This playground honors a colonial-era farming family from the Westchester area. In 1695, Joseph and Mary Haviland bought 30 acres of land on the east bank of the Bronx River. Joseph Haviland was listed in 1703 as a trustee and freeholder of the Town of Westchester. Other Havilands appear in local records throughout the century, including an Ebenezer Haviland, farmer of Cow Neck (near present-day Grant Circle).
The land that is now Haviland Avenue was a part of the Pugsley Farm from 1770 until 1854. Pugsley Creek once crossed Haviland Avenue where it meets Virginia Avenue. The Pugsleys were major landowners in Cow Neck, which remained almost entirely rural until the 20th century. One Talman Pugsley was listed in 1794 as owning 200 acres of Cow Neck, and a section of that property became part of present-day Parkchester. As the outer boroughs were developed, it was common for entrepreneurs to confer the names of prominent local families on the new neighborhoods and streets.
This site, which serves as the schoolyard for the adjacent I.S. 125 Henry Hudson School, has been maintained jointly by Parks and the Board of Education since 1959. Haviland Playground features a blacktop baseball diamond, half basketball courts, and benches. Neighboring Blackrock Playground provides play facilities for younger children.