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Identification:

Preferred Structure Name:
Motor Roads - Walkways, Trails, and Steps
Structure Number:
60115-003
Other Structure Name(s):
 
Other Structure Name(s)
No records.
Park:
Acadia National Park
Historic District:
 
Historic District
No records.
Structure State:
Maine
Structure County:
Hancock
Region:
Northeast
Cluster:
New England
Administrative Unit:
Acadia National Park
LCS ID:
751421
 
Historical Significance:

National Register Status:
Determined Eligible - SHPO
National Register Date:
09/18/2008
National Historic Landmark?:
No
Significance Level:
Contributing
Short Significance Description:
Part of Motor Road System that is nationally significant under Criterion A for conservation, recreation and transportation, Criterion B for association with John D. Rockefeller, Jr., and Criterion C for architecture & engineering.
Long Significance Description:
The ACAD Motor Road System is significant under Criterion A for illustrating the NPS system-wide goal of providing public access to national parks while conserving natural beauty, Criterion B as an example of John D. Rockefeller, Jr.’s interest in the construction and beautification of roads in the national parks and his collaboration with the NPS, and Criterion C as including excellent examples of the NPS Rustic Design style. The period of significance for the road system begins in 1922 when Superintendent George B. Dorr submitted a plan to the NPS for the park’s first motor road, and ends in 1958 when the final segment of the system was completed.

Construction of the ACAD Motor Road System was conceived to allow the construction of roads for automobiles in the park while preserving its natural beauty. The system began in 1922 when Superintendent Dorr submitted a plan to NPS Director Stephen Mather for a motor road that ran from Eagle Lake Road and along Eagle Lake and Jordan Pond. Rockefeller contributed much of the vistion, resources, and supervision necessary to accomplish the construction of the Motor Road System, his interest stemming from preventing automobile use of the carriage roads that he was constructing on the island. In 1927 the park developed a Master Plan in which all projects that would be characterized by the emerging NPS Rustic Design style, which created a rugged and frontier-like quality appropriate to a wilderness setting while allowing features to be customized with local materials to fit the setting.

Walkways,designed in the Rustic Design style and constructed with the same bituminous surface with a gravel "chip coat" as the roadways, were typically installed at major developed areas, parking areas, and overlooks to allow visitors to access scenic areas. Most of the walkways were bounded by curbs to provide a safe separation from vehicles. Trails, constructed of locally extruded gravel, paralleled and intersected with the motor road system. The most prominent was the Ocean Path, a trail constructed by the CCC that ran alongside Ocean Drive and which was included in the lower level of the Olmsted-designed grade separation feature at Otter Cliffs. In several areas, rough-cut or carefully tooled granite steps were constructed to connect the motor road or parking lots to trails, or to provide access to the shoreline.

Since the historic period, many walkways have received overlays of bituminous concretes, the same surface treatment as the roads, thus maintaining the same historic relationship of appearance. Non-historic concrete steps have been constructed at Thunder Hole, and a non-historic wooden stairway erected at Little Hunters Beach.
 
Construction Period:

Construction Period:
Historic
Chronology:
 
Physical Event
Begin Year
Begin Year CE/BCE
End Year
End Year CE/BCE
Designer
Designer Occupation
1. 
Built
1927
CE
1958
CE
NPS
Other
2. 
Altered
1980
CE
2000
CE
NPS
Other
 
Function and Use:

Primary Historic Function:
Pedestrian Circulation
Primary Current Use:
Pedestrian Circulation
Other Functions or Uses:
 
Other Function(s) or Use(s)
Historic or Current
No records.
 
Physical Description:

Structure Type:
Trail/Walk
Material(s):
 
Structural Component(s)
Material(s)
1. 
Superstructure
Concrete
2. 
Substructure
Stone
3. 
Superstructure
Granite
Short Physical Description:
Ten asphalt-paved walkways, several granite trails, six sets of tooled-stone steps and three sets of rough-cut stone steps.