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The Pennsylvania State University

The Graduate School
SPACE AND SOCIETY IN A RATI...ROAD TOWN: THE MAKING
OF RENOVO, PENNSYLVANIA, 1863-1925.
A Thesis in
Geography
by
Stewart Cameron Bruce
Copyright 1997 Stewart Cameron Bruce
Submitted in Partial Fulfillment
of the Requirements
for the Degree of
Master of Science
May 1997
I grant The Pennsylvania State University the nonexclusive right to use this work for the
University's own purposes and to make single copies of the work available to the public
on a not-for-profit basis if copies are not otherwise available.
Stewart Cameron Bruce
We approve the thesis of Stewart Cameron Bruce.
Deryck W. Holdsworth
Professor of Geography
Thesis Advisor
Rodney Erickson
Professor of Geography
Roger M. Downs
Professor of Geography
Head of the Department of Geography
Date of Signature
Abstract
Space and society in a railroad town: the making of Renovo, Pennsylvania, 1863-1925.
This study of Renovo, a divisional railroad town on the P&ERR in central
Pennsylvania, assesses the extent to which variations in occupation influences residential
segregation. Previous studies on railroad shop workers have shown that they tended to
cluster near their shop. But analysis for' 1920 data suggests that no clustering by railroad
occupation is observable. Other demographic factors such as ethnicity, age, or gender
may be more important. Utilizing Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps and Manuscript Census
data, a Geographic Information System is compiled and used as a primary research tool.
Detailed analysis of land use and local property capital is used to understand the makeup
of urban space and how it impacts residential choices.
Keywords: Renovo, Philadelphia and Erie Railroad, Pennsylvania Railroad, space, class,
urbanizatio.n, residential segregation, occupation, and status.
iii
TABLE OF CONTENTS
LIST OF TABLES.... .. .......................... .... ........................... .. ................. ..... ... .... VI
LIST OF FIGtJRES... .... .. ... ... .... .. ... ... .. ..... .......... .. ........... ...... .... .... .... .................. Vll
Chapter 1. INTRODUCTION. ... .... ... .... . ... ... .. .............. ........... ... ... . ................ ..... . 1
Chapter 2. THE FORMATION OF SOCIAL SPACE IN
INDUSTRIAL SOCIETy ... ...... ......... ............... ....... ..... .... ................. . 6
2.1 Industrialists ....................................................................................... 8
2.2 The Middle Class.... ...... . ... ... ........ .... ..... ....... .......... ... ...... .. .... ........ .... . 13
2.2.1 The Petite Bourgeoisie .......................................................... 14
2.2.2 The White Collar... .......... ......................... .............. .............. 16
2.3 ·Property Capital ..... .... .... ............. ............... .. ............... ...... ....... ..... ...... 19
2.4 Working Class .............................................. .. ......... ....... .......... ...... ..... 22
2.4.1 Ethnicity ..... ..... .............. .... .... .. ... ............ .............................. 25·
2.4.2 Age and Gender .............. .. ................. ................................... 31
2.5 Class Struggle .......... ............ ..... .. ................................... ..... ... .......... .... 33
2.6 Urban Industrial Space ....... .... ................... .. ............ .. ............... ......... .. 36
Chapter 3. PROPERTY AND LAND USE IN RENOVO ....... ..... ......... ........ ........ 40
3.1 Property Ownership ........ ................ ...... .... ............ ........ ........... .. ......... 42
3.2 Land Uses ...... .... ..... .... ... ... ... .... .... .. ...... ... .... ... ..... ....... ..... ....... ... .......... 57
Chapter 4. SPATIAL CONSIDERATIONS OF SOCIAL
DEMOGRAPHICS IN RENOVO ...................... .......... .. ........ .......... ... 66
4.1 Ethnicity ............................................................................................. 66
4.2 Population .......................................................................................... 81
4.3 Age .. .. .. ......... ......... .......... ... ..................... .......... ........ ..... .................... 84
4.4 Gender ................................................................................................ 90
IV
Chapter 5 . OCCUPATION, DEMOGRAPHICS, AND SPACE........................... 95
5. 1 Management.. ......... .. ..... ....... ... ...................... ..................... ................ 95
