When Juan Fernando de Palacios, Governor of Nuevo Santander, New Spain, designated Laredo as a villa in 1767, he laid out a central plaza as an integral part of the city's plan. During the era of Spanish colonization, the plaza functioned as a place for public meetings, readings of decrees, and corrals for cattle roundups.
The land for this park was set aside in city plats by the Laredo City Council in 1870, and designated as a public plaza. From about 1900, it was known locally as Juarez Plaza, named for the organization Sociedad Mutualista Hijos de Juarez that met west of this block.
In 1931 the plaza was renamed Bruni Plaza in tribute to prominent Laredo citizen Antonio Mateo Bruni. Born in Italy in 1856, Bruni came to Laredo in 1877 and established a mercantile business. A civic leader, Bruni was elected to the City Council in 1886, and to the County Commission in 1894. His other enterprises included holdings in real estate and ranching. Bruni contributed to the beautification of the plaza, and after his death in 1931, his will provided funds for its care. The site continues to serve as a community gathering place.