It’s time to go back in the financial time-machine again!
This time to 1890 where this magnificent pamphlet was created to help you get more health, wealth and comfort at the turn of the century…
[“Peerless Rockville: How to Get Health, Wealth, Comfort” by Henry N. Copp]
There’s a hidden agenda inside (the publishers want you to buy a lot in their new community they’re building in the countryside!), but sales tactics aside, the financial nuggets in here are always tried and true no matter what century we’re talking about ;)
And the fearmongering littered throughout only makes it that much more interesting, haha…
Here are my favorite clips from it:
On saving money…
“Ninety-nine persons in a hundred can become wealthy only by the old road of economy, and the sooner they make up their minds to this ofttimes disagreeable fact, the better it will be for them.”
“Now, then, where can you economize best? Plainly just where you can get the best health, namely, in the country. The temptations there are expensive dress, costly amusements, and high living are far less than in the city. Americans are ruined by their desire to make as big a spread as their neighbors, to give as large amounts in church, and on subscriptions, orchestra chairs in theatres, &c. The dread of being called mean or penurious is a frequent cause of unnecessary expenditure.”
“Have you ever thought how few people trouble themselves to remember, and nobody cares a picayune, how you dressed five years ago? Do you suppose anybody will think the better of you for wasting your money in the year 1890 or 1891? Whereas, if you save your money and give up your pleasures for a few years, the fact that you are a real estate owner will insure the respect of all your neighbors and acquaintances.”
“Most people want to have “a good time.” It takes only a little while to appreciate the fact that wasting money is not the best kind of “a good time.” There is a joy and comfort to every man and woman in saving a little money every day and every month, to know that if sickness and death come to him he will not be dependent upon charity in the one case, nor will his family be compelled, in the other, to beg from a heartless world.”
On growing wealth…
“The wisest patrimony a man can leave his family is a good sized lot or lots in a growing village near Washington in addition to a life insurance policy. “Land is the basis of wealth,” and the sooner a young or middle-aged man or woman gets hold of real estate, the sooner will he or she become wealthy and the larger will be his or her estate at death.”
“To make a profitable investment, one must buy where people will make their homes. In other words, a profitable investment can only be made in a locality that will some time be occupied by houses. This is the sure and only test. A person who buys lots simply because they are cheap, frequently would do better to put his money in the fire, as there he would not have to pay taxes on it.”
“Look at a few figures: 75 cents a foot is about the lowest price for a lot on the city outskirts. 3,000 feet cost $2,250. About the cheapest brick house that can be put up for an ordinary family will cost $3,500. Total $5,750. Annual interest $345; taxes, water, and repairs not less than $25 more. Here is a monthly cost of $30 or interest and taxes. How is a man on a small salary to pay the principal? Allowing $20 a month on the principal, more than 0 years will be required to own his own house in the city.”
“Now see how easily a man can acquire a home in a suburban village. A lot 50 x 175 feet can be bought for $400 (from 3 to 5 cents a foot) in a desirable locality near a growing town at $5 a month, frequently without interest and no taxes until paid for. A handsome frame house with 6 to 8 rooms can be put up for $2,500, payable $30 a month. Here is a monthly expense of about $35, allowing $6 a month for car fare (which is less than he will usually spend on horse cars in the city), the purchaser will be spending less than $45 a month, or about what he now wastes, yes, wastes, in rent. In six to eight years he will have a proud satisfaction of owning his own home. And these few years will pass quickly and pleasantly. Keep in mind the fact that they will be sure to pass whether he buys or rents.”
On the unhealthiness of city living…
“Do you appreciate what is ruining your eyesight? Do you know the cause of that constant irritation in your throat? Are you aware why your ears require attention so frequently? The fine dust arising from the asphalt pavements is doing much to injure the delicate membranes of the eyes, throats, and ears of Washington residents.”
“Hundreds of cubic yards of sewer gas are arising into the atmosphere hourly. The thousands of chimneys are belching forth tons of poisonous gases into the air daily. The Potomac water is often slimy and brown with mud and all that it implies.”
“Walking on hard sidewalks jars and irritates the spine, physicians say, and affects the nerves generally. the many and varied noises of a city are said to be the cause, to a considerable extent, of insomnia and other nervous troubles.
