America’s Company Towns, Then and Now #ManufacturingMonday

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Interesting read from SmithsonianMag on America’s manufacturing towns.

During the Industrial Revolution, company towns—communities built by businesses—sprouted up across the country. For anyone who wants to tour what remains of them today, it’s helpful to remember two things. First, as Hardy Green, author of The Company Town: The Industrial Edens and Satanic Mills That Shaped the American Economy, says, these places ranged from the awful to the enviable. Towns built by coal companies, for example, were often more on the prison camp end of the spectrum in terms of poverty and abuse. Meanwhile, settlements like Hershey, Pennsylvania, built by the Hershey chocolate company, were meant to be closer to paradise—to woo workers with fancy amenities rather than mistreat them.

Read more.

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