Ernest Bowditch (1850-1918) was born in Brookline and was a prominent Boston landscape architect with offices in Boston, New York, and Cleveland. He became one of the leading landscape architects of the 19th century, designing more than 2,500 projects. As a descendent of a prominent Salem family, he had access to contacts in some of the country’s wealthiest communities. His work includes designs for Tuxedo Park, New York (1885), the park system for Cleveland, and the grounds of the Cornelius Vanderbilt Estate in Newport, The Breakers.
In Lowell, Bowditch designed the original upper portion of Rogers Fort Hill Park and is characteristic of his work in the use of curving paths, large rugged spaces, and an inclination for a naturalistic quality. The upper portion of the park was completed in 1886 and included two 13 foot tall granite columns that marked its entrance and two carriage drives to the summit. The natural feeling of the plantings, the rocky outcrops, and rough terrain were popular elements of the picturesque style. The more formal “lower park” was completed between 1904 and 1911 according to plans developed by the Olmsted firm.
Bowditch was also responsible for the original 1910 plan for Lowell’s Shedd Park.