[LMB] OT: Cars, independence, and haut bubbles

Katherine (Kathy) Collett kcollett at hamilton.edu
Fri Sep 3 20:45:10 BST 2021


On Sep 3, 2021, at 11:15 AM, tidsel via Lois-Bujold <lois-bujold at lists.herald.co.uk> wrote:
> 
> But it still isn't an efficient way to link small rural communities.
> 
> But aren't you saying that it used to work??

Well, but expectations change.  Some rural areas were settled by farming communities — people who didn’t expect to go more than a few miles from their community more than maybe a couple of times a year, when they could take the train into the nearest city.  In the 19th century, students at Hamilton College here in Clinton, unless they came from the local area, pretty much expected to stay the whole year, only going home for a couple of months in the summer.  Now, of course, students expect to go home numerous times (barring pandemics), and people live here and commute to Syracuse and even further afield to work, and vice versa, and generally we’re much more mobile.  

That said, we have a diary in the college archives of a student just before the Civil War who lived in the city of Rome, 15 miles north of here, who describes his summer excursions including train to and from various towns between here and Syracuse (>40 miles west), horse and buggy drives with his buddies and their girls to local beauty spots for picnics, and a trip with his uncle, also in horse-drawn vehicle, from Rome down to the village south of Clinton.  So, quite mobile within a limited area, especially where trains are available.

Katherine


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