50 years later: Meet the man who helped build Arrowhead Stadium

Walter Keating
Posted at 10:00 AM, Nov 06, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-07 10:16:02-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — After 50 years, Walter Keating has watched only a handful of Kansas City Chiefs games inside GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium.

There was a time that Keating spent nearly every day at the stadium for over one year.

"'Hey Walt, you ready to go to work?' Yeah. I guess that's when they were getting ready to work on the stadium," Keating said recalling his conversations from the past. "He said, 'How would you like to work on the stadium?' What? And that's about the way it started."

For 50 years, Chiefs Kingdom has cheered on the team at Arrowhead Stadium. It opened in 1972 and Keating is one of the crew members who helped build it.

"Now, it's really enjoyable and I thought 'Oh my God, I worked there.' And here it is 50 years later," he said. "And I can't remember sometimes what I've done and who I've worked with and everything else, because you get past 39, I guess, I don't know."

As Keating looked back at old photos during that time, he was nearly 39 years old at the time of the build. His job was the framework and glasswork throughout the stadium.

"The main part was the VIP upstairs there," Keating said. "That was the biggest."

As Keating doesn't recall specifics from that time, he does remember the amount of stress he was under.

"Trying to remember, we had to measure up stuff and I hope I got the measurements right, because I'd hate to have them get the framework," he said. "We've got to get the glass measurements and get the wrong size glass that wouldn't fit in the framework."

While he helped build the loudest stadium in the world, Keating also left his mark on it.

"Some place in that stadium on one of the beams, a buddy of mine, we put our initials," he said.

On Aug. 12, 1972, the first game was held at Arrowhead. The Chiefs defeated the St. Louis Cardinals 24-14 and Keating was there to witness it

"All the guys had hardhats on, all the workers sat up on that upper level and watched the first ball game," Keating said.

Looking back on it all, Keating said there's only one thing he'd change about the stadium build.

"They should have put a top on it," he said. "Really when we were working there, we'd talk about it — Why don't the guys get together and tell them to put a top on it while they're doing the rest of that work?"

As for what's next, the Chiefs are studying options for the next 50 years.