Lowell was the first company town in America, and some say its “utopian” model was soon forgotten. Not so, I say: The Lowell model, from its use of young women workers living in dorms to its strict “moral code,” influenced other company towns, from Gary, Indiana, to Oak Ridge, Tennessee. I’ll post my remarks on this blog in days to come.
The history of company towns in the United States featured many labor battles fought over intertwined issues of wages and living conditions. So it was in Pullman, Ill., where in 1894 a strike broke out over wage cuts–and high rents at company-owned housing.