezar and that she didn't pronounce her name Kezar, she pronounced it like Kezar [Kah-zar]. Have you heard of that before? Is that news to you?

David: that's not, that is news to me, never heard that before.

Woody: But was it Mary Kezar? Was that her name?

David: Yeah, Mary Kezar.  It was built with a hundred thousand dollar gift from her estate. 

Woody: Oh, so she was dead. She didn't live to see the beauty that was Kezar Stadium.

David: No, so nobody, nobody cared about the pronunciation of her name. All they cared about were the championship football matches played there. 

Woody: Well today is the last day the 49ers played in 1971. It was actually a loss. It was the NFC Championship game to the Dallas Cowboys. They lost 17 to 10. Darn that Roger Staubach or was it Craig Morton? 

David: It was pretty close

Woody: That was pretty close. The 49ers lost some heartbreakers I think at Kezar

David: But, so, Kezar doesn't look big enough to have a professional football game in it.

Woody: Well I think there's two things. I think professional football has exploded since 1971. People expect much bigger and luxurious stadiums but also, Kezar used to be bigger itself. I  think it seated something like 50,000 fans back then. It was a much bigger stadium than it is now. 

David: Well what do you mean?

Woody: I mean like it was, the bowl was actually bigger. They did a renovation project I think in the early 90s to make it a more neighborhood sized looking venue for sports and events but in the old days it had benches all the way around and no seat backs and everybody just packed it in. 50, 000 people.

David: People don't care about high school football anymore huh?

Woody: They used to care a lot more 

David: 1928

Woody: Yeah 

David: The Polytechnic and Lowell, Poly Parrots 

Woody: Poly Parrots  

David:  versus Lowell, over 50,000 people attended that game

Woody: For a high school football game?

David: Yeah. Well Poly was right across the street

Woody: Right, it was almost a stadium built for Poly

David: Yeah 

Woody: and what, so I mean this is a little off topic I guess, but Polytech High School was on Frederick right there across from Kezar

David: Yeah 

Woody: and, but it's gone.

David: That got torn down, yeah.

Woody: but there's still a little remnant of Polytech left there.

David: There's two! 

Woody: there's two remnants you're right.

David:  There’s two gymnasiums that are still there on Frederick street across from the remodeled Kezar Stadium

Woody: and Polytech I think still has a big alumni association that meets and still kind of remembers the high school. They're still around even though the high school's gone.

David: Do they meet in someone's condo there?

Woody: Yeah because the middle is all condos now. The two gyms kind of bookend the condos where the high school was.

David: Well I will say though it's all very much, very more open area, because the original Kezar Stadium was monolithic. I mean it was like four or five stories of concrete wall, right?  All the way around.

Woody: Right, and it's funny to have such a big building in the park where everybody's so interested in open space and trees and grass and then you have this gigantic stadium 

David: Yeah 

Woody: and then how do you, I mean we were talking about this before but, how do you get 50,000 people to go to one little corner of Golden Gate Park for a game? That just must have been a mad house back then.

David: How did they get transported there?

Woody: I just imagine, 50,000, I mean I guess people go to concerts in the park and such that might number a lot of people but 50,000 people going every Sunday to that little crowded intersection of Frederick and Stanyan, it seems kind of nutty. 

David: That was in the days when we still had streetcars running out there I think.

Woody: Well we still have streetcars. The N Judah still goes there but

David: It doesn't really go right there 

Woody: It turns around at 19th avenue

David: It goes pretty close to there. All right, it goes pretty close to there.

Woody: but uh yeah, you're right. Probably more people took streetcars and walked and that sort of thing back then. But that's it, that's our podcast, and so a little anniversary of the last game the 49ers played at Kezar Stadium. You think they're gonna do well in the playoffs this year?

David: No. I don't.

[laughter]

David: It was wrong to bench Alex Smith.

Woody: So we get our first podcast. We're already gonna get our first hate mail I can see it already. ‘9ers forever.

David: Remember this is the podcast of the

David and Woody: Western Neighborhoods Project

David: I'm David Gallagher 

Woody: I'm Woody Labounty. Maybe we'll, you'll hear from us again 

David: You'll never even hear this 

Woody: yeah maybe not.

Voiceover: Learn more about the Western Neighborhoods Project and more about San Francisco history at https://outsidelands.org

[Outro Music]

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