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Architect's Candlestick vision defined his career

  • Architect John Bolles inspects the partially finished model of the Giants' Stadium, detailed at 1/32nd inch to the foot in San Francisco, Sept. 24, 1958. the stadium will seat more than 40,000 when completed. In addition, temporary bleachers will be erected in the outfield, and the stadium eventually, if closed in, could seat 75,000. (AP Photo/Clarence Hamm)

When PacBell Park (now redubbed AT&T Park) opened in 2000, people were blown away by its classic lines, by its intimacy and its proximity to San Francisco Bay. It's still considered one of the jewels of Major League Baseball. Jane Grimm, for one, wasn't entirely impressed.

"I'm thinking, &‘Oh, what a novel idea. It's got views to the bay, it's got ferry access, it seats 40,000 people. OK ... ,' " Grimm said last week.

Candlestick Park Through the Years

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Forgive her lack of exuberance, but Grimm knows of another Bay Area ballpark with those same qualities. It's called Candlestick Park, and it was designed by her father, John Savage Bolles, who died in Santa Rosa in 1983.

Candlestick wasn't Bolles' only major project. The Berkeley native and Harvard-educated civil engineer had a vast CV that included Paul Masson Champagne Cellars in Saratoga, the IBM campus in San Jose, the McGraw-Hill Distribution Center (perhaps better known as the Birkenstock headquarters) in Novato and pretty much every Macy's between Monterey and Oregon.

But Candlestick Park was Bolles' biggest and most complicated work, and helps to define his reputation — for better or worse. According to Grimm, he loved the contours of the stadium and was stung by those who criticized its lack of coziness.


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