Public squares are uncommon in cities not designated as county seats and adorned by court houses. Indeed, Garland's downtown area was never laid out with a square in mind. When the city was incorporated in 1891, the present square consisted of lots and business houses. But that concept changed after the fire of 1899, which subtracted most of the wooden structures built in and around that central block. Only a few buildings, including those standing today on the outside northwest and southeast corners of the square, survived the flames.
Viewing the conflagration as an opportunity to redesign the downtown core, public spirited citizens assembled a collection to purchase newly vacated lots in the central block and donate them to the city for use as a public square. News reports of the day credit John T. Jones, a farmer, investor and later organizing president of the National Bank of Garland, with spearheading the fundraising. This deed evidences the granting transaction.