Abstract

abstract:

This article argues that oil played an important role in shaping park landscapes in the United States. Scholars have shown how early road building sought to integrate the view of the natural landscape from the driver’s seat. The acceptance of roads as a major feature of parks, like in the Palisades, shows the primacy of oil as a foundation of American life in the twentieth century. This article goes a step further and analyzes in depth how oil, oil wealth, and road technologies changed how people experienced nature. The Palisades Interstate Park, located in New Jersey and New York in the United States, became known by the parkway it contained. Philanthropists, notably John D. Rockefeller Jr., park authorities, and public planning officials all believed the park should contain a parkway made specifically for leisurely drivers who could take in the scenery from the comfort of their car. In the first half of the twentieth century, they reshaped the Palisades into a motorist’s paradise. At the Palisades, the consumption of gasoline was written both on the landscape and into the cultural practice of exploring the natural beauty of the cliffs.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1097-3729
Print ISSN
0040-165X
Pages
pp. 713-738
Launched on MUSE
2020-09-01
Open Access
No
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