Mission & History *

“If a man had a million dollars to build a memorial, he could not have achieved what the people of Westfield have accomplished in creating the Grandmothers' Garden.” ~ Albert Steiger
Thomas H. Desmond & Associates, Landscape Architects | Malcolm G. Harding, Architect | Photo by S. Waldo Bailey

In 1930, Albert Steiger, a prominent Westfield businessman, presented Chauncey Allen Park to the City of Westfield. The park was named after his father-in-law, Chauncey Allen, from whom he had inherited the ten acre property.

By 1934, the city had created Grandmothers’ Garden in a corner of the park. An award-winning garden designed in the colonial revival style, Grandmothers’ Garden established a living memorial to Albert’s mother, affectionately known as Grandmother Steiger, who loved flowers and who shared the gifts of a gardener’s labor with her friends, her family and her community.

The residents of Westfield and surrounding towns donated the materials needed to construct the garden, and WPA volunteers helped complete construction following the plans of landscape architect Thomas Desmond of Connecticut and Elizabeth Bush Fowler, the head of the Westfield Parks Department. Fowler’s deep interest in colonial history and gardening helped guide the project to completion. The award-winning garden was featured in regional and national publications including Horticulture and Landscape Architecture; and contained a central gazebo, numerous flower beds and walkways, a wishing well, sundial, herb garden, and summer house. Elizabeth Bush Fowler lovingly supervised the maintenance of the garden until her death in 1954.

Thomas H. Desmond & Associates, Landscape Architects | Photo by S. Waldo Bailey

In 1994 the “Friends of Grandmothers’ Garden” (F.O.G.G.) was formed, a non-profit organization dedicated to the garden’s restoration based on historical documents and a design plan.

In 1995 a 75 year lease was granted by the City of Westfield to the Friends of Grandmothers’ Garden, who accepted responsibility for its maintenance and for the preservation of the Garden and Chauncey Allen Park.


*Wellington, Anne C., ”An Old-Fashioned Garden: The Story of Grandmothers’ Garden and Chauncey Allen Park of Westfield Massachusetts,” Independent thesis project, Landscape Design Program, Radcliffe Seminars, 1996.