Bowman gardens

Property Information

The Bowman Property

One of our most successful properties is the Bowman Tract, high on Mountain Road. This 3-acre parcel was donated to us by farmer Edwin Bowman with the stipulation that the land be made available to the “senior citizens” of town for purposes of gardening. With the leadership of one neighbor in particular and Joel Sekorski of the Sullivan Senior Center, there are now 75 raised beds, a large tilled plot, and a pavilion, using mostly donated materials. Master Gardeners and UCONN Extension are now involved in teaching better gardening skills to those fortunate enough to have their own little garden.

Edwin Bowman was a throwback to another day. He had a certain twang to his voice. You don’t hear people speak like that anymore. As a child, he attended the one-room schoolhouse in Newfield. Like his father before him, Bowman was a student of local history and volunteered much of his time tending to the Newfield Cemetery. 

Had he chosen to do so, Bowman would have made a decent electrical engineer, for he devised his own system of providing electricity to his farm. Behind his barns, he erected a windmill for charging batteries. Those batteries provided all the power for his place, from running the milk machines, electrifying fences, pumping water, and illuminating the house. He never even bothered having power hooked up to his home. Until he had to.

Donation Made After Bowman’s Accident

One day Edwin was putting up hay and there was an accident. No one knows if he fell down or if a bale of hay fell on him, but in any case, Edwin broke his neck and would never walk or use his arms again. He kept his home as long as he could, but to pay his medical expenses he was forced to sell most of his property. This led to a couple of things. First, some very nice homes went up and a good neighborhood was established. Second, since he was a farmer, he wanted some of his land to stay in agriculture. So he donated land to Heritage Land Preservation Trust to provide gardens for the senior citizens of the town.

Thanks to the efforts of a neighbor, Rich Boulli, who was himself the son of a local farmer, these gardens are thriving. Boulli had a vision and marshaled volunteers to make Bowman Gardens a success. There are now several dozen raised beds that are much in demand. A pavilion, known as Boulli’s Castle, has been erected by the students of Oliver Wolcott Technical School, using donated materials. There is even electric power, a dependable drilled well, a garden shed, and a meandering trail built as an Eagle Scout project.

Edwin would never have imagined his wishes would have turned out so well.

The Bowman Gardens are on Mountain Road, about two miles north of West Torrington.

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