International Journal of Historical Archaeology

, Volume 15, Issue 4, pp 725–750 | Cite as

Worker Housing in the Vermont Copper Belt: Improving Life and Industry Through Paternalism and Resistance

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Abstract

During the mid-nineteenth century, east-central Vermont supported two major copper mines and their associated villages. In order to wrest thousands of tons of copper from the earth these mines, the Elizabeth and Ely mines, hired and housed thousands of miners, laborers, and their families. Both mines pursued the same resource in the same environment during the same period, but the Ely Mine developed a centralized village, while the Elizabeth Mine housed its workers in isolated housing clusters. The causes of these differences in worker housing can be traced to differences in scale, setting, and managerial philosophy, and can be analyzed within the larger historical context of Improvement and the larger ethnographic context of paternalism in mining communities.

Keywords

Worker housing Copper mining Paternalism Improvement New England 

Notes

Acknowledgments

I would like to acknowledge the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers, New England District for funding this research, and PAL for giving me the opportunity to investigate these two sites. I am indebted to Matthew Kierstead and Suzanne Cherau for their comments on an earlier draft of this paper. Suzanne Cherau served as the Principal Investigator and Matt Kierstead was the Industrial Historian for both surveys. Matt provided invaluable information regarding the industrial development of the Ely and Elizabeth mines and without his assistance this article could not have been written. This research also builds on the thorough and scholarly work compiled by Collamer Abbott over the past half century. Charles Orser provided insightful comments on an earlier draft of this paper, which improved and focused the current article. William Burdick, Danielia Donohue, Michael Duffin, Jessi Halligan, Charles Langway, Fred Lumb, Ward McIntyre, and Paul White contributed to the fieldwork. Dana Richardi was responsible for digitizing all maps, and Tim Kardatzke and Timothy Ives catalogued and analyzed the cultural material. The conclusions and interpretations of the archaeological and historic records expressed in this article are my own, and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of my colleagues or the federal agencies who sponsored the surveys.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Anthropology DepartmentIndiana University of PennsylvaniaIndianaUSA

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