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Old 09-05-2017, 11:20 AM
 
Location: Pittsburgh, PA (Morningside)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ckhthankgod View Post
6 may be a selective small town/city with corporate headquarters like Corning Incorporated in Corning NY or Whirlpool in the Benton Harbor/St. Joseph MI. Such places may be the exception in terms of what they offer for their size.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corning_Inc.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whirlpool_Corporation
The thing is, they only last as long as the corporations last - and corporations aren't forever. At some point it's likely they will be acquired and/or merge with another company, and the HQ will relocate to somewhere closer to an international airport.
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Old 09-05-2017, 11:28 AM
 
Location: New Mexico
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I think there are also places with clusters of small towns that, if taken together, are doing okay. An example might be Grand Valley communities in Western Colorado. I was just there a couple weeks ago. When I first visited Grand Junction in 1980 it was smaller than the town I lived in with barely 30,000 population. It had a few smaller towns close by (Fruita, Palisade, Clifton) and Montrose and Delta a few miles away. Those towns have mostly doubled in population and seem to be growing faster than the state. The area was and is known for peach orchards and ranching but there has been a huge growth in vineyards and wineries over that same period in the Palisade area. The towns appear healthy and the sleepy little places have new life. Western Colorado also has sort of a boom/bust gas and oil shale economy dependent on gas prices and production. There have been other busts in the past and local oil and gas production seems lower than it was but for right now it looks like they may have moved beyond that cycle.
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Old 09-05-2017, 12:13 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eschaton View Post
The thing is, they only last as long as the corporations last - and corporations aren't forever. At some point it's likely they will be acquired and/or merge with another company, and the HQ will relocate to somewhere closer to an international airport.
That is true, but at this time, both of these companies are innovative enough to operate where they are. Both are close enough to an International airport(about an hour/hour and half) or as well. Both of these areas have other companies there as well.
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Old 09-05-2017, 12:15 PM
 
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I think most towns came to be where they are due to extracting some resource - farming, mining, logging, etc.

In many communities, manufacturing came a bit later, due to available labor capital - absorbing folks moving off the farm in earlier waves of automation, wives of coal miners, taking advantage of bulk local resources making a more portable value added product, etc. Random features of personalities sometimes created towns or areas where an industry could coalesce.

This continued through the 1950's as companies developed branch plants, fearing excessive centralization.

Tourism generally came out through the failure of earlier resource extraction. But not every town can attract tourists. Areas near the Delaware River in PA, NY, NJ contain failed tourist resorts, mostly in areas (like the old Borscht Belt) still too far out to commute (although in parts of the Pocono area in PA, they try regardless)

Nowadays, it's become so easy to transport goods and services that manufacturing can migrate again to locales of surplus cheaper labor, most often abroad. Textile manufacturing that moved from New England where the water power was, down South, over to China, and off to Bangladesh.

Increasing automation brings out even greater centralization. Retail, even, is withdrawing from the small towns.

Episodes such as Hurricane Harvey wiping out 61% of the US production of ethylene might bring back the branch plant phenomenon. Something like "we created 500 construction jobs and 5 permanent jobs". Not much of a basis for a small town renaissance.
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Old 09-05-2017, 12:36 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ckhthankgod View Post
That is true, but at this time, both of these companies are innovative enough to operate where they are. Both are close enough to an International airport(about an hour/hour and half) or as well. Both of these areas have other companies there as well.
Note 1933 to 1988 on this timeline: ~~ Brockway Timeline ~~

Brockway Glass ran its aviation department out of a regional airport nearby, just as Corning Inc. does. There seems to be less and less willingness to do things like that now. Hershey, for one, drastically cut back its aviation department.

Another cautionary tale is 10 years later, two members of the Rigas family that founded Adelphia maintain their innocence | PennLive.com The Rigas family proved you could run a successful technology-based company from anywhere, if you wanted to. I'm fairly sure the level of self-dealing that did them in could be found in nearly any enterprise. Both the Coudersport community and their former customers nationwide suffered when the systems were consolidated into the various large off-shoring net-neutrality-lobbyist-fighting coastal companies.
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Old 09-05-2017, 12:43 PM
 
Location: Pittsburgh, PA (Morningside)
12,419 posts, read 11,926,143 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ki0eh View Post
In many communities, manufacturing came a bit later, due to available labor capital - absorbing folks moving off the farm in earlier waves of automation, wives of coal miners, taking advantage of bulk local resources making a more portable value added product, etc. Random features of personalities sometimes created towns or areas where an industry could coalesce.
Manufacturing growth was mostly about geography, not human capital.

