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William Kent

1864-1928

John Muir and William Kent at Muir Woods Inn circa 1909
  • Businessman, Rancher, Philanthropist and U.S. Congressman.
  • Donor of Muir Woods National Monument.
  • William Kent and his wife, Elizabeth Thacher Kent, bought 295 acres along Redwood Creek in Marin County for $45,000 in 1905. To protect the beautiful stands of redwoods located there, the Kents donated the land to the United States Federal Government. In 1908, President Theodore Roosevelt declared the donated land Muir Woods National Monument. Roosevelt had suggested naming the area after Kent, but the Kents requested that it be named for conservationist John Muir.
  • John Muir's comment on the establishment of Muir Woods National Monument: "This is the best tree-lovers monument that could possibly be found in all the forests of the world."
  • When serving as a U.S. Congressman (1911-1917), Kent disagreed with Muir on the fate of Hetch Hetchy Valley, but later co-introduced legislation establishing the National Park Service, which passed Congress in 1916.
Photo of John Muir (left) and William Kent at Muir Woods Inn, circa 1909, courtesy Muir Woods National Park Service Collections.



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