This park was the site of a water well and pumping station owned by the city's Water Department. A pumphouse was present on the property with a small, round water tower attached. (The tower was sometimes referred to as a "silo"; its round shape resembled a silo.) The pumping station occupied only a small portion in the northwestern part of the property a. A playground was developed on the water department property during the Depression by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) and the National Youth Administration (NYA) b.
In 1964, the property was transferred to the Park Department. "On August 12, 1964, the Board of Park Commissioners officially accepted the Gray Street pumping station property known to us as Tower Park playground. … The Board of Park Commissioners have also agreed that the silo should be removed to a point level with the square building attached to the silo. When improved and decorated this will be a neat appearing building and useful to recreation program work." c. Tower Park was dedicated on April 20, 1965. d.
The old pumping station was renovated in 1967 for use as a shelter and the playground was improved. e, f. The playground equipment was updated again in 1981.g In 1990, parents of children attending Elmore School (just across Ethel Street from the park) successfully campaigned to improve the park again h; this work was completed in 1993 and included removing the renovated shelter building. i
In 1979, Donald Smith proposed renaming Tower Park in honor of Dewey Decker because the idea for the park "originated by Mr. Dewey E. Decker at the time that he was the council representative of the 14th. Ward". Smith enclosed a clipping from the Green Bay Press-Gazette which said, "Promotion of the playground is the result of several months' effort by Councilman Dewey Decker". j This suggestion was turned down on the basis of a city policy which required that schoolchildren be invited to submit suggestions in an organized contest and also that persons so honored should no longer be living. k
In 1999, the city council approved naming the park for Henry S. Atkinson. l Atkinson had lived in the family home on Velp Avenue just up Gray Street from the park. However, the first proposals to honor Atkinson were for other locations, including Fort Howard Park farther to the east. Atkinson was well known for his interest in youth and had served as President of the Green Bay School Board. m n