The Company Town in the American West

The Company Town in the American West

The Company Town in the American West

The Company Town in the American West

Excerpt

A visitor in the historic Puget Sound region looking for the original site of old Fort Nisqually, built by the Hudson's Bay Company in 1833, would find himself in an attractive forest of Douglas firs near a small lake.Suddenly he would emerge into an attractive little village of approximately four hundred population. This is the town of DuPont which, from 1906 to 1950, was wholly owned and operated by E. I. Du Pont de Nemours and Company for the benefit of employees working at the company's powder plant.Near the Ammonium Nitrate Storage Building the visitor would find a bronze tablet marking the original location of Fort Nisqually.

The community of DuPont is of special interest for reasons other than its historic location.The neat wooden homes, all of similar architectural design, the isolated location, the now abandoned community hall, the rectangular layout, and the obvious domination of the town by one company are all marks of the typical company town in the American West.Perhaps hundreds of similar tiny communities, all owned outright by particular companies, have come and gone in the Western states.These towns have been created to support a variety of industries. DuPont belonged to a powder company.More common were scores of lumber communities which have dotted the forests of the Northwest, as well as those of California and Idaho.Coal-mining companies in Colorado, Utah, and New Mexico have built and operated many towns, and copper mining has contributed such towns to the states of Montana, Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico.Companies mining . . .

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