Newspaper publisher William Rockhill Nelson, his wife, Ida, and the Southmoreland Land Company donated property for a public street to the City of Westport in 1891. Nelson’s home, Oak Manor, was located just east of the property on the location where the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art resides today. The specific property was located in the South Moreland Addition.
In 1897, the City of Westport became part of the City of Kansas City, and in 1899, the property in the South Moreland Addition was transferred to the control of the Board of Park Commissioners and became part of the Kansas City park system. The new park was called Southmoreland Park. Some of the stone walls surrounding the park have been there around 100 years and more. A tennis court constructed in 1912 was removed in 1943.
Southmoreland Park is the summer home of the annual Heart of America Shakespeare Festival.