Designed by landscape architect Lawrence Halprin, the plaza was built as part of the 1976 U.S. Bicentennial Celebration to commemorate the city's founding as the Camp Worth military post in 1849.
The plaza is designed to take advantage of its river bluff location; its highest point is a raised overlook with views of the river below. Overall it is an intimate space composed of interconnected terraced concrete pathways, geometric rooms, and flowing water channels. As with many of Halprin’s projects, the design focuses on the visitor's procession and experience passing through the outdoor rooms. Water flows from the upper portion of the site, connecting to larger water features, including waterfalls and water walls. Plantings include live oaks and lawn. The design incorporates several gestures that acknowledge the historic Camp Worth, including a water wall with a representation of the original plan of the fort and another wall fountain featuring a raised inscription that reads: "Embrace the spirit and preserve the freedom which inspired those of vision and courage to shape our heritage.”
The plaza has fallen into disrepair, and the fountains have been turned off as a safety precaution. In 2007 the plaza was closed to visitors. It was listed in the National Register of Historic Places as a significant Modernist landscape in May 2010.