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By Lawrence Culver

Southern California has lengthy been promoted because the playground of the realm, the house of resort-style dwelling, yard pools, and year-round suntans. Tracing the historical past of Southern California from the overdue 19th century throughout the overdue 20th century, The Frontier of Leisure unearths how this zone did even more than simply create lavish lodges like Santa Catalina Island and Palm Springs--it actually remade American attitudes in the direction of relaxation. Lawrence Culver indicates how this "culture of relaxation" steadily took carry with an more and more huge workforce of usa citizens, and finally manifested itself in suburban advancements through the Sunbelt and around the usa. He additional exhibits that as Southern Californians promoted resort-style dwelling, additionally they inspired humans to show inward, clear of public areas and towards their deepest houses and groups. Impressively researched, a desirable and full of life learn, this finely nuanced background connects Southern Californian game and relaxation to bigger old issues, together with nearby improvement, structure and concrete making plans, race family, Indian coverage, politics, suburbanization, and altering perceptions of nature.

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Extra resources for The Frontier of Leisure: Southern California and the Shaping of Modern America

Sample text

In Southern California, bypassed by the Gold Rush, Mexican California lingered. There the rancho economy held on until a severe drought in the 1860s, mercenary Anglo land speculators, and increasing property taxes gradually led to the loss of most Californio holdings. The interior Southwest attracted even less Anglo interest. After the elation of conquest, Americans discovered that much of the new territory they had conquered seemed a vast and desolate disappointment. Patches of arable land lured agricultural settlers to places such as the Salt River Valley, where a small settlement emerged in the 1860s near the future site of Phoenix, and later on copper drew mining interests to Apache-dominated southern Arizona and New Mexico.

Like many other Anglos, his depiction of elite Californio life in Santa Barbara and other towns was essentially an endless 18 • THE FRONTIER OF LEISURE fiesta of dances, games, and leisure. The brutal racialized labor system of the rancho economy, adopted from the mission labor system it replaced, was anything but carefree, and bore more than a passing resemblance to the slave labor system of the American South. Dana did note the plight of Indians in Mexican California, perhaps foreshadowing the abolitionist views he would later espouse.

These areas, in addition to being those most likely to be appreciated by Eastern urbanites and tourists steeped in the Romantic affinity for sublime mountain vistas, were also the places most accessible by train or boat. The Southwest, in contrast, warranted little attention. When Southern California appeared at all in such texts, it was as a remote and exotic realm, with a balmy “tropical” climate. ”5 20 • THE FRONTIER OF LEISURE More substantial guides to Southern California offered more detail, but also touted the region’s aura of tropical verdure.

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