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Charles N. Lowrie

Landscape Architect

Centurion, 1920–1939

Full Name Charles Nassau Lowrie

Born 8 April 1869 in Warriors Mark, Pennsylvania

Died 18 September 1939 in New York (Manhattan), New York

Buried Lawrenceville Cemetery, Lawrenceville, New Jersey

Proposed by Samuel Parsons and Clark G. Voorhees

Elected 6 March 1920 at age fifty

Seconder of:

Century Memorial

“It will be a sad day for the Century when all our members are noted conversationalists,” remarked a peculiarly voluble Centurion. Among the club’s best liked and best informed listeners was Charles Nassau Lowrie. Having received his degree in Civil Engineering at Yale in 1891, he was one of the first professional men to specialize in the laying out of public parks, private estates, housing developments, college grounds, and cantonments. This art or profession was once practiced chiefly by men whose primary interest was in architecture, arboriculture, or military engineering, or indeed by laymen. He was a charter member of the American Society of Landscape Architects. He served on many important city and county planning commissions in New York and New Jersey. Among the most important of his creations was the Hudson County Park System. For many years he served on its Park Commission and completed the work at Bayonne, West Hudson, North Hudson and elsewhere. Practically no work has been carried on since he left and the parks are as he planned them at their beginning more than twenty-five years ago. Straightforward and firm in his dealings, he never countenanced the least deviation from the right as he saw it. The New Jersey politicians recognized his integrity and trusted him implicitly. He was the first landscape architect to be appointed to the Art Commission of the City of New York. There, too, he adhered scrupulously to his ideals, refusing to be swayed by any individual or any influence. He was, for example, opposed to the Battery Bridge and questioned the formal scheme for City Hall Park, but gave his emphatic approval to the Washington Square plan. Close friendship never in any way influenced his decisions, a fact which his associates recognized and which earned him their complete respect for independence of judgment and courage. Highly competent men received from him generous training in his office and outside of it. Landscape architects relied upon him, not in vain, to resist effectively, with gentle firmness, any proposal that might be discreditable to their profession or a disservice to the public.

Geoffrey Parsons
1939 Century Memorials