Morgan Park: Duluth, U.S. Steel, and the Forging of a Company Town

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Overview

From 1915 to 1971 the large U.S. Steel plant was a major part of Duluth’s landscape and life. Just as important was Morgan Park—an innovatively planned and close-knit community constructed for the plant’s employees and their families. In this new book Arnold R. Alanen brings to life Morgan Park, the formerly company-controlled town that now stands as a city neighborhood, and the U.S. Steel plant for which it was built.

 

Planned by renowned landscape architects, architects, and engineers, and provided with schools, churches, and recreational and medical services by U.S. Steel, Morgan Park is an iconic example—like Lowell, Massachusetts, and Pullman, Illinois—of a twentieth-century company town, as well as a window into northeastern Minnesota’s industrial roots.

 

Starting with the intense political debates that preceded U.S. Steel’s decision to build a plant in Duluth, Morgan Park follows the town and its residents through the boom years to the closing of the outmoded facility—an event that foreshadowed industrial shutdowns elsewhere in the United States—and up to today, as current residents work to preserve the community’s historic character.

 

Through compelling archival and contemporary photographs and vibrant stories of a community built of concrete and strong as steel, Alanen shows the impact both the plant and Morgan Park have had on life in Duluth.

 

Arnold R. Alanen is professor of landscape architecture at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. His previous books include Main Street Ready-Made: The New Deal Community of Greendale, Wisconsin and Preserving Cultural Landscapes in America. 

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780816641376
  • Publisher: University of Minnesota Press
  • Publication date: 1/26/2008
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 1,373,828
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments     ix
Preface     xiii
Introduction: Model Company Towns in America, 1800-1914     1
A Steel Plant and a Company Town, 1907-1915
The Economics and Politics of Iron Ore and Big Steel     21
Building a Steel Plant: Recession, Indecision, and War     33
Neighborhood Housing from Gary to Oliver     56
The Emergence of a Model Company Town     71
Working and Living in Morgan Park, 1916-1929
Stability and Prosperity for U.S. Steel     109
The Complete Company Town     137
Engineering the Good Life     182
From Despair to Prosperity, 1930-1945
Struggling for Work during the 1930s     219
Getting By and Making Do     231
More Steel for Another War     240
No More Company Housing     254
Closing a Steel Plant but Preserving a Community, 1946-2006
Six Strikes to Shutdown     263
Preserving the Model Town     278
Notes     299
Index     327
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