||Desoto Park resides in the Ortega neighborhood (platted in 1909) of southwest Jacksonville. It was one of four circular parks created along Park Avenue (now Baltic Street) and named after New World explorers. The Ortega Elementary School opened across the street in 1923, and the park served as a school playground and neighborhood park. By 1931, ornamental piers flanked the entrance to the park, which provided amenities such as a horseshoe pitching lane, a tetherball court, a sandbox, and lighting for evening recreation. The park is named for Hernando de Soto (1496-1542), the Spaniard who explored southeast America after landing at Tampa Bay in 1539. In 1950, the Ortega Co. donated the western portion of the park to the School Board for use by the school, and dedicated the middle portion to the City for the extension of Baltic Street. And as today, the easterly one-third of the property remained a City park.