Whats a Company Town

Arvida, Quebec was developed in 1927 as a corporate city. The city grew to a population of about 14,000, four Catholic parishes and many other denominations, parishes and schools. It was known as “the city built in 135 days”. [34] Svit in Slovakia was founded in 1934 by industrialist Jan Antonín Baťa in accordance with his policy of creating well-organized model communities for his workers and other employees. This city (like other corporate cities in Baťa) was also an example of social engineering. Today, you can visit the city for free all year round and get a glimpse of another era. Although the cities undertaken are most closely associated with coal mining, it should be noted that they existed in a number of other industries. For example, Homestead, Pennsylvania, was a town adjacent to the Homestead steel mill. Similarly, Pullman, Illinois was a company town for workers employed at the factory that manufactured the Pullman railroad cars. Because of the significant and ongoing labour disputes associated with the coal industry, interest has been focused, both historically and scientifically, on coal company towns.

When the steel industry was no longer a magnet, Marktown fell on hard times and faced various demolition threats from the 1950s to the 1970s. Although it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975, residents are still allowed to sell their homes and properties to outside companies such as British Petroleum who have been looking to buy land for five years. Located about 30 miles north of Boston, Lowell, Massachusetts is considered the first planned corporate city in the United States. The town was incorporated in 1826, four years after the construction of the first large textile factory on the site. The location was chosen because of its proximity to a waterfall, which is needed to power the looms in the mills. The town`s founders recruited young single women from rural areas to work in textile factories. They lived in boarding houses and were expected to lead a “moral” life in Lowell, which included going to church. When George M. Pullman, president of Pullman`s Palace Car Company, decided to build a city for its workers, he wanted it to be a model for all the other cities in the company. The idea was to create a village and housing for its workers, which would be of a higher standard than most workers` housing.

He also wanted to satisfy his workers to prevent them from striking. While it was a solid plan, it didn`t really work: Pullman, Illinois, was built between 1880 and 1884, and its workers went on strike in 1894, which became a turning point for the American labor movement. Corporate cities declined as an institution as cars and highways became more common. As the Coal Commission noted in 1923, the company`s cities were confined to newly populated areas and thus isolated from earlier settlement patterns. As areas became more populated and connected to transportation networks, cities declined. Many former company towns were simply abandoned when the mines were closed. Others have become incorporated or unincorporated municipalities. Former corporate cities like Homestead are now suburbs of cities like Pittsburgh. Anniston, Alabama, on the other hand, began as a corporate city and was transformed into a public city. Grace Gates documents this transition and describes the role of industry and trade diversification in this transformation. The need for workers to live close to their place of work ended with the development of modern transport networks.

In March 2021, Elon Musk announced plans to integrate the Boca Chica area in the far southeast of Texas, the site of a SpaceX rocket manufacturing and launch facility, as a “Starbase” city. Some have cited SpaceX`s plans and existing operations in the area as an example of a corporate city. [45] [46] Unlike other Appalachian mining towns that were hastily built and never really developed, Lynch was created as a model city with all the infrastructure, health facilities, and recreational activities needed to sustain it in the 21st century. Today you can tour the city as well as Portal 31, Kentucky`s first coal mine. A guard watches over a company town in Alabama, 1937. At its peak, there were more than 2,500 corporate cities, home to 3% of the U.S. population. The enterprises that exploited the cities were mainly labor-intensive enterprises such as coal, steel, timber and various war industries. Most of the people who lived in these cities were immigrants who were new to the country.

[36] Companies that exercised strict and paternalistic control over residents` behaviour and even opinions caused problems and concerns. [37] In the late nineteenth century, model business cities emerged when enlightened industrialists realized that many working poor were living in appalling conditions. [10] These industrialists wanted to fight against the unhealthy and overcrowded conditions common in working-class neighborhoods in order to create better living conditions for workers. [11] Model cities such as Port Sunlight (1888) and Bournville (1895) had an influence in terms of construction and design innovations. It is said that the ideas that emerge from these model cities have a significant influence on the garden city movement. [3] [12] In the 1920s, the spread of the automobile meant that workers no longer had to live close to their workplaces and now had access to more employment opportunities. A combination of the freedom that came with private transportation and mass communication of broadcasting meant that the isolation of corporate cities diminished and the social base of the corporate city became less necessary. Company house leases, which miners rented to some extent, regulated property rights in these company towns. These leases were also something like “tied” contracts, as miners rented their homes as long as they were employed by the company or at least had a good relationship with it. Leases generally allowed for early termination, typically five days, rather than longer notice periods.

Many leases prevented non-employees from living or entering the company`s apartments. In some leases, companies reserved the right to enter the property and to enact and enforce regulations on the roads leading to the property. Until 1907, all apartments were privately owned. After its possible demolition in 1960, residents banded together to save the city, and it remains a residential community and historic site. Visitors can now take walks around the city to learn more about its past, present and future. Some corporate cities had high ideals, but many were seen as controlling and/or exploiting. [1] Others have developed more or less unexpectedly, such as Summit Hill, Pennsylvania, USA, one of the oldest, which began as an LC&N Co. mining camp. and mine site nine miles (14.5 km) from the nearest outer road. After buying the Grand-Hornu mining concession in 1810, Frenchman Henri De Gorge quickly realized the need to accommodate the growing workforce of his expanding company. He commissioned the architect François Obin and, after his death, Bruno Renard to build a functional complex in neoclassical style.

Grand-Hornu became one of the first purpose-built business cities in the world. It was abandoned in 1954 after the mine closed and currently houses a museum of contemporary art as well as temporary exhibitions. Grand-Hornu is one of the four industrial sites in Wallonia declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2012. To create the perfect city for his workers, Kohler hired the Olmsted Brothers, the landscape architecture firm behind Central Park in New York City. The village was designed to include lots of green space, several parks, playgrounds and a natural amphitheatre. However, government observers claimed that Pullman`s principles were correct, as he offered his employees a quality of life that was otherwise inaccessible to them, but realized that his excessive paternalism was unsuited to a large business economy and thus caused the downfall of the city. As a result, government observers and social reformers saw the need for a balance between control and well-designed cities, concluding that a model operating city would only succeed if independent professionals acting as a buffer between employers and employees played a role in the design, planning, and management of those cities. [6] Although economically prosperous, corporate cities have sometimes failed politically due to a lack of elected officials and municipal services. [3] As a result, workers often had no say in local affairs and therefore felt dictated.

Ultimately, this political climate caused resentment among workers and led many residents to lose their long-term affection for their cities. this was the case with Pullman. The model business city is about creating a productive and successful business. Enlightened industrialists believed that this could be achieved by creating a healthier living environment for their employees.