A Transformative Place: Grey Towers and the Evolution of American Conservationism

Document Type



Environmental Analysis (Pomona)

Publication Date



environmental management, forest, forest management, forest resources, forestry, forestry research, forestry science, natural resources, natural resource management


On a beautiful late September day, just 2 months before he was assassinated, President John F. Kennedy spoke from the front porch of Grey Towers, the Milford, Pennsylvania, estate of Gifford Pinchot (1865–1946), founding chief of the USDA Forest Service. His visit served two purposes. It kicked off the president’s 5-day, 11-state “conservation tour” during which he would deliver a series of addresses on the environment to buttress his conservationist credentials in a society shaken by the searing images of a poisoned nature depicted in Rachel Carson’s seminal Silent Spring (1962). His presence in Milford also marked the Pinchot family’s gift of Grey Towers to the nation, and the establishment there of the Pinchot Institute for Conservation Studies.

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© 2005 Society of American Foresters

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