Horace McFarland PA conservation figure

J. Horace McFarland

September 29, 1859 - October 2, 1948

J. Horace McFarland was a leading proponent of the City Beautiful Movement in the United States. His civic involvement began in 1891 in Harrisburg when the Susquehanna River and city streets were filled with garbage and ashes. McFarland worked tirelessly to create policies to bring about urban parks, new sewage systems, and filtered water to improve Pennsylvania’s state capital.

McFarland served as president of the American Civic Association (ACA) from 1904 to 1924. McFarland and the ACA were a major national force promoting civic improvement, environmental conservation, and beautification. McFarland helped organize the defense of Niagara Falls from development efforts by power companies and worked to protect Yosemite National Park with John Muir. McFarland was a staunch advocate for the preservation of the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Yosemite, the Everglades, and the Glacier Bay and Jackson Hole National Monument and the establishment of the National Park Service.

He personally visited over 500 U.S. cities to guide local action for improvement. McFarland did not want to simply pass laws to bring about change, but rather believed in using education and persuasion to make citizens want to improve their surroundings.