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The Pioneers of Baguio

As some of the notable pioneers of Baguio City, the Americans have huge contributions to the history and development of Baguio City through the years. For one, the city became the Summer Capital of the Philippines because an American believed that it is the perfect escape from the heat of the lowlands and that it deserves such recognition.

Here are some of the American pioneers of Baguio City and their notable contributions to the rich history of Baguio City and what it came to be.

The Different Pioneers of Baguio

William Cameron Forbes, the Father of Baguio City

William Cameron Forbes

  • In 1904, he was appointed by President Theodore Roosevelt as Commissioner of Commerce and Police. He was then made in charge of public works and was also of help in bringing Daniel Burnham to the Philippines.

During his administration, he was known as a “builder” where he was given the responsibility of building Baguio into a city. Benguet road and others started to be constructed. And with his drive to provide officials favorable working conditions during summer, the government center and the city hall were built and Baguio was then called the Summer Capital of the Philippines.

Baguio Museum Historical Photos, Memoirs of Baguio by Summer Capital Publishing House

Daniel H. Burnham, The Urban Designer

pioneers of baguio daniel-burnham-baguio-city-guide
Daniel H. Burnham
  • He became a famous architect and urban planner because of his notable works and supervision during the creation of the White City at the World’s Columbian Exposition. Because of this, he was chosen by the U.S. Philippine Commission to make plans for Manila, the capital of the Philippines, and Baguio, the place designated by American colonial administrators to be the summer capital.

Baguio Museum Historical Photos

Governor William Pack, Governor of Mt. Province for several years

governor pack road baguio city guide
Governor William Pack
  • During his time as a governor, the Benguet Road project was started. Also, he initiated the promotion of Teacher’s Camp for the use and privilege of teachers.

Memoirs of Baguio by Summer Capital Publishing House

Col. Lyman W. Kennon, Builder of the famous Benguet Road

Col. Lyman W. Kennon

  • He was the builder of the famous Benguet road better known far and wide as Kennon Road, one of the best mountain roads in the world. And it was in June 1903 when he took over the supervision of the construction after having two men head the project consecutively without finishing it.

In January 1905, he drove thru Baguio and the car he used was the first wagon to reach that place over the newly constructed road.  

Memoirs of Baguio by Summer Capital Publishing House

Dean Worcester, Rediscoverer of Baguio

Dean Worcester

  • In July 1900, he led a party of curious Americans to the Benguet region. The said trip led to the birth of Baguio.

In June 1901, he made a trip on a horseback to Baguio. He and his party were immediately convinced of the possibilities of Baguio as a health resort. And for the special interest and influence he exerted, he was given much credit for the founding of Baguio.

He was able to see that the report written by three Spanish engineers, who made a survey about Baguio, had been accurate. The hills were grassy and studded with pine trees, fern trees grew along the streams. The area looks like an ideal site for a future city.

Otto Scheerer, Author on Baguio’s Past

otto scheerer baguio city guide

Otto Scheerer

  • Up to this day, his book “On Baguio’s Past” is one of the most valuable references for those that seek reliable information about the city’s history.

He was a German Scholar who came up to Baguio in 1896 for health reasons. But when he fell in love with the place, he purchased 43 hectares of land and built two houses – one became the Baguio Sanitarium and Hotel and the other as the residence of the Deputy Governor. And when the Americans reached Baguio in 1900, he was the first white man to welcome them and he also became instrumental in building a good relationship between them and the natives.

Memoirs of Baguio by Summer Capital Publishing House

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