The park is named for Potter Palmer (1826–1902), a successful businessman and real estate investor concerned with the development of Chicago. Palmer was responsible for reclaiming the acres of swampland north of the city's business district, which were developed into the Lake Shore Drive area. He built the original baseball field for the Cubs' predecessor, the Chicago White Stockings, and built the Palmer House Hotel. Palmer Park was created in 1904 by the South Park Commission. Under the guidance of superintendent J. Frank Foster, the commission opened ten new neighborhood parks, including Palmer Park, in an effort to create breathing space and recreational areas in the city's crowded tenement districts. These parks were built by Olmsted Brothers landscape architects and D.H. Burnham and Co. architects.