Out of the bank he established in Pittsburgh in 1869, Thomas Mellon left behind both a fortune and a string of descendants who variously increased those funds and gave them away to a wide range of philanthropic projects—prominently including land conservation. Among their other accomplishments in nature giving, former National Park Service historian Barry Mackintosh has noted that, “after the Rockefellers, the Mellon family has contributed most generously to the growth of the national park system.” For instance, various Mellon family foundations funded shoreline surveys along our Great Lakes and sea coasts, over a period of decades starting in 1947. These led to the creation of several national seashores and lakeshores. Mellon money purchased much of the land for the Cape Hatteras and Cumberland Island National Seashores. It funded acquisition of the Hampton National Historic Site in Maryland. And family members helped preserve Rocky Mountain National Park and Redwood National Park. They also landscaped Lafayette Park across from the White House.
- Philanthropy and the national parks, nps.gov/history/history/hisnps/NPSHistory/philanthropy.HTM