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Two in a canoe: $ 20 fine

The appearance in America of the first recreational canoe caused a stir among the youth. The police had to patrol urban waters and issue fines for couples for indecent behavior. About the times, about morals …
Canoedling – new romance on the water
For nearly a century in the United States dominated the fashion of dating in a canoe. Lovers conquered nearby waters with enthusiasm of salmon, seeking to spawn upstream. The scandalous rendezvous received the unofficial name “canoedling” – from the German “knuddeln”, which means “strong arms”.

“Canoeing at that time was the best way to have a good time with your girlfriend. Of course, you can prefer cycling, but the boat is the real thing! ”, Says collector Roger Young.
In the Old City will be hot!

On the background of rapid industrialization and urbanization, such concepts as “leisure” and “weekend” appeared. “Over the weekend, the townspeople wondered what to do, and the taxi drivers eagerly drove them to the local waters where they could ride canoes,” says Benson Gray, great-grandson of the founder of Old Town Canoe.
Companies Old Town Canoe, Kennebec and White were flourishing and justly enjoyed their success. It was here that designs of love boats were invented and the coziest canoes were created. Perhaps the famous slogan “There’ll be a hot time in the Old Town tonight!” (“Today it will be hot in the Old Town!”) Accurately captures the essence of the whole story: there is as much romantic in it as it is funny.
The “love canoe” of those times was different from the current boats designed for active summer holidays. They were designed specifically for pleasant private walks. There is everything you need for a wonderful date: a few soft pillows, an umbrella, a lantern, a picnic basket and a gramophone with plates, for what kind of romance without music?
In the photo: “Girl’s canoe” is a typical example of a comfortable dating boat. It was built in 1904 by Peterborough Canoe, and is now on display at the Canadian Canoe Museum.
In 1880 the American Canoe Association was founded, regattas and informal rowing competitions were held more and more often. Began mass production of boats, which halved their price.
In 1893, the World’s Fair was held in Chicago, which was visited by 27 million people. The public saw various designs and types of boats, and soon in the parks of the country began to appear with sprint speed rowing clubs and rental centers. In 1897, Norumbegá Park was opened on the Charles River in the vicinity of Boston.
“Thousands of people, young and not so, sought to get into the water. There were so many who wished that it seemed as if it were possible to cross the river without wetting the legs — just stepping from canoe to canoe, ”says Roger Young.

A postcard from 1906 advertises canoeing walks along the Charles River near Boston. Then two photos of 1907, from a concert at the Grand Canal (Belle Isle Park, Detroit). The last photo is Lake Calhoun, circa 1912.
A souvenir brochure lures you on a boat trip on the Charles River:

“Let you be lucky to be in the evening on the river and watch the sunset, fireworks or a concert. You will see canoes decorated with Japanese lanterns with taste, you will hear the sounds of guitar strings … It will take quite a bit of imagination to imagine yourself in a magical land. ” In addition, there are a dozen ads from chocolate merchants in the brochure. Not a date, but a tasty morsel!
The history of canoe trips began innocently – with poetry and serenades, but as time went on, it became more and more frivolous. In 1903, the advocates of morality felt something was wrong, because although dozens of boats on the water seemed empty, in fact serious passions were running high. “If the canoes could tell what horrible stories they would have told,” one of the ministers grinned, commenting on the situation for the Boston newspaper.

The guardians of the order banned lovers from kissing in boats, and for the next two years 37 couples were fined. The audience reacted with irony to the new rules, and soon another mocking article appeared in the Boston Herald newspaper:
The idea of ​​a canoe ride with a pretty lady is not so vicious, but we are still warned about the risk … The arrest and a $ 20 fine are the price of a passionate kiss in the Riverside area. (today would be about $ 500). Considering the tariff, it can be assumed that the total cost of kisses in this popular place on a warm Saturday night surpasses the million dollars. ”
Minneapolis is the largest city in the state of Minnesota, the generally recognized American “capital of lakes”. In 1910, the city park administration issued 200 permits for pleasure boats, and in two years already 2,000 pieces.

The Minneapolis Tribune newspaper sounded the alarm: “The indecent behavior of couples in canoes is rampant, which can disgrace the city and cast doubt on the value of the lake as a resting place.”

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