A photo of the Oakland Oaks playing in Emeryville, 1947
Before the Oakland Coliseum was built, sports were played in fields all over Oakland. There were no "Major League" sports teams, but there were regional teams, such as the Pacific Coast League's Oakland Oaks baseball team, who played in Oakland and Emeryville from 1903 to 1955.

The Oaks created great excitement by winning the PL pennant in 1948 and 1950, but they left Oakland for Vancouver in 1955.

The acorn logo of the Oakland Oaks

The downtown stadium plan, 1960


Getting major league teams in Oakland meant building a real stadium. Throughout the 1950's and early 1960's, there was a movement to build such a stadium for Oakland. One plan was to put a stadium downtown, on the Peralta Park site. (see left) In December 1960, a site was finally decided on, next to the Nimitz Freeway (today I-880).

The site chosen in December, 1960 for the Coliseum and Arena was largely vacant land, owned by PG & E, and East Bay Municipal Utility District. It had been marshy land, and had been filled in over the years, like much of Oakland's land near the bay.

The Coliseum site, early in construction

Engineer Karl Ogrey with the mammoth tusks, 1964.
In prehistoric times, the Coliseum site was a swamp with a creek running through it. During construction of the stadium, in August 1964, a pair of mammoth tusks was found 28 feet below the ground. A professor (Dr. Savage) was called in from U.C. Berkeley, and he and his students also found the remains of a ground sloth. Dr. Savage proposed calling the sports complex the "Mammoth Coliseum" and offered to make a life-sized statue of a mammoth for display there.


More on the Oakland Oaks from William B. Shubb.

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