In 1920, Jack Spaulding proposed an athletics stadium for San Francisco, seating 50,000. Many business leaders in the city backed him, as it would keep San Francisco level with other cities with large stadiums. Areas under consideration for the stadium were 7th & Harrison Streets, Ocean Shore, and the Central Park grounds.
In 1922, the San Francisco Park Commission accepted a $100,000 gift from the estate of Mary Kezar to build a memorial in honor of her mother and uncles, who were pioneers in the area. After the City and County of San Francisco appropriated an additional $200,000, the stadium was built in a year. Dedication ceremonies were on May 2, 1925, and featured a two-mile (3.2 km) footrace between Ville Ritola and Paavo Nurmi of Finland, two of the great runners of the era. A little over a month later, the new stadium hosted the USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships.