Upstate Escape: Roots of Tourism in the Empire State
Where: New York Public Library—Stephen A. Schwarzman Building
476 Fifth Ave.
917-275-6975 Price: Free
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In 19th century disease-riddled New York City, those who could afford to began seeking the restorative powers of nature. Come summer, the elite took off for Ballston, Saratoga Springs, and Niagara Falls in search of the springs’ curative properties, and to get away from the heat and illness that plagued the city. But with the expansion of railroads, the rising middle class followed suit, causing the elite to head yet farther afield, and spark the travel economies of Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine.
Ian Fowler, Geospatial Librarian and Map Curator, shares atlases and maps from the Library’s Maps Division that guided tourists to the respite they sought. Learn about and see rare materials including:
- Beers’ “Combination Atlas of Saratoga and Ballston”
- 19th century maps of the “pleasure routes” to Saratoga, Lake George, Adirondacks and the White Mountains
- A disease map of the port and vicinity of New York that accompanied a report on yellow fever by the physician in chief at the Marine Hospital on Staten Island