J. Horace McFarland
1859 - 1948
- In 1904, McFarland became the first president of the American Civic
Association, an influential national group that became instrumental
in promoting the improvement of cities and preserving America's
- McFarland fought for the establishment of the National Park Service,
worked hand-in-hand with John Muir on the preservation of Yosemite,
and to protect Niagara Falls and the Everglades, and promoted city
planning and zoning to prevent sprawl.
- J. Horace McFarland,
as President of the American Civic Association, was a major supporter
of John Muir and the Sierra Club's effort to prevent construction
of the O'Shaugnessy dam in Hetch Hetchy Valley, Yosemite.
- McFarland, though exhausted by the failed campaign to protect Hetch
Hetchy, worked to turn defeat
into a new opportunity. Within a few days, he wrote a personal letter
to President Wilson in which he paved the way for getting the president's
support for the development of a national parks system. Later, Congressman
John Raker of California, who championed the Hetch Hetchy bill, became
a sponsor of the bill proposing the creation of the National Park Service;
and Franklin K. Lane, who was city attorney for San Francisco during
the Hetch Hetchy conflict, became McFarland's ally when the
National Park Service was first proposed (by 1913 Lane was secretary
of the interior). Six years and three secretaries of the interior later,
the National Park Service was established under the 1916 Act. McFarland's
dedication to the service never waned. He served on the Department
of the Interior's Educational Advisory Board for the parks and
also as a member of the National Park Trust Fund until his death in
- McFarland was a founding leader of the American Civic Association
who took the "Harrisburg Plan" to beautify cities all across the United
States. He led the campaign to protect Niagara Falls which was
threatened by construction of hydroelectric plants that would divert
water from above the Horseshoe Falls. He was also a founder and president
of the American Rose Society, which had an international impact on
the propagation of roses.
- Former Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbit wrote, "J. Horace McFarland
was one of the first Americans to sound the call for environmental
and scenic protection. He served as a vigorous leader in formulating
and disseminating ideals of preserving - not merely conserving - natural
resources. With John Muir and a few others he stood almost alone in
stressing how "fair use" conservation strategies would not be enough
to keep America unspoiled for future generations."
- Book Reference: J.
Horace McFarland: A Thorn for Beauty by Ernest Morrison (1996).
- To learn more about J. Horace Mcfarland, see:
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