Rogers Fort Hill Park Historic District

Located in the Belvidere neighborhood, the Rogers Fort Hill Park Historic District is typical of new neighborhoods being developed in Lowell in the late 19th century for the city's growing middle class of successful executives, entrepreneurs, and professionals.  Street railways that made outlying areas easily accessible influenced development of these neighborhoods after the 1860s.  The district was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1999 and includes 205 structures.  In 2005, the Rogers Fort Hill Park Neighborhood District was created, utilizing the same National Register boundaries, requiring review by the Lowell Historic Board of demolition, partial demolition, and new construction projects.

In 1669, Wannalancit, last sachem of the Pennacook Confederacy, created a palisade atop a large hill, as was the customary design for the Native American communities.  The palisades reminded the English of forts, so the name Fort Hill was a later reference to the palisade that Wannalancit had built.
Originally part of Tewksbury, the area included the 247 acre farm of Zadock Rogers, one of three large farms occupying the area by 1805 and by 1834, the area had been annexed to Lowell from Tewksbury.  In 1883, Emily and Elizabeth Rogers, the sole survivors of the Rogers Family, sold their entire farm to a real estate development syndicate.  A large area was set aside and developed by the syndicate for a public park that was then donated to the City by Elizabeth Rogers in 1886.

The earliest occupied homes in the district date from 1886 and 1887 and include many built in the Queen Anne and Colonial Revival styles, as well as scattered examples of other period styles such as Stick, Shingle, and Tudor Revival.  The oldest building in the district pre-dates the suburban subdivision of the Rogers Farms, the Greek Revival style Zadock Rogers House (1837-38) on Rogers Street.  Architect Frederick Stickney designed several buildings in the district including the Moody School (1891), Elizabeth Rogers House (260 Rogers Street, 1892), and the Rogers Hall School Gymnasium (1912).

Rogers Fort Hill Park is the focal point of the neighborhood and is Lowell’s largest picturesquely landscaped park.  In 1886, the naturalistically designed upper portion of the park was completed according to the designs of landscape architect Ernest Bowditch.  Between 1904 and 1911, the more formally designed lower portion of the park was developed based upon plans developed by the Olmsted firm.