Acadia National Park History & Museums

History & Musuems

Traveling to Acadia National Park affords you the opportunity to witness and experience all the natural wonder that has, for centuries, attracted first, Native Americans (early 1600’s), then white settlers (1844), and finally an array of summer visitors. The archeological discoveries in Acadia National Park demonstrate that this area of the United States has been inhabited for the past 5000 years.

History of Acadia National Park in the Twentieth Century

  • 1901 - Worried about the possible cutting of lumber on Mount Desert Island, the summer residents of the Island set up a public land trust in 1901. Their intention was to protect their summer paradise from unchecked development.
  • 1919 - In 1919, the area became the first National Park east of the Mississippi River. At that time, Acadia was much smaller, encompassing a limited area around Cadillac Mountain. From 1919 to 1929, Acadia nearly doubled in size. During that time, the Park acquired Schoodic Peninsula. It was also at this time that Acadia received it current name. Prior to this, it was known as Lafayette National Park.
  • Contributions of Land - Land continued to be donated, but the largest parcel came from John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Because Rockefeller was concerned about automobiles ruining the pristine environment of the park, he not only donated over 10,000 acres to Acadia, he financed and closely supervised the building of 47 miles of cracked-stone single lane road designed for horse and carriage travel. These cobble stone roads today provide an avenue for horses, hikers, bicyclists and when the snow falls – cross-country skiers.
  • Acadia (French word for “heaven on earth” National Park today - Acadia National Park is one of the smallest National Parks, but is one of the most frequently visited National Parks by travelers from all over the world.

Share Your Thoughts