Acadia

Explore the Carriage Roads

  • Mount Desert Island

  • The Great Automobile War, 1899–1913, the town of Bar Harbor, then named Eden, placed restrictions on automobiles that were so stringent, they amounted to a ban. Ten years later, the state legislature did impose an outright ban on cars island-wide, but by then public sentiment was shifting, and the ban was repealed in 1913.

    The same year one of the chief “anti-autoists,” John D. Rockefeller Jr., began building his automobile-free carriage roads through the hills and hollows of Mount Desert Island. The 27-year project resulted in 45 miles of carriage roads that today are used by bicyclists, hikers, and equestrians.

    Workmen inched their way through forests with axes, shovels, chisels, and mauls. The carriage roads have three layers: an eight-inch thick bed of big rocks, four inches of smaller stones, and, on top, a two to three inch surface of clay and gravel, all packed down by horse-drawn road rollers (in later years, steamrollers were used). They are raised slightly in the center, so water runs off and is channeled away by culverts made of stone.

    The roads were built to follow the landscape’s ridges and contours and take advantage of views. The result is a network of roadways and bridges that are so harmonious with their surroundings that is seems as if nature meant for them to be there which is precisely what Rockefeller wanted.
  • Map Location
  • Recommendation

    Ultimate Acadia

    Ultimate Acadia is the essential guide to Maine's Mount Desert Island, providing everything you need to know to make the most of your time there.
    Buy
  • Recommendation

    Mr. Rockefeller's Roads

    The beautiful carriage roads of Mount Desert Island fit so perfectly into the land it seems as though they have always been there.
    Buy
Back to Acadia Back to home

The Great Automobile War, 1899–1913, the town of Bar Harbor, then named Eden, placed restrictions on automobiles that were so stringent, they amounted to a ban. Ten years later, the state legislature did impose an outright ban on cars island-wide, but by then public sentiment was shifting, and the ban was repealed in 1913.

The same year one of the chief “anti-autoists,” John D. Rockefeller Jr., began building his automobile-free carriage roads through the hills and hollows of Mount Desert Island. The 27-year project resulted in 45 miles of carriage roads that today are used by bicyclists, hikers, and equestrians.

Workmen inched their way through forests with axes, shovels, chisels, and mauls. The carriage roads have three layers: an eight-inch thick bed of big rocks, four inches of smaller stones, and, on top, a two to three inch surface of clay and gravel, all packed down by horse-drawn road rollers (in later years, steamrollers were used). They are raised slightly in the center, so water runs off and is channeled away by culverts made of stone.

The roads were built to follow the landscape’s ridges and contours and take advantage of views. The result is a network of roadways and bridges that are so harmonious with their surroundings that is seems as if nature meant for them to be there which is precisely what Rockefeller wanted.


 

Recommendation

Ultimate Acadia

Ultimate Acadia is the essential guide to Maine's Mount Desert Island, providing everything you need to know to make the most of your time there.

Buy

 

Recommendation

Mr. Rockefeller's Roads

The beautiful carriage roads of Mount Desert Island fit so perfectly into the land it seems as though they have always been there.

Buy

Back to Acadia Back to home