In the summer of 1904, readers of the classified ads in The Boston Globe would inevitably come across numerous ads for summer boarding houses located in the more rural areas outside of Boston. Promising an escape from the crowded, hot city, operators of boarding houses were able to generate additional income, and possibly even exchange room and board for some chores on the farm. An unidentified "private family" in Windham ran the simplest of ads, promising just a "quiet place, plenty of milk". While we'll likely never know how successful this one line ad was, it's basic amenities would certainly have appealed to some. Many of those running boarding houses in Windham were a bit more verbose and complete with their advertisements. At Beaver Brook Farm, F. L. Mottram rented a "limited" number of rooms at the bargain rate of $7 per week. For $7 a vacationer from the city could enjoy "attractive surroundings, abundant shade", conveniently located near a train station in West Windham.
$7 seems to have been the going rate at that time, as other boarding houses in town rented rooms at that low price. What bought pleasant surroundings and shade at Beaver Brook Farm would have also paid for a week's stay at Brookside Farm in West Windham. Brookside offered not only a "pleasant location", but amenities including a "good table", a piano, "large airy rooms", nearby fishing and boating, as well as "church accommodations." Moving across town, $7 also paid for a week at Elm Farm. For just $1 per day, boarders at Mrs. Kane's Elm Farm were treated to "good milk, eggs, cream, berries" as well as a piano and "free" church accommodations, and even a telephone connection! The lure of a few days in the country at a farmhouse endured for decades, as although the ads mentioned above date from the first quarter of the twentieth century, newspaper ads seeking summer boarders appeared in newspapers as far back as the 1880s. In that decade an unidentified Windham resident, with post office box #75, advertised "fun and comfort" and asked that interested parties inquired for more information.
Derek Saffie is an avid Windham historian who enjoys researching and sharing his collection with all those interested in the history of the New England town.