Timeline

Y/M/D Description Association Composition Place Locale Food Event
Y/M/D Description Association Composition Place Locale Food Event
Owner Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park Woodstock
Significant name Billings Farm and Museum Woodstock
1910/05/26 Born Born Laurence Rockefeller's Birthday
1934/00/00 Mary French marries Laurance Rockefeller at the old white Congregational Church in Woodstock, Vermont. Groom Woodstock Village Historic District Woodstock Marriage of Mary French and Laurence Rockefeller
1954/00/00 When Laurance and Mary Rockefeller take over the property, they hire landscape architect Zenon Schreiber to made extensive additions to the property, including a waterfall garden and rock gardens. Home Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller Mansion and Gardens Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park
1956/00/00 Donates most of the land that becomes Virgin Islands National Park 1956, 1958 Benefactor Virgin Islands National Park US Virgin Islands
1956/12/01 Caneel Bay opening day Owner Caneel Bay Virgin Islands National Park
2004/07/11 Died Died

History

Laurance Rockefeller was the fourth child of John D Rockefeller Jr. and Abby Greene Aldrich. Laurance's grandfather John D was the head of the Standard Oil Company and one of the country's best-known philanthropists. His father was an enthusiastic supporter of park-building and historic preservation, and the Great Smoky Mountains, Shenandoah, Grand Teton, Acadia, and Redwood National Parks are testimony to his generosity.

From a young age, Laurance demonstrated a fascination with the natural world. Like Frederick Billings before him, he discovered the wonders of the West on trips to the Grand Canyon, the Tetons, Yellowstone and Yosemite. He became a trustee of the New York Zoological Society at the age of twenty-five, and was appointed to the Palisades Interstate Park Commission a few years later.

Then in 1940, Laurance's father, John D Rockefeller, Jr, established the Jackson Hole Preserve to promote conservation and to protect family land holdings in the Tetons of Wyoming. Laurance became its first president. After he returned from World War II, he began to build upon his father's vision of expanding the national park system by partnering conservation of natural spaces with the provision of tourist accommodation and facilities so that more Americans could experience their country's scenic wonders.

He was almost solely responsible for the creation of Virgin Islands National Park in 1956 and, in 1958, was named chairman of the Outdoor Recreation Resources Review Commission. Under his leadership, the Commission devised a visionary management plan for open space and public recreation. Throughout his career as a conservationist, Laurance articulated a comprehensive approach to land stewardship that combined preservation with public access. In 1991, President George H W Bush presented him with the Congressional Gold Medal "in recognition of his leadership on behalf of natural resource conservation and historic preservation." - NPS

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