Although Broadway Avenue was one of the busiest streets in Oklahoma City, this important thoroughfare only extended from Downtown to NW 10 before entering Broadway Circle where the streetcars turned. For many years the city limits only went as far as NW 16, but by the late 1920s the city had grown far beyond. To alleviate traffic and to give easier access to Downtown for the north part of the city, planning officials widened Broadway and extended it from NW 10 to NW 23 by removing an alley between two streets (today’s Broadway Place and Broadway Drive) and routing Broadway through it. This created three rectangular strips of land on the east side of Broadway that were converted into ornamental greenspace in this former industrial area. Originally the park was a few feet higher than the street because the highway crew used dirt from road grading to fill in the new park area. In the 1940s, WPA workers leveled the park back down to street level and used the dirt to fill in areas where streetcar rails were removed.
After the completion of the project in 1929 the city council named the new long, skinny park after Archie Otto Campbell, the chairman of the Planning Commission. A. O. Campbell was a building contractor and civic leader who often worked with architect Solomon Layton to build some of the city’s landmark buildings, including Central High School and the Hightower Building.
Campbell Park had always been more of an ornamental park and not frequently visited because it’s not in a residential area. However, 21st century developments altered the park’s popularity. The USS Oklahoma anchor commemorating the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor was relocated from Downtown in 2006. And as the area around it became a creative district it was renamed Campbell Art Park in 2017. In cooperation with Oklahoma Contemporary, the new focus for the park transformed it into a three-block long outdoor art gallery and the park quickly became a destination for the local arts scene.