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Thousands of Americans at the turn of the 20th century sought to escape temporarily from what they saw as the negative aspects of industrialization--overcrowding, stress, and a sense of disconnection from nature. The New England Spiritualist Association acquired the Lake Pleasant property in 1876. Reduced railway fares and its Spiritualist connections lured thousands of Spiritualists to Lake Pleasant in Montague, Massachusetts, each summer to enjoy boating, walking, and visiting in the camp's relaxed atmosphere. The Lake Pleasant community flourished into the 20th century, attracting thousands of people each summer who enjoyed its beautiful waters, musical entertainment, lectures, and seances. Spiritualism gathered adherents from various religious denominations, but was most attractive to the more radically reform-minded who believed in the perfectibility of mankind. This view of the street at Lake Pleasant reveals how many campers over the years replaced their simple tents with more elaborate but still-rustic cottages.
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