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Company Town Intro

by Taul M 5 months ago in history
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An introduction to company towns

Company Town Intro
Photo by Mr Cup / Fabien Barral on Unsplash

This blog of mine is related to history and stories about small human settlements or towns, allowing you to see the history & function of small settlements people do not think about when they focus on larger countries or organizations. One of the types of smaller townships or settlements with an interesting history that not a lot of people talk about is the company town & how this particular form of settlement came to be a part of mankind's history. So, what is a company town? According the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, a company town is a "community that is dependent on one firm for all or most of the necessary services or functions of town life (such as employment, housing, and stores)". In such a community, almost all of the stores & housing and sometimes utilities are owned by one company and said company is the main source of employment for the town. As stated by the Canadian Encyclopedia, there were plenty of corporate towns with high ideals that try to actually make life better for their residents without simply trying to abuse workers. That being said, many if not most company towns have been - and still are- regarded as controlling and/or exploitative. Some company towns are more or less created in an unplanned manner and can easily collapse due to various issues, but I am getting head of myself. I will be writing plenty of stories on this blog in the future about company towns and similar small corporate settlements, but this will be a general overview that people who know nothing about company towns can refer to when I talk about these types of towns. That way, I do not have to explain what a company town is every single time I mention one in my writings.

Traditionally, company towns were usually put in regions with a lot of raw natural resources are available like coal, metal, and lumber. Now, we have plenty of company towns in various different countries across the planet. Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Japan, Namibia, Poland, Slovakia, Sweden, Ukraine, and the United States. Many company towns got there start with various small company towns existing in Pennsylvania before the American Civil War and the largest one to be created after the civil ware was Pullman. This town was created by a man named George Pullman back in the 1880s. George Pullman was an engineer and an industrialist who created the Pullman sleeping car for trains and founded the company town in order to house his railroad workers who worked for the Pullman Palace Car Company. In this town, Pullman established a list of behavioral standards that he expected his workers to live by. He also charged his employees for rent. This policy came back to bite Pullman in the butt because during the Panic of 1893 (an economic depression that happened in the United States which began in the year 1893 and ended four years later in 1897), which caused the demand for Pullman train cars to reduce.

During this time, Pullman reduced the pay of his workers, but he did not reduce the rent that he expected his employees to pay to live in his little town. All of this led to a massive strike in 1894 that I will cover in another story. After this strike, the town was annexed by the city of Chicago where it remains a neighborhood in the city to this day. This became a start in the popularity of company towns and one of the first company towns to fall due to mistakes made by the companies running them...


About the author

Taul M

Here is my blog for writing mostly about the history of small towns and settlements that people live in smaller than cities!

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