Van Cleve Park, at 15th and Rollins Avenues, was established in 1890 as the Second Ward Park. It was renamed in 1895 to honor Civil War General Horatio Van Cleve and his wife Charlotte Ouisconsin Van Cleve, a civic leader and chronicler of pioneer life at Fort Snelling and in Minnesota. The park was expanded and a new community center built in 1969. The South East Como Improvement Association devoted significant Neighborhood Revitalization Program funds for further renovations in 2001.
The original 7 acres (or 2 blocks) of Van Cleve Park was acquired in 1890 for $75,000. A skating rink with a warming house was provided in that first winter of 1890-1891.
On May 5, 1893 the Committee on Nomenclature recommended “that Second Ward Park be designated as VanCleve Park. This in honor of both Gen. VanCleve and Mrs. Charlotte O. VanCleve, each of whom are illustriously identified with the early history of Minneapolis.”
Over a century of changes at Van Cleve Park from annual reports and proceedings of the Board of Commissioners
"Minneapolis Park System (1883-1944) Retrospective Glimpses into the history of the Board of Park Commissioners of Minneapolis, Minnesota and the city's park, parkway, and playground system" by Theodore Wirth; presented at the Annual Meeting of the Board of Park Commissioners on July 16, 1945
Van Cleve Park history from "Parks, Lakes, Trails and So Much More: An Overview of the Histories of MPRB Properties" by David C. Smith (* note -- there's much more to the 1969-70 expansion and the 1999-2000 upgrading of Van Cleve Park than this report indicates)
"Van Cleve Community Park: history of planning for site development," by Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board, November 5, 1970