19 dramatic photos of San Francisco's iconic Candlestick Park being demolished piece by piece

Demolition crews have arrived at Candlestick Park, the longtime home of the San Francisco 49ers and Giants. Rather than blast the stadium with dynamite, the crew is taking a more careful approach to demolition, removing seats and structures piece by piece.

What was once a modern sports arena is now reduced to an eerie scene. Thousands of seats are piled up in corners around the stadium, and there are gaping holes where dugouts and grandstands once were. Soon there will be nothing left.

Candlestick Park hosted its first game on April 12, 1960, when the San Francisco Giants beat the St. Louis Cardinals 3-2 . Located right on the Bay, the park has long been criticised for its inaccessibility and windy conditions.

Source: 49ers.com

'This will be one of the most beautiful baseball parks of all time,' then-Vice President Richard Nixon told the San Francisco Chronicle on opening day.

Source: 49ers.com

The 49ers played their first game here 11 years later, on Oct. 10, 1971.

Source: 49ers.com

Rather than blast the stadium with noisy dynamite that would spread dust and debris into the Bay, the demolition crew is taking the inside apart piece by piece.

'We've gravitated away from wrecking balls,' site manager Jermaine Smith said to SFGate. 'You see those in movies. This is precise demolition. You don't do that with wrecking balls.'

Source: SFGate

Plastic orange seats are being ripped out and left in giant piles around the stadium.

Here's what one of those piles looks like from far away.

Source: SFGate

Before demolition started, the 49ers sold some seats to fans for $749 a pair. Seats autographed by Willie Mays, Willie McCovey, Joe Montana, Dwight Clark, Mike Krukow, and Duane Kuiper were sold at a higher, undisclosed price.

Source: SFGate

What remains is an eerie and somewhat sad scene.

You can see the bolts that once held the stadium seats ...

... as well as the electronic equipment inside what was once a dugout.

This was the entrance to the visiting team's locker room.

And seats are left lying all over the place. The seats will be ground down and recycled.

But there are still signs of the stadium's past.

Here, a sticker from 1988 has been left behind on a stadium seat. The Giants played their last game at Candlestick on Sept. 30, 1999, before their move to AT&T Park.

Source: 49ers.com

A 'Farewell Candlestick' sits on top of the rubble. The 49ers played their final game at Candlestick on Dec. 23, 2013, beating the Atlanta Falcons in a come-from-behind win.

Source: 49ers.com

On July 12, 2014, a team of 49ers legends played in one final game at Candlestick. Joe Montana threw the winning touchdown pass.

Source: 49ers.com

Paul McCartney played one last show, on Aug. 14, 2014, telling a crowd of 49,000: 'Thank you, San Francisco, for being cool now and for being cool back then.'

Source: 49ers.com

Demolition is expected to take three months to complete. After that, developers will construct a $200 million outlet mall on the site.

Source: SFGate

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