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Doing the TownThe Rise of Urban Tourism in the United States, 1850-1915$
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Catherine Cocks

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780520227460

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520227460.001.0001

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At Home in the City: First-Class Urban Hotels, 1850–1915

At Home in the City: First-Class Urban Hotels, 1850–1915

(p.70) Three At Home in the City: First-Class Urban Hotels, 1850–1915
Doing the Town

Catherine Cocks

University of California Press

This chapter explains that most Americans wealthy enough to travel for pleasure in the mid-nineteenth century stayed only at the best city hotels, for lodging at a “first-class” hostelry was “a strong presumption of social availability.” Where the traveler “stopped” while in the city signaled his or her social status to the local elite, many of whom resided semipermanently at such fine hotels. First-class city hotels undermined the sociospatial ideal that joined refinement and republicanism by providing the former for a fee. As their urbanity and commercialism became more apparent, their claim to contain a microcosm of the republic dissolved. Hotels created physical and social spaces not just open to transients but dedicated to them, and increasingly distinct from the spaces that locals used.

Keywords:   first-class hotels, sociospatial ideal, refinement, republicanism, urbanity, commercialism, microcosm

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