Judge Herbert O. and Lillian S. Bowers
by Jim Hall

Bowers School is named to honor both Herbert O. Bowers, the first judge in the Town of Manchester, and his wife, Lillian.

Born in Manchester in 1867, Herbert Bowers taught school for two years in East Hartford to save money for college, and graduated from Yale in 1892 and in 1895 graduated from Yale Law School. He thereupon began his law practice in Manchester. Active in local and state politics, he was elected to represent Manchester in the General Assembly for two successive sessions; he served as the Town Counsel for four terms; and as Tree Warden and as a member of the Park Board. He also served on the Boards of several banks and businesses in town.

The town schools, however, were of particular interest to him. For over 30 years he was a member of the Board of School Visitors and was Secretary of the School Board. According to Bowers's son Sherwood, as related in a story in "Old Manchester II: The Storytellers," ...

"Bowers School is named after my father and mother, both of whom, at different times, were chairmen of the Manchester Board of Education. In my father's day, it was known as the Board of School Visitors. That was what the state statutes allowed it to be called. After his death, my mother [Lillian, 1869-1954] was persuaded to run for the Board of Education and she served for several terms. The last term she was on, I think she was chairman. Ed. note: An August 24, 1941 Hartford Courant article reports that Lillian Bowers served on the Board for nearly ten years, and was its first female chairman. Their [active and long-standing] interest in education gained them the honor of having a new school named after them."

Lillian Bowers graduated from Smith College in 1892. She and Herbert had two sons, one of whom was mayor of Manchester at the time of her death at the age of 85.