Captain Frederick W. Bruce, for whom Bruce Park is named, was born in New Hampshire in 1856. In 1869 young Bruce was sent to live with his uncle Elisha Bruce in St. Augustine, Florida, but that same year, at age 13, ran away to sea, an adventure that would take him to ports in Cuba, Mexico, and other parts of the Caribbean. After two years Bruce returned to New Hampshire where he studied civil engineering and worked as a sailor during the summers. He also attended navigation school in Boston, Massachusetts, and rose to the rank of captain. He married Clara Paddleford in 1877, and his daughter Louise was born in 1878.
Hoping that warm Florida winters would improve the failing health of his mother, the Bruce family moved to St. Augustine in 1884. There Bruce provided surveying and site work services for construction projects in St. Augustine, including the Flagler Hotel. Employed by the Corps of Engineers, he served as fort keeper at Fort Mason (now Castillo de San Marcos) from 1885 to 1888. In 1888, Bruce moved to Mayport, Florida, to oversee the construction of the jetties. He then moved to South Jacksonville in 1906, and retired from the Corps in 1913 to become the Chief Engineer for the Jacksonville Board of Port Commissioners, where he would supervise the building of new municipal docks.
Bruce moved to Arlington in 1912, and along with H.L. Sprinkle, George Spaulding, and John Alderman, founded the Alderman Realty Company, which would develop the subdivisions Arlington Heights, Arlington Heights Addition and Alderman Farms. These men and others would organize the Arlington Community Club, which served as the governing organization for the Arlington communities, and among other projects, arranged for funding for a modern grammar school, a public water works, and a bridge across the Arlington River. Bruce and Sprinkle donated the land for a community ball park in 1924.
Bruce died in his Arlington residence in 1932. This Bruce Park was dedicated in 1955 to Frederick W. Bruce and Clara P. Bruce, and their descendants.