John D. Rockefeller Jr. was a champion and great benefactor of the National Parks and was an advocate for parks in the Eastern United States and not just the West.
On his Seal Harbor, Maine property, Rockefeller oversaw the con-struction of 45 miles of carriage roads. The roads were part of a 10,000 acre gift he made that expanded and continues to enrich Acadia National Park.
In a chest at the rear of the Homestead attic are two letters from John D. Rockefeller Jr.. The first is to Stephen Mather on his resignation as Parks Director; the second is a letter to Mrs. Mather shortly after Stephen Mather’s passing in 1930.
The eloquently expressed thoughts deserve to be read in their entirety, but to note just a sampling…
From the letter to Stephen Mather…
“…I may add that I also know, although probably in small part, how exceedingly generous you have been with your money, as well as your time, in promoting park interests. The result of all this has been that there is perhaps no other department in the national government run on so high a plane and so wholly in the interest of the public which it serves as the Park Service…”
From the letter to Mrs. Mather…
“…I feel this country owes a great debt to your husband, and as one citizen who appreciates the extent of that debt, I count it a privilege to bear testimony to my sense of obligation and
gratitude to him…people throughout the length and breadth of this land, who may not even know his name, will continue to bless their unknown benefactor for what he has brought into
their lives. I should be untrue to myself had I not given expression to these sentiments…”