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Working at PlayA History of Vacations in the United States$
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Cindy S. Aron

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780195142341

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195142341.001.0001

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“Summer hotels are everywhere …”: A Flood of Vacationers

“Summer hotels are everywhere …”: A Flood of Vacationers

(p.45) 2 “Summer hotels are everywhere …”: A Flood of Vacationers
Working at Play

Cindy S. Aron

Oxford University Press

Beginning in the 1850s and only temporarily interrupted by the Civil War, the growth of vacationing in the United States proceeded rapidly in the three decades after 1870. Railroads played a critical role, providing not only the means of getting vacationers where they wanted to go, but the advertisements to lure them and the capital to build many resorts. Over the last half of the 19th century, part of what distinguished the middle class from those lower down the social ladder was the possibility, if not necessarily the guarantee, of a summer vacation. Reading in their newspapers and hearing from ministers and doctors that recreation could be good for them, more men and women began during the 1850s to venture from home for at least short pleasure trips. The decision—hotel or boarding house, cottage or farmhouse—depended partly on the needs, desires, and expectations of the vacationers. But it also rested on money. Vacation places came at all prices.

Keywords:   United States, vacationing, middle class, recreation, vacationers, railroads, summer vacation, resorts

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