Most of the early manufacturing towns along the eastern seaboard grew up along what's known as the "fall line" - a place where there is a relatively steep elevation drop from the upland region to the coastal plain. This was because these areas typically had fast-moving rivers, allowing for water mills (the original origin of the term mill) to be set up aplenty.

The other main aspect was transportation. First, industry tended to be along rivers and on navigable harbors, because that was the cheapest method of shipping bulk goods. Later rail infrastructure was added to the mix. In the modern era this shifted again to highway infrastructure, which is why modern-day industrial parks tend to be located near the intersection of two major highways.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ki0eh View Post
This continued through the 1950's as companies developed branch plants, fearing excessive centralization.
Manufacturing was purposefully decentralized through U.S. government planning in the 1950s, in an attempt to make American infrastructure harder to destroy through nuclear war. IIRC the U.S. interstate highway system was originally sold as being a secondary alternative to our rail network, meaning we'd have more redundancy in freight options.
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Old 09-05-2017, 12:45 PM
 
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https://www.geolounge.com/geography-fortune-1000-2014/
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Old 09-05-2017, 01:20 PM
 
4,247 posts, read 9,716,682 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eschaton View Post
Manufacturing growth was mostly about geography, not human capital.

Most of the early manufacturing towns along the eastern seaboard grew up along what's known as the "fall line" - a place where there is a relatively steep elevation drop from the upland region to the coastal plain. This was because these areas typically had fast-moving rivers, allowing for water mills (the original origin of the term mill) to be set up aplenty.

The other main aspect was transportation. First, industry tended to be along rivers and on navigable harbors, because that was the cheapest method of shipping bulk goods. Later rail infrastructure was added to the mix. In the modern era this shifted again to highway infrastructure, which is why modern-day industrial parks tend to be located near the intersection of two major highways.
Canals and steam liberated manufacturing from the "fall line" by the Civil War.

Deere & Co. has been in Moline, IL since 1848, but it's surely been a while since its remaining downtown factory ran on the water power of the Rock Island Rapids of the Mississippi River.

Rochester, NY was the "Flour City" due to its local waterfalls and the Erie Canal, and the grain fields of the Genesee Valley. Local waterfalls combined with railroads and states worth of grain fields relocated that industry to Minneapolis.

Corning Glass Works dates from 1868 in its namesake community. That company has had an odds-breaking run of innovation, due in no small part to mutually supporting the local area. While it began at a trans-shipment point for sand and coal to a raw end of the NYS canal system, the workers were imported initially from the failing farms in the surrounding stony hills. Mass immigration came later.

Many sewing factories were set up in isolated Pennsylvania coal towns, surely not for the cleanliness but for the available labor. That was replicated in many other small towns, with people and enough transportation to get by. With increasing globalization, that wasn't good enough.
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Old 09-05-2017, 02:31 PM
 
5,462 posts, read 2,301,126 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Turnerbro View Post
With all the gentrification happening in urban areas I have to wonder if some of that will ever make it to small towns. Some small towns in the mid-west have really great bones, the problem is with many of these towns over half the store fronts are boarded up and there's not enough jobs. Most of them are also losing population. There's a part of me that always loved the idea of living in a small town. I wonder if they will ever become relevant like they where 50 years ago.
When there is a better environment for manufacturing in this country. All those small towns have dried up over the past 25 years because the factory jobs have left the country.
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Old 03-18-2019, 04:09 PM
 
2,795 posts, read 1,638,934 times
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Originally Posted by MinivanDriver View Post
When there is a better environment for manufacturing in this country. All those small towns have dried up over the past 25 years because the factory jobs have left the country.
I realize that, but I wonder how we can bring jobs that aren't factory related to small town America. I feel like the next generation of "hipsters" if you will might fantasize about living in a small town, because of stories their grandparents told them. Could happen.
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