Monday, April 2, 2007

Samuel Leavitt, "A Hotel and Cottage Association"

Samuel Leavitt, "A Hotel and Cottage Association," The American Socialist, Jan 31, 1878; 3, 5;

A HOTEL AND COTTAGE ASSOCIATION.

New York. Jan. 22. 1878.

W. A. HINDS—Dear Sir: In answer to your questions I reply: A large number of persons were ready to join the Potomac Colony from many States. In one Ohio village alone thirty meet weekly to prepare for the undertaking. But when we in New York found that the friends at Washington were determined that the affair should be only a matter of business, we did not dare to summon our correspondents. As most of those interested had become so through us, the announcement in my paper that we had disagreed with the Washington people naturally brought the undertaking to naught. Messrs. Daniels and Durant made no effort to keep that movement up, and we formed the “Peacemaker Society,” which bides its time, but will attempt nothing hastily.

We were tempted, contrary to our better judgment, by the offer of Mr. Daniel’s place, to essay a big, sudden movement. I trust that we will not be induced again to venture on an attempt at integral association that is other than a slow, sure growth from a perfectly harmonious nucleus of persons who, while aiming practically, and secondarily, at material prosperity, make moral and spiritual growth their first consideration. Keeping this idea steadily in view, we are cautiously preparing to establish a gathering-place of progressive people near this city, which, while remaining a permanent and pleasant home for persons who do not wish to venture into integral life, will enable those who desire to form that intimate acquaintance with other Socialists which should precede the establishment of a unitary home.—to see each other eye to eye for a sufficient length of time.

The spot chosen for our “Hotel aid Cottage Association” is a tract of twenty acres called Falls Glen, situated, not as some suppose on the low lands near Plain- field, N. J., but in a sort of “happy valley,” watered by two mill-streams, hill-sheltered and abounding in beautiful scenery, both level and rugged, in that spur of the Orange mountains which presents its bold front close by the village of Scotch Plains or Fanwood, on the New Jersey Central Railroad, twenty miles from New York. This is the nearest approach of the mountains to the metropolis in that direction; and this Washington valley is famous as a place where New York and Brooklyn people who are drifting into consumption can speedily recuperate.

The land, two mill-dams (sixty horse-power when united), old mill, two dwellings, etc., are owned by that veteran associationist, Tappan Townsend, who first fixed my mind on Socialism twenty-five years ago, by his earnest advocacy of it in Spiritualistic meetings. I will not burden your readers, who are well-informed on associative methods, with minute particulars of our programme. These are given in my Eclectic and Peacemaker, copies of which will be sent to inquirers. The following items will suffice; We contemplate going only one step beyond those eminent conservatives who bought a strip of laud at Long Branch and divided it into cottage lots, except a central plot upon which they built a unitary house, where they have kitchens laundries, parlors, billiard and smoking rooms, etc., for the use of the lot-holders. The only striking feature we will add will be suites of rooms in the central buildings for those who prefer such to cottages. One-third of the plot will be reserved for Cooperative uses, including a union store and stables. The rest will be in cottage lots, the owners of which will be free to use and sell them at will, subject to no more restrictions than obtain in any “village park” such as “Rutherford.” As soon as we have contributors enough to buy the place out and out including a large share retained by Mr. Townsend, we will form a Cooperative Society and bring the place and plan to the notice of the general public, by giving the facts to the papers. Meanwhile we want a few more subscribers to the original purchase. The place is very cheap. It would be useless for us to disclaim any speculative object in this connection. Those at least who know J. K. Ingalls will be assured that while he is a principal figure in the movement speculation will be absent. Visitors to the city will find Messrs. Wood and Holbrook of the Hygienic Hotel well informed about this movement. And by the way, and finally, a “Sanitarium” is among the proposed features.

Yours etc., SAMUEL LEAVITT.

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