Tourist Destinations

United States in Stereo: The Birth of American Tourism

Sara Rose is a Curatorial Intern in our collections department and a first year graduate student in the Library and Information Science program (Archives Management Concentration) at Simmons College. Throughout the summer she has assisted us in our ongoing digitization efforts and online collection social media projects. She shares some insight below about some of the objects she's been working with during her internship. 

 

Summer. A time of warm weather, long days, and of course, vacations. Whether it’s a day trip a few towns over or a weeks-long vacation across the country, Americans have had a long love affair with summer tourism. In the late 1800s there was a dramatic rise in recreational tourism throughout the United States. The newly completed trans-American railroad made interstate travel accessible to the masses, many of whom were increasingly located in urban regions after industrialization. As urban Americans flocked to the seashores and wilderness for leisure, tourism became a profitable enterprise.

National Parks, seaside resorts, and other tourist attractions promoted vacation travel within the United States. Photography played a key role in the development of national tourist attractions, making it possible to mass distribute images showing various places of interests and inspiring wanderlust for the American countryside. Below are just a few examples of this kind of tourism promotion from the over 300 sterocards in the  Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library collection.

2010_055_277DS1This stereocard, titled “Grandeur of the Waters,” showcases the famed waterfalls of Niagara, New York. Visible on the left side of the photograph is a group of tourists taking in the view.

 

 

2010_055_163DS1

 

Another stereocard, titled “In Surf, Sand, and Sun,” depicts throngs of beachgoers on the shores of Atlantic City, New Jersey. Atlantic City, one of the earliest resort cities in the United States, has remained a popular destination for summer tourists to this day.

 

2010_055_175DS1This final stereocard shows a street lined with cottages on Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts. Signs can be seen offering summer rentals to the crowds of tourists who flocked to the Vineyard for vacation, as well as laborers looking for seasonal work.

 

To learn more about stereocards in our collection visit our previous blog posts here.

Captions:

Grandeur of the Waters, Niagara Falls, N.Y., 1905, H.C. White Co., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Fredric Woodbridge Wilson Collection, Gift of Thomas Garrett. 2010.055.277

 In Surf, Sand and Sun, Atlantic City, N.J., 1905, H.C. White Co., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Fredric Woodbridge Wilson Collection, Gift of Thomas Garrett. 2010.055.163

Fourth Avenue Campground, Martha’s Vineyard, 1873. Unidentified, USA. Fredric Woodbridge Wilson Collection, Gift of Thomas Garrett. 2010.055.175

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save


Summer Vacation through Postcards

2013_July blog post_postcardsAt our July Collections Committee, we accepted a gift of approximately 400 postcards from Michael Heitke.  Many of these postcards show images of national monuments in the United States and over half the collection are items showing images from Wisconsin, the home state of the donor.  They range in date from 1907 through 1950s.

As Americans are taking their summer vacations, it is revealing to take a look at 1950s postcards. Some of the same destinations that were popular in the 1950s are just as popular today. 

Mount Rushmore  National Monument is a typical tourist destination in South Dakota (see postcard at the left).  Gutzon Borglum (1867-1941) was the artist who supervised the sculpting of Mount Rushmore and many other American public sculptures.  Borglum was an active Freemason and raised in the Howard Lodge No. 35 of New York City in 1904.  He served as its Worshipful Master from 1910 through 1911.  He received his Scottish Rite degrees in the New York City Consistory in 1907.  

Noteworthy is that among the four presidents carved into stone at Mount Rushmore, two of them were well-known Freemasons--George Washington (1732-1799) and Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919) and two were not.  Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) was not a Freemason.  Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) petitioned to join Tyrian Lodge of Springfield, Illinois after his nomination for president in 1860, but never followed through on receiving his membership.                                      

The Dells of the Wisconsin River is a popular destination especially for Americans in the Midwest (see postcard below). Created by early glaciers, the "Jaws of the Dells" is the sandstone gateway, or corridor to the Upper Dells of the Wisconsin River.  It is located in south central Wisconsin.  Access by boat is the only way to see these natural sandstone formations.  Henry Hamilton Bennett (1843-1908) was the landscape photographer who made the Wisconsin Dells a popular tourist destination by his photographs.  This postcard of the Wisconsin Dells is a 1950s reproduction from the H. H. Bennett Studio.  As far as I can tell Bennett was not involved with Freemasonry, though he lived through the "Golden Age of Fraternalism." 2013_July blog post_postcards_2

                               Captions

Postcard of Mount Rushmore National Monument, ca. 1950. Gift of Michael Heitke, USM 082, Scottish Rite Masonic Museum and Library.

Postcard of Gateway to the Upper Dells of the Wisconsin River, ca. 1950. Gift of Michael Heitke, USM 082, Scottish Rite Masonic Museum and Library.