The park was established in 1895, with a total of seventy five acres purchased by the City of Hartford, as well as a partial lease from the Water Department. Riverside was the second park, after Bushnell, to be purchased through the issuance of a city bond. The park was designed by the Olmsted Brothers. Park Superintendent Theodore Wirth developed a design for the southern portion of the park in 1904, which called for the development of additional active recreation equipment from the wading pool to the south end of the park. The Park was officially named Riverside Park in March of 1897 by the Park Board and was opened to the public on September 3, 1898.