Breathing Space: How Allergies Shape Our Lives and by Gregg Mitman

Aerospace Equipment

By Gregg Mitman

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These men were able to capitalize on the White Mountain scenery in promoting their own careers. As a region on the economic margins of New England, the White Mountains, with thin, rocky soil that was unable to sustain farming as a livelihood, appeared a desolate and primitive landscape to HAY FEVER HOLIDAY early nineteenth-century New Englanders. More civilized landscapes were the preferred tourist attractions on the American Grand Tour, the standard itinerary of America’s well-to-do travelers.

Like his father before him, Ernest Hemingway looked to the streams, forests, and lakeshores of upper Michigan as a place of healing. He had come to know this land as a child, having been brought to the region because of his father’s hay fever. It was a period in which the land withstood shifting human exploitation; from a place of harvest it had become a place of refuge and regeneration. In ‘‘A Big Two-Hearted River,’’ published in 1925, shortly after Hemingway had returned from the horrors of the Great War, the protagonist, Nick Adams, steps off the train in Seney, a former logging town seventy miles northwest of Mackinac Island, only to find it gone, burned to the ground.

59 But none of these efforts matched the marketing campaigns and investments of the Grand Rapids and Indiana Railroad in selling nature’s recreational and healthful benefits as the great harvest of Michigan’s northern forests drew to a close. Known in its day as ‘‘the Fishing Line’’ and the ‘‘Hay Fever Express,’’ the Grand Rapids and Indiana Railroad was the main overland 31 32 HAY FEVER HOLIDAY transportation route along the northwestern shore of Lake Michigan. Committed to making the region a tourist playground, it marketed its route to wealthy anglers, hunters, and hay fever sufferers.

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