John D. Rockefeller Jr. became interested in Mount Desert Island in the early 1900’s when he and his wife spent several summers vacationing in Bar Harbor. Their son Nelson, future vice president of the US, was born here.
In 1910 John D. Rockefeller Jr. purchased a house in Seal Harbor and over the years converted it into a large 100 room mansion known as the Eyrie. He was very interested in the preservation of land on the island and became the greatest donor of land and money to the formation of what is now Acadia National Park.
In 1913 he began building the carriage road system. Initially it was just around his property but in time his interest expanded and construction continued until the early 1940s.
In the end John D. Rockefeller Jr. built 16 stone bridges, 57 miles of carriage roads and the two gate-lodges most of which have been given to the park. Along with over 10,000 acres of land and several million dollars for various other projects including the construction of the park loop road and restoration after the 1947 fire, John D. Rockefeller Jr. has been the single greatest benefactor to Acadia National Park.
To this day the Rockefeller family continues its interest and generosity to Mount Desert Island and Acadia National Park.
The significance of the carriage road system is not simply a generous gift or an engineering feat but as a pathway into the heart of the park, where people can experience the full beauty of nature away from human influence.
Today, the carriage roads are wonderful opportunities to experience Acadia by bicycle. Your only companions may be pedestrians and horses. Find out more about biking in Acadia here.
Copyright © 2009. NaturePods. All Rights Reserved.