Station Park River Birch

 

In the warm and sunny morning of May 24, 2002, relatives and friends of Berkeley Bottjer gathered at Station Park to witness the planting of a tiny River Birch in her honor. Ms. Bottjer wasn’t well enough to attend, but she enjoyed seeing the pictures that afternoon. She died of cancer a few hours later, at 56.

Like her tree, Ms. Bottjer was too young. But she lived a passionate and exciting life as an architect, especially celebrated as an “urban pioneer” of Boston’s South End. There she lived for years and took the restoration of numerous townhouses to heart as a personal cause. She was known for choosing fearless colors for walls and happy mixes of antique and contemporary furnishings for rooms, bringing new life to a historical place in disrepair. She was also an avid amateur photographer, and a devoted volunteer for the Lincoln Garden Club, the Lincoln Library and the Audubon Society. Her husband, acclaimed Broadway set designer Karl Eigsti, once said, “I always told people that before I met Berkeley, I had a career. After I met her, I had a life.” Now her River Birch lives on at Station Park, as beautiful as her life.

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