Mitchell Park was once part of the vibrant Mitchell School campus. When the Tempe Elementary School District closed Mitchell School along with Ward and Rural schools in the 1980s, the City moved to acquire the school for both a park site and future building use.
The park and school bear the name of one of Tempe's most prominent citizens, William W. Mitchell. William Mitchell is the grandfather of Harry Mitchell and great-grandfather of current Mayor Mark Mitchell. William Mitchell was born in Johnson County, Illinois in 1880. He grew up in the area and later became a school teacher in the county. Looking for adventure, he moved to Mesa, Arizona where he oversaw the publication of a local newspaper.