Acadia's Carriage Roads by Robert Thayer

By Robert Thayer

The 3rd name within the Acadia nationwide Park consultant sequence, Acadia's Carriage Roads covers the background, geology, and biology of the world. It contains useful suggestion and maps to assist viewers get the main from their excursions of the roads, no matter if walking, by way of bicycle, or on cross-country skis. With their work-of-art stone bridges, those crushed-rock carriage roads — the results of a long time of attempt by way of philanthropist John D. Rockefeller Jr. — are identified during the global for his or her good looks.

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Rockefeller Jr. John D. Rockefeller Jr. in his forties (circa 1915). Acadia is unique among national parks in that it was established with the gifts of private donors, rather than by the preservation of public lands. In 1901 Charles Eliot, the president of Harvard College; George Dorr; and other summer residents of Mount Desert Island formed the Hancock County Trustees of Public Reservation. Their mission was to “acquire by devise, gift or purchase, and to own, arrange, hold, maintain or improve for public use land in Hancock County, Maine ...

Bicycles, however, are not allowed on this section of the carriage road. The Cobblestone Bridge was the first major structure built as part of the carriage-road system. William Welles Bosworth, a well-known New York architect who had previously done work for Rockefeller, designed it. Charles Simpson, Rockefeller’s local engineer, suggested the use of cobblestones to face the sides and line the “barrel” (exposed underside) of the bridge. Simpson felt that this feature would help the span to better fit the surroundings and blend with the boulders in the stream.

At road intersections, triangular islands of trees were often created to provide a gentle change of direction and to mask the expanse of roadway that the intersection required. The islands also provided a logical point for travelers to stop and consider the best route to their destination. Still, much of the road construction was done by hand. Although the landscape surrounding the roads was to appear natural, that did not mean untouched to Rockefeller. He believed that the roadsides should be cleared of brush and downed trees, creating a more orderly, “park-like” scene.

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