Question of the Week
What chief of the U.S. Forest Service went on to serve two terms as governor of Pennsylvania?
Answer: Gifford Pinchot
Gifford Pinchot was born in Connecticut, but his family had an estate, Grey Towers in Milford, Pike County, Pennsylvania. His family made a fortune in the lumber business. Pinchot’s father became an advocate of conservation and encouraged him to become a forester. Pinchot developed the first forest management program in the United States and argued for planned use, “the art of producing from the forest whatever it can yield for the service of man.” Theodore Roosevelt, who later became president of the United States, was a friend of Pinchot’s and supported his development of the Forest Service. Pinchot became the first chief of the United States Forest Service from 1905 to 1910, and under his administration the national forests grew from 56 million to 172 million acres.
Pinchot, a Progressive Republican, had national political ambitions, and lost twice in elections for the U.S. Senate. He was more successful in Pennsylvania politics and served as the state’s governor twice, from 1923 to 1927 and again from 1931 to 1935. As governor, he was known to have hours that were open to the public so they could come and speak to him. “A public official is there to serve the public and not run them,” he said.
Image: Gifford Pinchot, photograph (1932)
About the Author
Look for these history stories every Sunday in the Philadelphia Inquirer. The stories, called Memory Stream, are published in the Currents section of the newspaper.