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Acadia National Park, February 26, 1919

February 26, 2013 by  

Acadia National Park, February 26, 1919, Acadia National Park is a National Park located in the U.S. state of Maine. It reserves much of Mount Desert Island, and associated smaller islands, off the Atlantic coast. Originally created as Lafayette National Park in 1919, the oldest National Park east of the Mississippi River, it was renamed Acadia in 1929.
The area first was inhabited by the Wabanaki people.

In the fall of 1604, Samuel de Champlain observed a high-notched island composed of seven or eight mountains rising to bare-rock summits from slopes of birch, fir, and pine. Over four centuries later, the area remains essentially the same.

The landscape architect Charles Eliot is credited with the idea for the park. George B. Dorr, called the “father of Acadia,” along with Charles’s father Charles W., the president of Harvard, supported the idea both through donations of land and through advocacy at the state and federal levels. It first attained federal status when President Woodrow Wilson, established it as Sieur de Monts National Monument on July 8, 1916, administered by the National Park Service. On February 26, 1919, it became a national park, with the name Lafayette National Park in honor of the Marquis de Lafayette, an influential French supporter of the American Revolution. The park’s name was changed to Acadia National Park on January 19, 1929.

From 1915 to 1933, the wealthy philanthropist John D. Rockefeller, Jr. financed, designed, and directed the construction of a network of carriage trails throughout the park. He sponsored the landscape architect Beatrix Farrand, with the nearby family summer home Reef Point Estate, to design the planting plans for the subtle carriage roads at the Park (c.1930). The network encompassed over 50 miles (80 km) of gravel carriage trails, 17 granite bridges, and two gate lodges, almost all of which are still maintained and in use today. Cut granite stones placed along the edges of the carriage roads act as guard rails of sort and are locally known as “coping stones” to help visitors cope with the steep edges. They are also fondly called “Rockefeller’s teeth”.

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