The environmental pioneer John Muir spent most of his adult years living and working on a fruit ranch outside of Martinez, California. His entire domestic life unfolded among the orchards. Yet, repeatedly and explicitly, he rejected the ranch as his true home, claiming instead a spiritual affinity with the Sierra wilderness. That response famously helped launch modern, wilderness-oriented environmentalism, but less noticed was its role in closing an earlier horticultural movement that promoted the combined economic and environmental development of the landscape. Muir’s in-laws, John and Louisiana Strentzel, typified the horticulturalists. Contrasting how the two generations made their homes in the natural landscape demonstrates the diversity of environmental thinking in nineteenth-century California and reveals how much Muir left behind in turning toward the mountains.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.