It has been proven that people living in cities with more parks and gardens have a better quality of life. Who doesn’t like to walk through a pretty green park, read a book under the shade of a tree, or sit for a few minutes and rest during the workday? Easton is lucky to have several beautiful green spaces and one of the nicest is Thompson Park, a quiet refuge among the businesses and shops in the middle of the historic downtown area.
Located at the corner of Washington and Dover Streets, Thompson Park was made possible through the generosity of Rebecca Thompson, for whom the park is named. She donated to the Town of Easton prime real estate in the heart of the historic district with the provision that it be used as a public park. Since that time, the Garden Club of the Eastern Shore (GCES) and the town of Easton have worked hand-in-hand to create and maintain the wonderful park for the enjoyment of the entire community.
The park’s original landscape designer was Elizabeth Meade Arthur who, in 1972, created the elegant, modern park architecture, bringing together clean, contemporary design elements that complement the park’s historic setting. The fountain at Thompson Park was named in honor of Betty Lipscomb, the first president of GCES. In the 90s, the original visionary design inspired renowned landscape architect Stuart Dawson to build upon the original plan, adding design elements to strengthen park focal points and enhance its welcoming beauty and function.
To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Garden Club of the Eastern Shore, members made the unanimous choice to restore and enhance Thompson Park with a focus on future park preservation through the creation of a maintenance fund. Retired landscape architect and current GCES President, Kathy Gilson, donated considerable time and talent to include the latest in horticultural, environmental, and restoration practices to enhance the beauty and functionality of the park. Her design brought to life some of the original design elements that were never fully implemented. That plan included such things as regrading and restoring the brick pathways, adding additional garden benches, accent lighting, an updated and expanded irrigation system, new plantings and sod, and an archway at the Washington/Dover Street entrance. The project also received a grant from the Department of Natural Resources. After a year of meetings, fundraising, selecting contractors and hard work, the Ribbon Cutting was held in June 2015.
Today, along with help from the Town of Easton, a volunteer committee of GCES members maintains the park, spending about four hours a week during the growing season and additional seasonal workdays. The Davey Tree Expert Company also graciously donates hours of tree work, clean up, fertilizing, insect control and lawn care each year.
The small but highly active Club also maintains the courtyard at the Academy Art Museum and has consulted on gardens at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum and Idlewild Park. For more information about the Garden Club of the Eastern Shore and beautiful Thompson Park, look for the Club on Facebook or call President Kathy Gilson at 410-226-5757.