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William Kent


John Muir and William Kent at Muir Woods Inn circa 1909
  • Businessman, Rancher, Philanthropist and U.S. Congressman (between 1911 and 1917).
  • William Kent and his wife, Elizabeth Thacher Kent, bought 295 acres (the deed was in both their names) along Redwood Creek in Marin County for $45,000 in 1905. To protect the beautiful stands of redwoods located there, the Kents donated the land to the United States Federal Government. In 1908, President Theodore Roosevelt declared the donated land Muir Woods National Monument. Roosevelt had suggested naming the area after Kent, but the Kents requested that it be named for conservationist John Muir.
  • John Muir wrote to Wiliam Kent regarding the establishment of Muir Woods National Monument saying, "Seeing my name in the tender & deed of the Tamalpais Sequoias was a surprise of the pleasantest kind. This is the best tree-lover's monument that could possibly be found in all the forests of the world. You have done me great honor, & I am proud of it... Saving these woods from the axe & saw, from money-changers and water- changers & giving them to our country & the world is in many ways the most notable service to God & man I've heard of since my forest wanderings began."
Photo of John Muir (left) and William Kent at Muir Woods Inn, circa 1909, courtesy Muir Woods National Park Service Collections.

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