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Mine TownsBuildings for Workers in Michigan's Copper Country$
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Alison K. Hoagland

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780816665662

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816665662.001.0001

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Acquiring Conveniences

Acquiring Conveniences

Water, Heat, and Light

(p.128) 4 Acquiring Conveniences
Mine Towns

Alison K. Hoagland

University of Minnesota Press

This chapter discusses the amenities that tenants demanded, such as household utilities. Before attaining these conveniences, tenants pumped water, did laundry, stored firewood, and used the privy, all in their yards—revealing them as places of work as well as play. A set of correspondence in which tenants requested running water, indoor toilets, and electricity from the general manager of Calumet & Hecla—the most profitable company in the Copper Country region—provides a rare glimpse of how workers wrote about their houses, showing to some extent how they thought about them. Similarly, the autocratic way in which management meted out these perquisites is revealing—the availability of utilities had become a mark of class. The upper management might concern themselves with the presence of these conveniences within their captains’ homes, but they did not extend that same concern toward their rank-and-file employees.

Keywords:   Calumet & Hecla, household utilities, management, conveniences, tenants, amenities, Copper Country

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