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Theodore Parker Lukens


Theodore Lukens (right) with John Muir
John Muir (left) with Theodore Parker Lukens


  • Pasadena City Councilman, realtor, banker, forester, conservationist, friend of Muir
  • Lukens joined the Sierra Club in 1894, two years after it was founded.
  • In 1895, Lukens sought out John Muir in Hetch Hetchy Valley, thus beginning a 20 year friendship.
  • Born in Ohio, Lukens came to California with his wife in 1880. He became active in business and municipal affairs, serving as president of the Board of Trustees of the city of Pasadena in 1890-92 and 1894-95. He served as supervisor of the Angeles National Forest in the San Gabriel Mountains from 1905-07 and throughout his career held various positions in private and government forestry organizations. Lukens remained prominent in civic affairs in Pasadena until his death in 1918.
  • Lukens founded a tree nursery and reforestation project at Henninger Flat, in southern California's Sierra Madre mountains, which provided seed stock for some 53,000 trees at and another 17,000 in Los Angeles' Griffith Park.
  • Lukens and Muir corresponded for 20 years about trees and conservation action. Lukens sent Muir stacks of photographs, sometimes 100 to 200 at a time, documenting tree species and their habitats, which Muir used in his articles.
  • At Muir's urging, Lukens was actively involved in early Sierra Club campaigns to purchase privately-held toll roads for public use, return Yosemite Valley to federal government protection, and to protect Hetch Hetchy Valley.
  • In 1907, John Muir wrote to Lukens, "It is always pleasant to think of you planting trees to grow great and do good centuries after we are all gone."
  • For more about Theodore Parker Lukens and his friendship with John Muir, see John Muir: A Naturalist in Southern California by Elizabeth Pomeroy, and Theodore Parker Lukens: Father of Forestry by Shirley Sargent (Los Angeles, Dawson's Book Shop, 1969).
Photograph of John Muir (left) and Theodore Lukens (right) at Crocker Station, 1895, by Celia Crocker, courtesy of Yosemite National Park Library.

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