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J. Horace McFarland

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J. Horace McFarland
John Horace McFarland

(1859-09-29)September 29, 1859
McAlisterville, Pennsylvania, U.S.
DiedOctober 2, 1948(1948-10-02) (aged 89)
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Occupation(s)Businessman, writer
Lydis S. Walters
(m. 1884)
ChildrenRobert B. McFarland (Born 16 July 1888), Helen L. McFarland (Born 11 July 1885)

John Horace McFarland (1859–1948) was an American businessman and writer. He was a leading proponent of the "City Beautiful Movement" in the United States.


J. Horace McFarland was born in McAlisterville, Pennsylvania on September 24, 1859, the son of Union Army colonel George F. McFarland.[1] He lived and worked most of his adult life in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, residing at an estate he named Breeze Hill in the Bellevue Park area of the city. At the estate, McFarland established gardens that featured numerous trees, vegetables, and, most prominently, roses. Photos of his famous gardens are held in the Smithsonian Institution.

He married Lydis S. Walters on May 22, 1884, and they had two children.[1]

McFarland served as president of the American Civic Association (ACA) from 1904 to 1924 and the American Rose Society. McFarland and the ACA were a major force promoting civic improvement, environmental conservation, and beautification in the United States.[2] McFarland helped organize the defense of Niagara Falls from development efforts by power companies, worked to protect Yosemite National Park with the famous environmental preservationist John Muir, who has been hailed as the father of the National Park Service.[3]

McFarland died in Harrisburg on October 2, 1948, and was buried at Harrisburg Cemetery.[4]

He is remembered for a statement at the first Conference of Governors held at the White House, Washington D.C., in 1908:

It is the love of country that has lighted and that keeps glowing the holy fire of patriotism.[5]

His papers are held at the Pennsylvania State Archives.[6]


  1. ^ a b Montgomery, Thomas Lynch, ed. (1924). Encyclopedia of Pennsylvania Biography. Vol. XV. Lewis Historical Publishing Company. pp. 207–208. Retrieved June 14, 2023 – via Google Books.
  2. ^ Chambliss, Julian C. "Perfecting Space: J. Horace McFarland and the American Civic Association." Pennsylvania History: A Journal of Mid-Atlantic Studies 77, no. 4 (2010): 486-497.
  3. ^ J. Horace McFarland, Cornelius Amory Pugsley Gold Medal Award, 1937 Archived October 10, 2013, at the Wayback Machine American Academy of Park and Recreation Administration, (Accessed January 10, 2012)
  4. ^ "Funeral Rites for Dr. McFarland Wednesday at 2". The Evening News. Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. October 4, 1948. pp. 1, 26. Retrieved June 14, 2023 – via Newspapers.com.
  5. ^ Address by J. Horace McFarland, Proceedings of a conference of Governors in the White House, Washington, D.C., May 13-15, 1908. (Accessed January 8, 2012)
  6. ^ "Manuscript Group 85 J. Horace McFarland Papers". Pannsylvania State Archives. Retrieved April 16, 2015.