Good works

To the Editor:

I write here as one Mount Desert Island citizen in solidarity with the spirit and specific recommendation of the Islander’s recent editorial proposing that John D. Rockefeller Jr. be honored for his fundamental contributions to Acadia National Park by gracing with his family name a modest promontory along the Penobscot South Ridge Trail that overlooks Little Long Pond and the 1,000 acres now conserved by the Land and Garden Preserve through the visionary generosity of the Rockefeller family. Name this promontory, perhaps, the Rockefeller Vista.

President Charles Eliot and George B. Dorr enlisted John D. Rockefeller Jr. to Acadian conservation soon after he settled in Seal Harbor in 1910. For the next half century, he invested passionate care in the exquisitely orchestrated acquisition, restrained development, and timely donation of much of the land we love as Acadia National Park.

The visiting world knows these good works through the iconic carriage roads and park loop motor road over which millions have passed in Acadia’s first century. They call our island and park America’s favorite place.

We who are privileged to know Acadia through all four seasons experience the Rockefeller legacy in vistas both grand and intimate. Stride south through the Tumbledown on a bright autumn morning as Jordan Pond and the Gulf of Maine beyond bathe you in blue and gold. Ski to the Waterfall Bridge in sunny February to listen for the ring of water surging under ice.

We may fairly wonder if such gifts were anticipated by the man whose generosity and meticulous planning made them possible. Both family and biographers have speculated that John D. Rockefeller Jr. was never happier than when out in Acadia with engineers, architects and skilled workmen conceiving and constructing the carriage roads.

Remember him with a grateful smile as the great man who, when he chose to be among the road crews without hat or tie, would encourage the laborers to address him as “Mr. Junior.”

The Islander leads us toward an appropriate acknowledgment of the man and family whose vision and good works grace our place and our lives.

Jack Russell

Mount Desert

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