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SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — It was a wayback Wednesday for the 49ers and their faithful fans. The team held an open practice at Kezar Stadium in San Francisco to help kick off the team’s 70th anniversary season.READ MORE: Debate Intensifies Over Reopening JFK Drive in Golden Gate Park to Auto Traffic
Opened in 1925, Kezar was the 49ers home from 1946 to the 1970 season. It was demolished in 1989 and reconstructed as a smaller, neighborhood facility without the structural enclosure.
Wednesday, fans of all ages took in the spectacle of the team practicing in their original home, with many lifelong fans reminiscing on a decidedly different time.
“I had seats where that scoreboard is, about 40 rows in,” said 49ers fan Hector Navarro.
“I was probably around six,” said 49ers fan Joan Mantecon. “I came with my father. I was little, so the stadium looked big!”
These are folks who still speak fondly of the team’s original heroes like quarterback Y.A. Tittle. But mostly they like to talk about just how different things were back then.
“People brought cases of liquor into the stadium and they drank it all,” said 49ers fan Tom Thorner.
“They would rent pillows out, and if you collected pillows they’d give you a ticket to the next game,” said Navarro.READ MORE: San Jose Congregation Holds Fast Following Racist Easter Zoom-Bombing
If you want to see some great old pictures of Kezar, swing by the corner store and look above the beer selection. Some show people watching the game from the rooftops of their homes across Frederick Street.
“Yeah, people would be up there with their lounge chairs, watching the game,” said Navarro.
From Kezar, it’s hard to overstate just how far away Levi’s Stadium feels, and there are plenty of fans who will never get over that.
But time marches on … and while no one will long remember what happened during Wednesay’s practice, the old memories of Kezar will never fade, because those memories are simply larger than football.
“That’s the reason I came. It’s like dad’s watching. I’m doing it for him,” said Mantecon. “Kenneth Rich, Im doing it for you.”
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