The Defense of Storm King Mountain and its Far Reaching Impact on American Environmentalism
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The Hudson River Valley has long been acknowledged as one of the most beautiful natural landscapes of our country. Writers such as Washington Irving, James Fenimore Cooper, and William Cullen Bryant and painters such as Thomas Cole, Frederic Church, Asher Durand, and Sanford Gifford were awed by the incredible beauty of the area and produced world famous works inspired by the river. Impressive mountains like Storm King Mountain and Breakneck Ridge burst upwards from the riverbanks to dramatic heights throughout the Hudson Highlands, where “the river slices through a ridge of Precambrian rock.”1 Many writers found it challenging to describe the incredible beauty. Timothy Dwight wrote, “It is difficult to conceive of anything more solemn or more wild than the appearance of these mountains.”2 In a comparatively young country with few ancient ruins like those of Europe, Americans came to understand remarkable natural landscapes, like the Hudson Highlands or Niagara Falls, as national monuments from which they could find a sense of pride for their nation.
Franklin and Marshall College Archives, Undergraduate Honors Thesis 2016
- F&M Theses Collection