J. Pearce Mitchell Park, built in 1957, was one of the first of a new type of community park based on active recreation for leisure living. The design for this park and its playground served as important examples for many other parks and playgrounds in the United States and aboard during the decades to follow. The noteworthy plan of Mitchell Park came from landscape architect Robert Royston, whose innovative design solutions have given the park its special character.
The park is named after J. Pearce Mitchell (1880-1973), a longtime City Council member, Mayor, Stanford University Registrar and chemistry professor.
By 1998, many elements in the park, particularly the "tot play area." required renovation. The Palo Alto City Council recognized the importance of Mitchell Park as a community resource and funded three phases of park renovation between 2000 and 2007.