During the 1880's, wealthy people had extensive leisure time and the means to enjoy it. They sought out seaside (and lakeside) resorts to escape the heat of pre-air conditioning cities. In 1881, most of the southern portion of Campobello Island was acquired by a consortium of Boston and New York businessmen who, intending to develop the area as a fashionable resort, constructed three luxurious hotels. Pictured above are the Tyn-y-Coed hotel at left, and the Tyn-y-Maes at right.
Hotel brochures touted the favorable climate, the clean, bracing, salt-tinged, balsam-scented air and the abundant scenic beauty. Brochures also espoused unequaled boating (sailboats, rowing, canoes with Passamaquoddy Indian guides), enjoyable excursions by land and sea, and relief from hay fever. The Canadian and American press promoted Campobello as a summer resort.
Families from New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Ottawa, and Montreal came to Campobello’s hotels by private yacht, steamship, and train for extended summer vacations. Several of the families, including Franklin Roosevelt’s parents, James and Sara Roosevelt, liked the area so much that they purchased land. They then either refurbished existing houses or built new, large “cottages”.
Five of those turn-of-the-century cottages remain, and today make up the historic core of the Roosevelt Campobello International Park. The FDR summer home is the Park’s centerpiece, and the Prince, Hubbard, Wells-Shober, and Johnston Cottages provide meeting space, dining facilities, and lodging for guests of the Commission’s conference program.