O&W Observer 1994 Jan-April Summer Homes on the Midland for NY Business Men
O&W Observer 1994 Jan-April Summer Homes on the Midland for NY Business Men
O&W Observer 1994 Jan-April Summer Homes on the Midland for NY Business Men
O&W Observer 1994 Jan-April Summer Homes on the Midland for NY Business Men
O&W Observer 1994 Jan-April Summer Homes on the Midland for NY Business Men

O&W Observer 1994 Jan-April Summer Homes on the Midland for NY Business Men

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O&W Observer 1994 Jan-April Summer Homes on the Midland for NY Business Men
 
Summer Homes on the Midland for New York Business Men NYO&M New York Oswego & Midland O&W Observer REPRINT 1994 Jan-April  V29 #1-4  38 pages
You are about to read a very unusual publication.
This 19th-century forerunner of today's "AAA Tour Book" was published by the New York & Oswego Midland Railroad, predecessor of the New York, Ontario & Western Railway.
To fully appreciate this guide, let's go back to the year it was issued.
In 1879 the Midland faced an uncertain future, having gone bankrupt shortly after its completion in 1873. It had severed its ties to its former affiliate New Jersey Midland which was enduring its own reorganization. With no direct route to New York City, travel was made through the Erie connection at Middletown. The ill-conceived Auburn Branch had already seen its last train. The branch north from Summitville reached only to Ellenville, as the Delaware & Hudson Canal would operate for nearly another quarter century before rails to Kingston would be laid on its towpath.
Summer in New York City was far different from today. No air conditioning, no air-cooled movies. The "middle class" needed some place to go to escape the oppressive climate, but they could not afford the luxury resorts of the period. It was these people who the NY&OM sought. What could be more refreshing than a vacation in the mountains, free from heat, humidity, ragweed and mosquitoes?
So in April 1878 the NY&OM advertised that:
"It is proposed to issue about May 1st, 1878, for distribution in New York, Brooklyn and vicinity, a Pamphlet entitled SUMMER HOMES ON THE MIDLAND. The object of this publication is to offer the thousands who annually look for Summer homes in the country, detailed information concerning the accommodations and facilities offered along the line of the Middle Division and Branches of the MIDLAND RAILROAD....
Station agents will ... receive the names of all wishing to register themselves as having accommodations to offer, and will forward them for publication in the forthcoming Pamphlet on payment of $2.00. A limited amount of space will be reserved for Hotels, or Summer Boarding Houses, whose Proprietors wish to pay for inserting displayed advertisements."
The free pamphlet was a great success and became an annual publication. By the turn of the century it was considered the most important railroad resort promotional piece in America. This 1879 edition, an expanded version of the 1878 guide, was the second and last one issued by the Oswego Midland. We are grateful to O&W Society member William Scott for donating this rare item to our archives, and to Society trustee Jim Thorn for the outstanding camera work enabling you to enjoy the finest quality reproduction.
When the NYO&W took over in 1880, the guide became simply "Summer Homes." (For a while around the turn of the century a companion "Winter Homes" was also issued.) Later it was variously known as "Summer Homes Among the Mountains," "Summer Homes Along the New York, Ontario & Western Railway," and in 1931, "Vacation Guide." By then, motor vehicles were competing for the O&W's passengers, and in 1948 the Hudson Transit Lines bus company sounded the death knell by issuing a "Shortline Guide to Vacationing" in a similar size and format. 1949 saw the last O&W guide, and passenger service ended in 1953, just four years before the "Old Woman" went to her grave.
But back to 1879. Imagine yourself in a noisy, dirty Manhattan tenement, eagerly awaiting the chance to escape the city, and perusing this guide in search of a pleasant, relaxing vacation in the crisp, bracing air of southeastern New York State's mountains.

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