Browse Exhibits (2 total)

City Green Spaces and Conservation


During the City Beautiful movement, the residents of Harrisburg, PA spent time and effort to bring their city out of industrial decay into the form of a pristine state capitol. In the course of the city's rebirth, a huge emphasis was placed on the physical beautification of the city through the creation and preservation of public spaces such as parks, play-grounds, and open land.  

Mira Lloyd Dock and J. Horace McFarland were the most prominent supporters of improved horticulture, actively promoting it in government associations like the Executive Committee of Harrisburg and teaching it abroad through the Pennsylvania Forestry Association. They wanted to ensure that cities all over hte state understood the importance of clean public space for the health and well-being of the population. Through government purchased land and many individual donations, the industrial landscape fo Harrisburg was transformed into one that pleased locals and welcomed visitors while expanding the city territory.

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The Visionaries

The City Beautiful Movement needed help from people with a vision to pioneer the project. City elites such as Mira Lloyd Dock, J. Horace McFarland, and members of the city’s Civic Club were key players in the initiation and implementation of city reforms. Mira Lloyd Dock, a prominient city member, travelled to Europe in 1899. There, she was inspired to make improvements to her own city. In December of 1900, Dock gave a speech that would help bring City Beautiful into existence. Dock then founded the Civic Club, an organization dedicated to improving and beautifying Harrisburg. Dock’s friend and colleague, J. Horace McFarland, was secretary of the Municipal League and resided as President over the American Civic Association. His interest in plants and nature helped lead him to urban reform. The contributions of Mira Lloyd Dock, the Civic Club, and J. Horace McFarland were vital to the City Beautiful Movement. 

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