Friday, November 18, 2011

Winter Park Homes

During the Gilded Age the United States was making an extreme shift from an agricultural society to an urban one. During this shift new markets came into play that gave the upper class a place to shop during their leisure time. With new stores and businesses popping up, Winter Park became a consumerist society that relied on these shops to better the community. Winter Park was growing along with the rest of the nation, leaving behind the old agrarian ways and putting forth new modes of transportation, living, and business.

The homes in Winter Park today and in the gilded age represent how consumerism struck the nation so profoundly. Your home became your showcase. The home was now a place to show who were the haves and the have nots. If the woman of the house could stay home and cook and clean all day, that meant that the husband was making enough so that she didn't have to work. This showed that the family was stable in the sense that they didn't feel both parents needed to work to survive. Within the homes, furniture and decorative accessories showcased your status. If a family had multiple bedrooms, a living size kitchen, furniture, a nice clock, pictures in frames and other appliances in their home it showed where they stood on the social ladder. Later on when radios changed to televisions this was another showcase of what you had just by walking into someone’s house. Because Winter Park became a place for the vacationer as well as the businessman, it needed to be a "pretty" place that people wanted to visit. The way to do this was to separate the ugly houses from the rich houses, creating a divide between the Whites and minorities.

Because people were moving from the farm to the city, consumer goods became necessary to live. In the city appliances were needed to cook and maintain the quality of food. There was no more room to grow your own and so markets and grocery stores became a necessity for the new city of Winter Park. This also became the woman’s new domain. They were the ones that went out and bought what the family needed to survive, using the money their husbands had made by working. Once this consumer society started, there was no stopping it. As long as people are willing and able to buy, Winter Park will continue to flourish.

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