Charles Eliot (1859-1897) was born in Cambridge, the son of Charles W. Eliot, later President of Harvard University. He studied at Harvard’s new Department of Agriculture and Horticulture, then apprenticed with Frederick Law Olmsted from 1883-2885. In 1886, he opened his own practice as one of the country’s few landscape architects.
Tyler Park in the early 20th century
Tyler Park in ca. 1910
White Park (1888), Concord, NH
Boston Metropolitan Park System
In 1891 Eliot helped create The Trustees of Public Reservations, today The Trustees of Reservations, which worked on behalf of land conservancy. In 1893, Eliot became a partner in Olmsted, Olmsted, & Eliot. Reaching beyond Olmsted’s original “Emerald Necklace,” Eliot developed a comprehensive regional park system for Boston, the first of its kind and a model for other cities. Eliot died of spinal meningitis in 1897 while supervising the construction of Hartford’s Keney Park. In 1899, Harvard University’s landscape architecture program was established in his memory.
Tyler Park is the only park in Lowell designed and laid out exclusively by Eliot and later, the Olmsted firm. Exempted from construction in the Tyler Park Lands subdivision, the 2.74 acre park site was donated to the City by the Tyler family in 1893 for use as a public park. The park became an important selling point for homes in the area. Shortly after beginning work on the park, Eliot joined the Olmsted firm and of their parks, Tyler Park is believed to be the smallest ever built by the firm. Designed to take advantage of the site’s natural features, Eliot included paths, a central fountain, and children’s play area in his plan. After his death in 1897, John Charles Olmsted continued to supervise work on the park.