John McLaren will long merit honorable mention in the annals of San Francisco for the work he has accomplished in beautifying the Golden Gate Park, which under his superintendency has become one of the most entrancing spots dedicated by a numicipality for a public pleasure ground and breathing place. As a landscape gardner he has no superior on the Pacific coast, and deserves rank with the best anywhere. He learned his high-art pursuit in Scotland, a country famous for that class of workers, and all the years since he came to America have been spent in California. He owes more than his skill and vocation to the land of his birth, for he is a representative Scot, hardy, industrious, thoroughly upright in every transaction, and has never failed to gain and retain the greatest respect and good will of his fellow citizens.

Mr. McLaren was born at the famous old town of Stirling, Scotland, December 20, 1846, being one of the family born to his parents of beloved memory, Donald and Katherine (McDougall) McLaren. He gained his education by attendance at the public schools, and, as his father was a farmer, remained on the home place and held cultivate the soil until he was eighteen years old. He then went to Edinburg and began his apprenticeship in the Botanic Gardens, where he became an expert landscape gardener. In 1871 he emigrated to America, and in February of the same year located in California. He took charge of the Howard estate at San Mateo, laid out the roads, divided the grounds and planned and executed some of the finest effects in the way of landscape gardening to be found on any private estate in California. In 1887 he moved to San Francisco and accepted the position of superintendent of the Golden Gate Park. He resides in the beautiful stone house on the park grounds. He has watched and planned improvements for this park for now more than eighteen years, and under his direction there has been evolved a park of wonderful beauty and fitness for all the uses to which a public resort is put. He deserves and receives much credit and praise for what he has accomplished, and in many ways the park will always remain a memorial to his best efforts and life work.

Mr. McLaren was married in 1876 and has one son, Donald, who is now located at Kobe, Japan, in the employ of the Pacific Mail Steamship Company.

Source: History of the New California Its Resources and People, Volume II

The Lewis Publishing Company - 1905
Edited by Leigh H. Irvine

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