Bowman Park, just north of downtown Three Rivers, is a quiet city park with a playground and a beautiful open space that takes up a full city block.

But unlike almost any other city park across America, it also has a listing on FindAGrave. That's because Bowman Park, more correctly Bowman Memorial Park is actually a cemetery.

Off in a quiet corner of the park is a gravestone and burial site of Caroline Fellows Bowman Winn. Winn was the daughter-in-law of city father John Bowman, who gave the land to the government.

Because the deed with the city required the park to remain a cemetery, Caroline Winn spends her eternal rest alone on the grounds.

From Cemetery to Park

Bowman Park began its public life as a cemetery for the Bowman family and early area settlers. The land was part of a grant given to John Bowman by the federal government. Bowman reserved a block of that plat for a cemetery. Following the Civil War the land was given to the city of Three Rivers with the agreement that it would always remain a cemetery or it would revert back to the heirs of the Bowman family.

Here's where it gets tricky. The city at some point removed all of the bodies from the original Bowman cemetery to Riverside Cemetery on the outskirts of town. But a cemetery isn't a cemetery with any burials, so Caroline Winn and her gravestone were left behind.

Because the deed with the city required the park to remain a cemetery, Caroline Winn spends her eternal rest alone on the grounds.

Caroline Winn Grave
Eric Meier/TSM
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Bowman Park Today

Today Bowman Cemetery takes up a full city block bordered on the east and west by Main and East Streets and north to south by Hoffman and Cushman Streets.

The city's Civil War monument is also found in the park, a transplant from elsewhere in Three Rivers.

The Civil War Memorial Statue in the middle of the park was dedicated to the soldiers of the Michigan 11th and all who fought in the Civil War. It was first erected downtown at Main and Michigan in 1893, but was moved to Bowman Park in 1928.

While the park is attended to by the city's public works, volunteer groups also spend their time ensuring the continued beauty of the land as evidenced by this shared on the Three Rivers Area Information Facebook group recently.

The Three Rivers Club of Little Gardens removed overgrown bushes in the corner garden.
Today the Club members raked in new topsoil, designed and planted new bushes and perennials. We are excited to watch them grow and add to the beauty of the park. Please stroll or drive by and enjoy throughout the year. We are happy to serve our community.
Three Rivers is one of Michigan's great small cities. Here's our list of the best places to live in the state:

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On the list, there's a robust mix of offerings from great schools and nightlife to high walkability and public parks. Some areas have enjoyed rapid growth thanks to new businesses moving to the area, while others offer glimpses into area history with well-preserved architecture and museums. Keep reading to see if your hometown made the list.

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