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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

June 15


Campobello (Part 5)


Wealth, Style and Privilege was to dominate the Island in a manner that was unknown to the population.
An era of American gentility of the Gilded Age settled on Campobello as it got to be the playground of Victorian mores and culture -- Yankee-style.


Of course there were rich Canadian families from Montreal, but being miles from the Canadian mainland, Americans dominated the scene.


With about 1mill. Dollars at hand the Campobello Company started to build resort-style hotels for the upper American class. The first hotel to be build was "The Owen".
It was followed by the Tyn-y-Coed (welsh: house in the woods) and the Tyn-y-Maes (house in the field)
These were huge hotels with hundreds of rooms offering the utmost in comfortable living, with the goal of providing a refined home for their guests.


While being of exclusive service for the distinguished guests, a border line was drawn towards local population which was referred to as being industrious and drifty, but clearly part of the background.


The next goal of the Campobello Company was to devise and establish an extensive colony of summer cottages, each on a lot the size of 2-6 acres. 15 lots were sold quickly and cottages were built. Campobello Company's promotional literature was full of praise for the natural beauty and serenity of the island. It talked about the islanders "lonely huts" and extolled about the "forest crowned" islands of the Passamaquoddy Bay. 
Friar's Head, Herring Cove, Cranberry Point and Liberty Point were all picturesque spots for picnics, outings and games. 
There was an abundance of fresh seafood, which at times was hard-to-come-by in big-city homes.
Tyn-y-Coed and Tyn-y-Maes on Campobello Island
With the arrival of the automobile and thus greater mobility the Campobello Company was facing great pains for the future. The hotels stayed empty and when WW-1 rolled around they were abandoned and dismantled. 


Campobello might have been an agreeable place all together, but it was a hard to reach destination in those days.
In 1882 travelers could take to the railroads to Eastport and from there being ferried across the bay to Campobello, or they could jump on a steamer in New York or Boston which would reach Eastport after many hours of travel. The steamer from Boston would take 25 hours, the trip from New York would take 43 hours.


The tiny spruce-clad island in the Bay of Fundy was 
established, promoted and visited by a group of rusticators, some of whom would return regularly for half a century and more. Among those rusticators was James Roosevelt w. wife and son Franklin.


Historical source: "Beloved Island" by Jonas Klein


Get the last part on Campobello history tomorrow!

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