Our community, Acadia is named after the iconic Acadia National Park on Mount Desert Island in Maine. This park was the creation of George Dorr, an original rusticator (today, we’d say “environmentalist”). In 1916, after years of assembling private land contributions, George Dorr got Congress to designate the surrounding hills as Sieur de Monts National Monument. There was then no national park system in the United States.
In 1919, the park lands were designated as the Lafayette National Park, the first park in our country’s new park system. The name was a nod to George Washington’s military sidekick, General Lafayette, to commemorate American solidarity with France at the end of World War I.
The name Acadia may never have come about but for George Dorr’s creative solicitation of the Moore sisters, two heiresses of John Godfrey Moore, a Gilded Age baron of lumber and telegraph wealth. They owned a large area known as Schoodic Bay holdings, and were encouraged by their mother to donate this land to Dorr’s new park.
But a snag soon made it all unlikely; the sisters did not like the name Lafayette. Speculation has it that Ruth Moore, the sister who married a British officer and diplomat, Lt. Col. Arthur Lee, was reluctant to make the donation because of the French military connection. By 1923, Ruth was the Viscountess Lee of Fareham, and with her husband Arthur and her sister Faith, they lived in England at their Chequers Estate (later to become the Camp David of Great Britain).
George Dorr, an admitted admirer of French history and culture, suggested to them a new name, Acadia. In their writings, Dorr and National Park Service director Stephen Mather played down the Frenchiness of Acadia, emphasizing instead its likely derivation from cadie, from the same root word quoddy, which means place in Mi’kmaq language.
However he convinced the sisters, they agreed to the new name and made the donation. Congress authorized the new lands and renamed the park as the Acadia National Park in 1929.
In Acadia, our place in Greenville, South Carolina, we are proud of our namesake. We embrace the active outdoor lifestyle that inspired the creation of the Acadia National Park, our country’s first national park.
Come discover life in balance, in Acadia!