About the Site
Acadia National Park (2)  




Mountains and Lakes

Carriage Roads

Stone Bridges


Fall Colors

Trees and Vegetation

City of Bar Harbor


John D. Rockefeller Jr.'s Carriage Roads

One of the most unique and interesting features of Acadia National Park is the network of 57 miles of gravel and crushed rock carriage roads built by John D. Rockefeller Jr. beginning in 1913. Originally conceived as a way of preventing the intrusion of the automobile into the interior of the island, these roads are designed and carefully engineered to provide easy access to many parts of the park to pedestrians and passengers in horse drawn carriages. They're built to provide especially outstanding views of park features, from wide angle panoramas to intimate views of forests and lakes, while having a minimal impact on the visual integrity of the park. They provide an excellent opportunity for hiking, running, biking, and cross-country skiing in the winter.

The character of the carriage roads can be seen in the picture below. Visible is the smooth, even surface of the road as well as the "coping stones" which provide an edge along much of the roads.

Below is a gate along the road, which once served as an entrance to the system.

This picture shows the intersection of two roads along the edge of Eagle Lake, displaying the rustic signs mounted on cedar posts which provide directions and mileage and exist at every intersection.

The place of roads built by man in a natural area like a national park has always been controversial, and Acadia and its carriage roads are no exception. But these roads are so carefully built, and their effect on the environment so precisely thought out, that they seem to diminish the park experience less here even for the visitor who ordinarily avoids the roads and cherishes the trails. The picture below shows the Hull's Cove Road as it passes next to Breakneck Ponds.

Carriage Road Stone Bridges

Among the most interesting features of the carriage roads are the 17 elegant and graceful stone bridges which cross streams, canyons, and other roads.

The bridges were financed by JDR Jr. and designed by Welles Bosworth and Charles Stoughton. They are constructed of hand hewn granite; each typically took approximately one year to construct. Below is the Eagle Lake Bridge, constructed in 1928

Below is Duck Brook Bridge, constructed in 1929. It is one of the largest in the park and features a triple arch and viewing turrets.

Below is another of the wonderful bridges, known as Cliff Side Bridge, constructed in 1932.

Below is the very first bridge to be built, Cobblestone Bridge, which was completed in 1917.

This is Hadlock Brook Bridge, from 1917.

Another of the bridges is Bubble Pond Bridge, dating from 1928.

Architecture of the Park

While Acadia does not feature extraordinarily famous and historical buildings such Crater Lake Lodge, Old Faithful Inn in Yellowstone, or Paradise Lodge in Mt. Rainier National Park, there are nevertheless a number of charming buildings throughout the park. Shown immediately below is Jordan Pond gate house, one of the two such gate houses designed for the carriage roads also built by John D. Rockefeller, Jr., this one near Jordan Pond.

Below is the Brown Mountain Gate House.

The rockwork around the steps to the main visitor's center near the Hulls Cover park entrance provide a beautiful appearance set off the colors of the fall vegetation.

Another example of the architecture of buildings in the park is the gift shop near Thunder Hole along the island's west coast.

One of the most pleasant facilities within the park is Jordan Pond House, featuring a restaurant renowned for elegant dining. The complex also contains a gift shop, and visitor's center. The original building was destroyed by fire in 1947, and the existing structure was rebuilt in 1982. The building is pictured below from the front.

Another view of the Jordan Pond House is shown from the rear, across Jordan Pond.

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  • All photographs ©Patrick Holleran, Shannon Digital Imaging, 1994-2013

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