Library artifacts invite Candlestick memories 

click to enlarge San Francisco’s beleaguered stadium is the subject of “Lights Out at the ’Stick” on view at the Main Library. - COURTESY PHOTO
  • COURTESY PHOTO
  • San Francisco’s beleaguered stadium is the subject of “Lights Out at the ’Stick” on view at the Main Library.
Candlestick Park, where the Giants, the 49ers, The Beatles and the San Andreas fault had some mighty moments, is remembered in an exhibition at the San Francisco Public Library.

“Lights Out at the Stick,” a salute to the demolition-slated stadium, runs at the Main Library through Oct. 9.

“Candlestick Park is such an iconic asset for San Francisco,” says Phil Ginsburg, general manager of the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department. The department and the library are co-presenting the exhibit to capture how Candlestick “is so important for so many people.”

Located in display cases at the Grove Street entrance and children’s center, the show contains photographs and ephemera, much from the library-based San Francisco History Center.

“The exhibit gives people a chance to walk down memory lane, reliving favorite memories of ‘surviving the Stick’ during all those windy and cold home games, and is a reminder of the rich collection of resources housed at the San Francisco History Center,” says Michelle Jeffers, the library’s chief of community programs and partnerships.

Items on view include photos of a dwelling that was removed to make way for the stadium, plus images of Candlestick games. Among “fun things to see,” Jeffers cites Giants’ and 49ers’ uniforms, tickets, programs, a stadium seat and a Crazy Crab bobblehead doll. The crab, as fans know, is the Giants’ former mascot (“apparently eaten by Lou Seal,” Jeffers jokes).

Designed by John S. Bolles, located at Candlestick Point, and named for the candlestick bird (long-billed curlew), the ballpark was the first reinforced-concrete stadium built for major-league baseball.

It opened in 1960 as the home of the San Francisco Giants (Richard Nixon, then vice president, threw out the first pitch). It was the Giants second home — after Seals Stadium — upon arrival in 1958.

In the football arena, the San Francisco 49ers played at Candlestick for 42 years, beginning in 1971. In its post-baseball period, Candlestick “had the best turf in the NFL,” Ginsburg says.

World Series and NFC Championship games took place at the stadium. During the 1989 World Series, Candlestick made headlines when, shortly before Game 3 was to begin, the Loma Prieta earthquake struck. Candlestick also earned a place in the annals when The Beatles, on Aug. 29, 1966, played their final concert there. Paul McCartney returned Aug. 14 this year to perform the stadium’s last event.

Candlestick Park — corporate monikers neither officially nor emotionally stuck — also welcomed The Rolling Stones, a pope and several movie crews during its 54-year history.

As for his own indelible Candlestick memories, Ginsburg recalls the undesirable weather conditions and, more favorably, taking his daughter to a soccer event: the U.S. Women’s National Team’s first-ever appearance at Candlestick.

“Like all stadiums, Candlestick had a life,” Ginsburg says. “And it served a very admirable life.”

IF YOU GO

Lights Out at the Stick

Where: Main Library, 200 Larkin St., S.F.

When: Noon to 5 p.m. Sundays, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays and Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesdays-Thursdays, noon to 6 p.m. Fridays; closes Oct. 9

Admission: Free

Contact: (415) 557-4277, www.sfpl.org

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Anita Katz

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