HAVANA, CUBA — Cuba is naturally a wonderfully fertile and productive island, blessed with a charming climate and delightful scenery. But, as in many other portions of the world, man has too frequently undone and spoiled all that indulgent Nature has so lavished here. Insurrections, revolutions and conflicts with Spanish soldiery have ruined many miles of territory once covered with large estates of sugar, coffee and tobacco. What the city of Havana might become commercially under more favorable conditions can be easily imagined, when we consider its own beautiful situation and the marvelously rich country behind it, of which it is the natural gateway. Excellent steamers now bring the traveler from New York in four days to this lovely bay on which Havana is located. So popular has this trip become that good hotels have been constructed here, which in the winter months are often crowded with foreigners. The view across the harbor from some of the upper rooms of these hotels is of great beauty. Of course Havana is essentially Spanish in architecture, customs, language and amusements. Bull Fights are as much the delight of the Habaneros as of the inhabitants of Madrid and Seville; and famous Matadors come over here from Spain to win new laurels in Cuba, as European Opera Singers cross the Atlantic to New York. As is well known, in Cuba are produced the finest specimens of the tobacco plant which the word knows, and a genuine “Havana” is almost an. object of devotion to every lover of the “fragrant weed.” (from John L. Stoddard, Glimpses of the world; a portfolio of photographs of the marvelous works of God and man – 1892)



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