Submitted by Resident Archivist, Deb Ross – May 2020
In the next couple installments of Looking Back at Panorama we’ll spend some time with the well-known watercolor of the David and Elizabeth Chambers farm, by artist Edward Lange. The painting was likely created some time in the 1890s. We are looking roughly south from Willow Street; the southern lobe of Chambers Lake is visible as a sliver of blue in the distance. The homestead was at the current site of the Chalet building. If you look closely, you’ll see two women in bicycles wheeling around the driveway to the home. A Smithsonian article stressed the importance of the bicycle craze to women’s empowerment in the 1890s:
Bicycles extended women’s mobility outside the home. A woman didn’t need a horse to come and go as she pleased, whether to work outside the home or participate in social causes. Those who had been confined by Victorian standards for behavior and attire could break conventions and get out of the house.
Suffragist Susan B Anthony said that the bicycle “did more to emancipate women than anything in the world.”
For your own closer look at the painting, stop by the interpretive panel outside the Chalet.