You may not be able to tell by looking at it now, but this park has its roots in a women’s social reform movement of the early 20th century. Denied full access to the political process, women joined together in clubs as a way to influence public policy. Motivated by the believe that beautifying the city would be a cure for many social problems, numerous flower and horticulture clubs formed. The clubs tended flower gardens in parks and other public areas around the city for many years but in 1932 the parks department proposed converting this unused park land into a botanical garden that would provide plants and flowers that could be transplanted to parks all around the city. Although a few plots of flowers were planted, the grand plan for the garden was never put into action because it was decided to locate the botanical garden in Will Rogers Park, where the clubs eventually had a building of their own.
The land for this park was originally the Land Run homestead of Henry C. Shaw, a former missionary and pioneer Episcopal priest, and his brother Israel. It became part of the parks system when the surrounding Shaw’s Heights neighborhood was created, though it never bore the Shaw name. It was formally named Flower Garden Park in 1932.