The name “Rockefeller” should ring a bell for most of us. For example, we all know of Rockefeller Center and its significance in New York City. But how much do you know about the man the center was named after? John D. Rockefeller was easily one of the most influential and important entrepreneurs in American history – and the country’s first billionaire – and we have all the proof you need right here. Here are some fun facts about John D. Rockefeller.
1. He was a New Yorker.
Having Rockefeller Center in NYC is a full-circle idea as the man himself was born in New York. He was born on July 8th, 1839, in New York, US. That being said, when he was a teenager, he and his family moved to Cleveland, Ohio.
2. He started working from a young age.
Rockefeller did not waste any time building up his empire! From a young age, he started earning money by raising turkeys, selling candy, and lending small amounts of money to neighbors!
3. He was the man behind Standard Oil.
In 1870, Rockefeller co-founded Standard Oil. The company would eventually become one of the most powerful oil companies in the world – setting the standard, arguably, for the oil landscape as we know it today.
4. He made sure his company dominated the industry.
John D. Rockefeller was well-known for his aggressive business practices. He tried to ensure his company dominated the industry, even by acquiring and consolidating rival oil companies to strengthen Standard Oil’s position.
5. However, Standard Oil’s monopoly on the industry did not last.
Despite his strategic and successful maneuvers in dominating the oil industry, that success did not last, as Rockefeller became the target of antitrust laws. In 1911, the US Supreme Court officially ordered Standard Oil to be broken up into multiple smaller companies.
6. He was, however, a famous philanthropist!
Despite his place in the birth of Big Oil, Rockefeller was actually very charitable. However, following the breakup of Standard Oil, the businessman dedicated much of his wealth to philanthropy. He even established the Rockefeller Foundation in 1913, which became one of the world’s largest private foundations.
7. He invested in education, too.
Rockefeller believed in the importance of education. That is why he contributed to the founding of the University of Chicago, the then-Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research (now Rockefeller University), and the General Education Board.
8. He helped to develop the Rockefeller Center.
Of course, Rockefeller also played a key role in the development of Rockefeller Center in Manhattan, New York City. The center is a complex of commercial buildings and entertainment venues.
9. He eventually retired from business.
In 1897, John D. Rockefeller officially retired from business. However, he continued to play an influential role in philanthropy and public affairs. His public image was often controversial due to his business practices and connection to Standard Oil. That being said, his later philanthropic activities improved his standing in the eyes of many.
10. He lived a long life.
Despite having a pretty stressful business life, John D. Rockefeller lived to the age of 97. He was known for his disciplined lifestyle, including a frugal diet and regular exercise. Despite the controversies, it’s safe to say Rockefeller lived a pretty fulfilling and maybe even desirable life. Is it any wonder we still talk about him?
FAQs about John D. Rockefeller
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