The Cow Palace is an indoor arena, in Daly City, California, situated on the city's border with neighboring San Francisco, notable as a sporting and event venue. Completed in 1941, the Cow Palace has welcomed over 50 million visitors through its doors in the subsequent years.
The idea for the arena was originally conceived as the result of the popularity of the livestock pavilion at the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition. Officially named the California State Livestock Pavilion, newspaper records show that the name "Cow Palace" was used as early as May 1935. One story for how it became known by it's more colorful name relates that a newspaper editorial during the height of the Great Depression wondered, "Why, when people are starving, should money be spent on a "palace for cows?" The name Cow Palace was born and has stuck with the arena ever since.
After the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Cow Palace was rented by the Federal Government for $1.00 per year and for the next five years the structure was filled with troops embarking for combat zones in the Pacific Theatre. As World War II progressed, the pavilion was converted into a huge repair garage.
Following World War II, the facility was reopened for general public use. In October of 1949, the Cow Palace hosted the U.S. Heavyweight Boxing Championship. From then on, the Cow Palace hosted events that ranged from Roller Derby to the Republican National Convention, from Basketball to the Ice Follies.
Other Cow Palace highlights include appearances by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Liberace, the Billy Graham Crusade (with attendance of 696,525), John F. Kennedy, Evel Knievel, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, and Elvis Presley. In addition to these, the Cow Palace has been the host of many successful sold-out concerts. Some of the more memorable are those by the Grateful Dead, the Who, the Doors, Rod Stewart, Santana, ZZ Top, Yes, Paul McCartney & Wings, Neil Diamond, Elton John, U2, and Prince.
The long term tenants of the Cow Palace include the Grand National Rodeo, Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus, the San Francisco Sport & Boat Show, the Golden Gate Kennel Club Dog Show, and Disney on Ice.
Beginning October 2012, The San Francisco Bulls will call the Cow Palace home. The Bulls become the 21st team in the premiere 'AA' hockey league, which serves as the primary developmental league for the National Hockey League and the American Hockey League.