In the late nineteenth century, Americans (especially in the growing middle class) had more leisure time than ever before. They used their time in a variety of ways: hobbies, travel, and sports. For the working class, this meant bicycling and going to amusement parks in the summer. For the middle class, tennis, golf, and boating were attractive pursuits.
This was as true in small cities as large. For example, by 1886, Syracuse, New York had its own sailing club – the Onondaga Yacht Club, which still exists today. The definition of “yacht” has grown since then to include power boats, kayaks, Sunfish, and catamarans, but the appeal of water and sunshine is as strong as ever.