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Rusticators on Sargent Mountain, Mount Desert Island, 1909

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These rusticators were photographed taking a break after having climbed Sargent Mountain on Mount Desert Island.

Rusticators were visitors who flocked to Mount Desert Island from cities, seeking relief from the noise and pollution of crowded urban life. After tramping about in nature, they desired good dining and entertainment, followed by the comfort of a real bed. At first, they stayed with islanders pleased to welcome paying guests into their homes. By the early 1870s, rusticators had plenty of hotels from which to choose, and by the early 1880s, many had built their own “cottages.” For the wealthiest rusticators—such as the Astors, Pulitzers, Rockefellers, Sears, and Vanderbilts—these cottages were magnificent summer homes.

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