New Ways to Play
To explain how the shift fit to an urban, industrial economy spurred Americans to seek outdoor leisure activities.
To identify sites and activities that turn-of-the-century Americans enjoyed in their leisure time.
Focus & Motivate
Starting with the Student
Imagine, if you will, having a dull job that keeps you indoors during the workweek.
What kinds of places are you likely to want to spend your leisure time?
What kinds of leisure activities would you want to do?
More About. . . .
The Bicycle Craze
Though bicycles developed gradually, it was not until the closing decades of the 19th century that they became popular. At the Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia in 1876, a British firm displayed an “ordinary English bicycle,” that caught the attention of manufacturer Albert. A. Pope, who soon converted hi Massachusetts air-pistol factory into a bicycle works. Within a decade, America had over 50,000 cyclists, with just about every big city sporting a bicycle club. By the turn-of-the-century bicycle manufacturing had grown into a $60 million business in America alone.
Starting With the Student
What parks, beaches, or other outdoor recreational sites are near your home?
What kinds of public recreational facilities do students typically use?
How does your use of these facilities compare with the use of Central Park described in the feature?
Discussing Key Ideas
A shorter workweek gives Americans more leisure time.
Cities establish parks for outdoor recreation, and activities like bicycle riding, ice-skating, boating, and watching sports becomes more popular.
History From Visuals
Based on the central illustration, describe the impression Olmsted and Vaux hoped to achieve with Central Park.
Based on the data file, what other leisure activities did Americans pursue at the turn of the century? How could they afford all this leisure while working fewer hours?
Possible Responses: Americans went to the theater, bought records, and joined social clubs. They could afford this because industrialization was creating more higher-paying jobs, leisure time, and affordable goods.