“How about the children? Why have they thin hair, saucer-like eyes, sunken cheeks, and emaciated arms and legs? A few months in the country will generally show that it is not a lack of constitution, but the destructive environment of city life, that gives them their present unhealthy appearance.”
On the unhealthiness of city outskirts living…
“What refined lady wants to buy a house near a dirty shanty whence lice, bed-bugs, roaches, and other vermin are likely to overrun her household? What man wants his children to associate with the unfortunate offspring of dirty, ignorant, profane, and riotous neighbors? Living near them, his children must be polluted by the contact.”
“By purchasing within Washington’s limits, on the outskirts, among freight-yards, brick-yards, pig-pens, &c., you can save all railroad fare — every cent of it; and after enduring such nuisances for twenty years or so, until the growth of the city sweeps them away, you will be the owner of some valuable property, even if your children all die in the meantime.”
On the unhealthiness of low valley living…
“It is surprising to hear people, apparently otherwise sensible, say, “Malaria doesn’t affect me.” Such a person ought to hunt out some small-pox or yellow fever locality to live in. There would be just about as much good judgement displayed. A man who will deliberately take his wife and children into a malarious neighborhood to live ought to be sent to an asylum for the feeble-minded.”
So where are sensible, good judgement displaying people best to live?
“A location in cool Rockville, 500 feet above Washington, promotes sound sleep at night during the summer. Mind and body are so refreshed next day as to enable a man to think and work fast, and make more money than he otherwise would. This is only the immediate money-value of the case. When health and social advantages are compared with the inducements held out by other localities, Rockville will persuade thoughtful people every time. And nice, sensible, thoughtful people are the ones the West End Park desires to secure for residents.”
“Not the least of the many advantages which Rockville possesses is the cheapness of living compared with the same expenses in Washington. It is in the midst of a rich farming country. Milk, eggs, butter, fruit, and produce are sold at much lower prices, and, mark you, how fresh and pure they are. This fact is worth more than money. It costs but little to keep a cow and to raise chickens. In a good sized family, these four articles of food — milk, butter eggs, and poultry — go a long way towards maintenance.”
“In addition, when the temptations to spend money presented in every show window in Washington and by every poster on its walls are removed, the economy of Rockville living is decidedly increased.”
“It has 1 National Bank; 3 newspapers and printing offices; 3 hotels; 8 boarding houses; 6 general stores; 1 grocery story; 1 dry goods store; 2 drug stores; 1 jewelry store; 1 furniture store; 1 millinery store; 2 tin and stove stores; 2 meat stores; 1 tobacco and cigar store; 1 barber shop; 1 tailor shop; 3 blacksmith shops; 1 ice cream saloon and bakery; 4 livery stables; 2 wood and coal yards; 2 building associations; 3 real estate agencies; 3 painters and frescoers; 2 paperhangers; 5 contractors and builders; 3 shoemakers; 2 harness maker and carriage trimmer; 2 dentists; 1 civil engineer and surveyor; 2 undertakers; 1 monument works; 3 allopathic and 1 homeopathic physicians; 11 lawyers; 8 churches; and 5 public schools.”
“The pleasures as well as the advantages of a home in the country cannot well be over-estimated; the bracing atmosphere, freedom from the heat, noise, dust, and crowds of the city, the pure and health-giving water, the bright emerald of the fields, trees, the fragrant flowers, the seclusion where genuine rest may be found, and where the children may sport in unrestricted happiness, present attractions that must strongly appeal to every thoughtful person.”
So there you have it :) Move to the country, avoid malaria and saucer-like eyes, keep your children alive, and sleep peacefully under the stars while you’re health and wealth are all the better for it, haha…
If anyone wants to pick up a copy of this titillating 24 page document, you can score it for the princely sum of $1.99 at Rockville’s historical society, and then take a stroll through this no-longer-countryside hamlet to see what the fuss was about ;)
Lots of changes go down in 100 years, but the foundations of money always stay the same! It really isn’t that complicated!
For more fun time warps, see:
- Lessons of Thrift From 1875
- 46 Tips To Save You Time, Money, and Trouble (From The 1950’s!)
- Save Your Dimes, Enjoy Better Times!