Estadio Gasómetro (Viejo Gasómetro) – until 1979
|Clubs||CA San Lorenzo de Almagro|
|Renovations||1922-1929, 1939, 1951|
|Address||Avenida La Plata 1700, C1424 CABA, Argentina|
Estadio Gasómetro – historical stadium description
Although the football club of San Lorenzo had operated since 1908, it wasn’t until promotion to the first division in 1915 that they needed a proper stadium. Facilities were created along Avenida La Plata in Almagro (later the area became part of Boedo, a newer distirct), on leased land. Initially the playing field had a covered wooden grandstand and very modest space for spectators along the field.
The playing field was located along the east-west axis (neighbouring Av. La Plata in the west) soon surrounded by growing steel stands for additional spectators. Because the stadium had no official naming at the time, it quickly earned the nickname of Gasómetro, owing it to structural resemblance between gasometers of the time and the thin steel stands.
After just 12 years in operation the stadium reached a truly impressive size of over 70,000, seeing the period of San Lorenzo’s rapid growth. For the next couple of decades, until Racing Avellaneda opened their giant coliseum, Gasómetro was Argentina’s largest stadium and home to some of the national team’s fixtures, as well as other major events. Because of San Lorenzo’s quick growth in 1920s, the club was able to buy the land under Gasómetro already in 1928.
By 1939 the stadium became Argentina’s first to offer artificial lighting. Even though placed on masts obstructing the view of many fans, it was still considered a novelty. In November of 1951 it was also the first stadium to have a live match broadcast on TV. While these features may give an impression of modernity, the building’s structure was ageing. Also, as Boedo was becoming more densely populated each year, space for expansion just wasn’t there.
In 1960 San Lorenzo was granted 22 hectares of land for the creation of a sports city (ciudad deportiva) in the Bajo Flores district. Here, gradually, the club was delivering further sports facilities for amateur and professional athletes alike. Eventually, a stadium for at least 40,000 people was supposed to be built there.
Inability to cover payments for swimming pools within the sports city was used in 1979 as an excuse to expropriate the football club from its Boedo home. Gasómetro was taken over by the National Reorganization Process dictatorship, forcing San Lorenzo’s relocation to Bajo Flores. Because of dramatic financial circumstances, delivery of the successor stadium, immediately called Nuevo Gasómetro, took until 1993.