The stadium was originally built in 1934 with help of federal Works Progress Administration funds as Columbia Municipal Stadium. It was built to replace Melton Field, an aging wooden structure that was located where USC’s Thomas Cooper Library stands today. All USC football games except for the annual Thanksgiving matchup with Clemson had been played at Melton Field. The Clemson game was played at the South Carolina fairgrounds at the location that became Williams–Brice Stadium. Williams–Brice originally seated 17,600 people in what roughly corresponds to the lower level of the current facility’s east and west grandstand seats. In 1941, the stadium was deeded to USC and renamed Carolina Stadium.
One end of the stadium was filled in during the 1940s, turning it into a horseshoe. Capacity was almost doubled, to 34,000. More than a decade later, the other end was filled in, turning the stadium into a bowl. Capacity increased to 43,000.
The stadium is considered one of the loudest venues in the country. During a game against Florida in 2001, ESPN announcers indicated that they had to shout to hear each other’s comments inside the pressbox.