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Sunday, July 7, 2013

Your 1913 Summer Destination Guide!

The 1913 Summer resort guide for Southern New England, published by the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad is a local history gem. 
The shape is interesting because the design is meant to be about the size of a train schedule (of the era) so the obverse is similar but different:
Or, maybe that was the front. When opened it look as as though it is missing its cover as the first page gets right in to the geographical descriptions of the region. However, if you notice the page numbers, one full page is considered 2-pages. I supposed if you were cramped on a train you would be reading this folded in half?
 I am not complaining; the detail of the interior is like that of a train schedule.Columns and rows of the most important facts to plan your train excursion and then the conveyance for getting from station to hotel.

The column headers ( I left out): Station: Name of House: Proprietor: Address: Location: Miles from Station: Conveyance (see legend below): Price per day: Per Week: Capacity 

(You can click on any of these for a larger image. )

The book has numerous images of resorts, most of which are sadly no more. The most interesting on I pick up on was Fenwick Hall

The story of Fenwick is interesting. Begun as farming property by the governor of the Saybrook Colony, the farm was sold to a group of business leaders who eyed it as a summer vacation spot in 1870. It was the place for Connecticut's business elite who also held ownership of the rail line that went there.  Fenwick Hall was a luxury hotel and though it changed hands a few times was an architectural wonder that lasted until a fire around 1917. You can read more about the Fenwick historic district here.

I have added the first 10 or so pages of this terrific manual as a PDF you can download here.

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