This park honors United States Navy Seaman Second Class and City Island native Leonard Hillson Hawkins who died while serving on the U.S.S. Delaware in World War I. Hawkins was serving on the battleship Delaware while it protected American interests in Mexico during 1914 and 1915, and later when it managed to evade torpedoes during two submarine attacks while escorting merchant vessels to Norway in February of 1918. The Delaware protected two more convoys during March and April of that year, but during the trip home Hawkins died of cerebrospinal fever (spinal meningitis) on July 26, 1918. Four days later, the Delaware arrived at Hampton Roads, Virginia.
A granite monument with a bronze plaque in Hawkins Park now honors Hawkins and 104 young men from City Island who served in World War I. The Bronx American Legion Post number 156 is named after Hawkins, and its women’s auxiliary was responsible for the monument’s construction.