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Coal company towns as early American suburbs. An examination of standardized community construction in Appalachian work camps

Author(s): Robert Carl DeMuth ; David N. Fuerst

Year: 2014

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Summary

Similar to the construction of modern suburbs, the houses in American work camps were often built in according to standardized plans such that each house in the town was the same. This study argues that this standardization exists, usually but not always, as a result of the coal companies desire to create housing options for their employees as cheaply and efficiently as possible in an otherwise remote area. This idea of cheaply and efficiently built housing is a trait that is often mirrored in our social understanding of modern suburbs.We use multiple lines of evidence to explore this standardization process by examine the roles of governing and administrative bodies that created these towns, as well as how this standardization process affected Appalachian mining families. Additionally, this study examines the similarities and differences between these coal towns and modern suburbs both in their construction techniques and the social functions they serve.


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Coal company towns as early American suburbs. An examination of standardized community construction in Appalachian work camps. Robert Carl DeMuth, David N. Fuerst. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. 2014 ( tDAR id: 437412)


Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): POS-99,01

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America