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Harrisburg: The City Beautiful

Mira Lloyd Dock and J. Horace McFarland

Grace Sunday School Lecture Course 1899-1900

Mira Lloyd Dock and J. Horace McFarland worked very closely on the beautification of Harrisburg. Both sent several letters back and forth on items of business as well as general correspondence. Dock and McFarland were very active in lobbying for the public park conservation, continually pitching their ideas in their own respective organizations. Avid public speakers, the two were often asked to speak at local schools and churches, like the Grace Sunday School in 1899, on a number of topics including beautification. (Grace Sunday School) Starting in 1900 with Dock's speech to the Harrisburg Board of Trade, the pair took ideas of park expansion and conservation to organizations like the Municipal League, the Harrisburg Executive Commitee, the Pennsylvania Forestry Association, and many others. (Beers 24) Extending to the state and national stage in the 1910s and 1920s, their messages were heard by the American Civic Association and National Parks Service. (McFarland 1920) Many of their letters talked about the pleasantries of Mira's gardens or the donations one or the other had made to a local resident or charity (usually of arbory or flowers). However, some point to the establishment of floral beauty like school gardens (McFarland Nov 1905) or the debate over an addition of new park land. (McFarland 1920) They also discussed placement of new green spaces, trees, and gardens in nearly every letter. McFarland especially praised their work as necessary for the health and benefit of the citizens (McFarland Sept 1905). Dock and McFarland were able to use their expertise to convince land owners to donate their space for public use and convert it into any kind of park they needed. Their commitment to the beautification and education of Harrisburg is evident in their constant correspondence throughout the City Beautiful movement. 

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

Grace Sunday School. "Grace Sunday School Lecture Course-1899-1900". Advertisment. J. Horace McFarland Co., Printers. 1899.

McFarland, J. Horace. J. Horace McFarland to Mira Lloyd Dock. November 28, 1905. Pennsylvania State Archives

McFarland, J. Horace. J. Horace McFarland to Mira Lloyd Dock. September 26, 1905. Pennsylvania State Archives

McFarland, J. Horace. J. Horace McFarland to Mira Lloyd Dock. 1920. Pennsylvania State Archives

Mira Lloyd Dock and J. Horace McFarland