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Harrisburg: The City Beautiful

Mira Lloyd Dock and the Pennsylvania Forestry Association

Letter to Mira Lloyd Dock and Newspaper article from F.L. Bitter Letter to Mira Lloyd Dock and Newspaper article from F.L. Bitter Letter to Mira Lloyd Dock and Newspaper article from F.L. Bitter

Many of Dock's letters to members of organizations were very intimate and showed her personal investement in their people and cause. 

Mira Lloyd Dock spent much of her efforts in the city beautiful movement on the renovation of the water filtration systems in Harrisburg as well as campaigning for public park conservation and restoration. Traveling Europe for several years, she witnessed many high end cities that visually surpassed Harrisburg, representing to her the pinnacle of urban success. After returning in 1899 and speaking to the Harrisburg Board of Trade in 1900, she joined causes with J. Horace McFarland backing the Harrisburg Idea or City Beautiful Movement. (Beers 24) She was appointed to the State Forest reservation Committee in 1901 and the state government not long after, then traveled across the state for 12 years inspecting green spaces, teaching about horticulture, and even publishing her own textbook in 1929. (explorePAhistory.com) In her correspondence with F. L. Bitter, the recording secretary for the Pennsylvania Forestry Association, she relates how there is little to no concern over preserving city parks. (Dock 1) Because of the rising population, open plots were either paved over for houses or abandoned because of lack of funds. (Dock 2) This massive growth in such a small space without open space would cause the health conditions to plummit furhter. She then states, "There is then but one means avaiable for affording opportunity for fresh air, sunshine, rest and wholesome recreation which is absolutely essential to the maintenance of health in any community, via: public open spaces, such as river shores, squares, parks, parkways or play-grounds." (Dock 4). Pictures of Dock with the PA Forestry Assn. as well as many thank you letters from its members show just how active she was in the process of beautifying Harrisburg and educating its citizens on proper green space care. Her contribution encouraged the whole city to create these public spaces, maintain them, and even take up gardening at their own homes. 

Beers, Paul B., Michael Barton, Eric Robert Papenfuse, and Catherine Lawrence. 2011. City Contented, City Discontented: a History of Modern Harrisburg.

Dock, Mira Lloyd. Mira Lloyd Dock to president of Pennsylvania Forestry Association. November 10, 1906. Pennsylvania State Archive. 

“Mira Lloyd Dock Historical Marker.” ExplorePAHistory.com, 2010. http://explorepahistory.com/hmarker.php?markerId=1-A-3C4.
Mira Lloyd Dock and the Pennsylvania Forestry Association