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Harrisburg: The City Beautiful

J. Horace McFarland

Letter from McFarland to Dock

McFarland writes to Dock in 1905 about the speech he is about to make and the large influence she has had on the movement.

J. Horace McFarland is without doubt one of the main leaders of the City Beautiful Movement. Beers writes in his book, City Contented, City Discontented, that City Beautiful Movement probably wouldn’t have happened without McFarland (Beers 2011). J. Horace McFarland and one of the other reformers, Mira Lloyd Dock, were friends before they began this joint venture for the improvement of Harrisburg. At the Pennsylvania State Archives the personal correspondences of both McFarland and Dock are filled with letters to each other. Every letter is congenial, respectful, and purposeful. McFarland consulted with Dock on many points of the improvement plans and Dock offered much advice and counsel. 

Gift to McFarland

A book given by other leaders as a show of appreciation McFarland for his 20 years of service as A.C.A. president.

Another example of the deep connectedness between the reformers is the commemorative gift given to McFarland at the end of his 20 years of presidency of the American Civic Association, a national organization. The book is a collection of fifty-six notes of appreciation for his service. Familiar names appear such as Henry S. McCormick, George Peabody, William C. Gregg, Henry S. Drinker, Frederick Law Olmsted, Vance McCormick, Cifford Pinchot, and Warren H. Manning among others.

Furthermore, many reformers were involved in improvement organizations like the Harrisburg League for Municipal Improvements and the Board of Trade. McFarland served as the secretary for the Municipal League for 45 years. McCormick was involved in the Municipal League as well. 

Beers, Paul. 2012. City Contented, City Discontented: A History of Modern Harrisburg. Edited by Michael Barton. 1st Edition edition. State College, PA: Midtown Scholar Press.


J. Horace McFarland