In the latter half of the 1800's, James Campbell's home stood across the street from this spot, on Monument Avenue between Jefferson and St. Clair Streets. As a city council member, Campbell grew impatient with the eye sore that had developed on what is now Van Cleve Park. He envisioned a picturesque strip of land overlooking the river, but at the time the city used the property as a dumping ground. When he heard of plans to build a bakery there, Campbell realized this would be his last chance and bought the property for twenty-five dollars. With partners Richard C. Anderson and Samuel B. Smith, he deeded the land to the City of Dayton and restricted the deed to ensure that this ideal location on the river would always remain a park. Though it took sixteen years for the plan to become a reality, Van Cleve Park began its history as one of Dayton's most beautiful settings in 1892. The park was named for former Mayor John Van Cleve, perhaps to honor his efforts to beautify Dayton. Early pictures of the park, like the one above taken a few years after the park opened, show beautiful, carefully planted gardens and walking paths.