Brooklyn's third-oldest park is named for Charles Carroll (1737-1832), an American Revolutionary leader and signer of the Declaration of Independence, for whom Carroll Street is also named. He served in the Continental Congress from 1776-78 and represented Maryland in the Senate from 1789-92. Carroll, whose family emigrated to the Maryland colony from Ireland, is the only Roman Catholic to have signed the Declaration of Independence.
The park originated in the late 1840s as a private community garden shortly after much of the neighborhood, which now comprises the Carroll Gardens Historical District, was laid out by surveyor Richard Butt. The land was acquired for use as a public park by the City of Brooklyn in 1853. It was first improved around 1870 when a drainage system was installed, a children's playground was built, and new walks were laid. Subsequent renovations in the 1890s, 1930s, and 1960s introduced new design features and playgrounds, which increased opportunities for active recreation.
In 1994 Carroll Park underwent a $1.3 million capital reconstruction and redesign, funded by Borough President Golden. Improvements included new plantings, reorganization of the playspaces and the installation of play equipment. The historic character of the park was also restored with decorative cast iron gates and fencing that echo the fences of neighborhood brownstones and motifs on the bronze and granite Soldier and Sailors World War I Monument (1920) by sculptor Eugene H. Morahan that was conserved under the same project.
Community involvement in the programming, maintenance, and preservation of the park has been ensured by the Committee to Improve Carroll Park (first formed in 1975), in partnership with City of New York/Parks & Recreation.