5.2 Middle Class .... ....... ... .................................................................. .. ..... 99
5.3 Working Class .......... .......................... ................... .. ............................ 115
5.3.1 Trainmen ... ........................................................................... 117
5.3.2 Shopmen .............. .................................. ... ............. .............. 123
Chapter 6. CONCLUSION .... ......... .. .............. ...... ..... .... .. ........ .... ........... .............. 138
REFERENCES ..................................................................................................... 143
v
LIST OF TABLES
Table 3.1. Property status by ward including data on suburbs...... ... ...... ... ...... .. 48
Table 3.2. List of hotels present in Renovo during the 1870s. .. ...... ..... ..... ..... ... 60
Table 3.3. Renovo business district, 1887-1911.. .. .... ... ..... ........ .. .......... .. .. ... ..... 61
VI
LIST OF FIGURES
Figure l.l. The route of the Pennsylvania and Erie Railroad.... ... .......... ........... 3
Figure 2.l. Variables to consider in an analysis of an industrial location.. .... ... 9
Figure 3.1 . Street and property map of Renovo, including the suburb of
South Renovo.... ... ....................................................................... 41
Figure 3.2. Lots owned by the P & E Land Company........................ ...... ......... 46
Figure 3.3. Property status by ward, Renovo, 1900.............................. .......... .... 49
Figure 3.4. Property status by ward, Renovo, 1920.... .......... ............... ............ ... 51
Figure 3.5. Location of homes that were owned free, Renovo, 1920................. 52
Figure 3.6. Location of homes that were owned with mortgage, Renovo,
1920 .......... .. ... .......... .... .. ... .......................... ... ......................... ... .. 53
Figure 3.7. Location of homes that were rented, Renovo, 1920......................... 55
Figure 3.8. Location of boarding houses and number of boarders,
Renovo, 1920 ...... ...... ....... ........ .. .... ....... ..... ..................... .... .......... 56
Figure 4 .1. Year of immigration for Renovo residents born in Ireland,
Sweden, Germany, and Hungary.... .......... .... .......... ................. ..... 69
Figure 4.2. Distribution of native-born population, Renovo, 1920......... .... .. .... .. 71
Figure 4.3. Distribution of German population, Renovo, 1920...... ... .................. 72
Figure 4.4. Distribution of English population, Renovo, 1920........ .................. .. 73
Figure 4.5. Distribution ofIrish population, Renovo, 1920........ ................ ......... 74
Figure 4.6. Distribution of Swedish population, Renovo, 1920........................... 76
Figure 4.7. Distribution of Hungarian population, Renovo, 1920...... ................. . 77
Vll
Figure 4.8. Distribution of Austrian population, Renovo, 1920...... .. .............. .... . 78
Figure 4.9. Distribution ofItalian population, Renovo, 1920.......... ...... .. ............ 79
Figure 4.10. Renovo population data by ward, 1870, 1900, and 1920.... ............. 82
Figure 4.1l. Population pyramid, Renovo, 1870.... ........ .................... .. ................ 83
Figure 4.12. Population pyramid, Renovo, 1900....... ... .... ............... ..... . ...... .... ... .. 85
Figure 4.13. Population pyramid, Renovo, 1920............ .... .... .. .... .... .................... 86
Figure 4.14. Property status by age groups, Renovo, 1900................ .......... ........ 88
Figure 4.15. Property status by age groups, Renovo, 1920...... .. .......................... 89
Figure 4.16. Distribution offemale head of household, Renovo, 1920..... ....... ... 92
Figure 4. 17. 1900 mortality data for children based upon grouping of
mother by age group .. ......... .... ....... ............. .. .. ... .......... ................. 93
Figure 5.1. Foremen: demographic data on age, property status, and
ethnicity, 1870-1920 ... .. ............. ..... ............. ...... ...... .. ..... ............... 97
Figure 5.2. Distribution offoremen residences, Renovo, 1920.. .. .. .. .. ...... ...... ...... 98
Figure 5.3. Merchant: demographic data on age, property status, and
ethnicity, 1870-1920 ............................................... .... .................. . 100
Figure 5.4. Distribution of merchant residences, Renovo, 1920.. .. ... ................... 101
Figure 5.5. Shoemaker: demographic data on age, property status, and
ethnicity, 1870-1920. ...... .. .. .... .............. ..... ........ .... ....... .. .. ..... .... ... 103
Figure 5.6. Tailor: demographic data on age, property status, and ethnicity,
1870-1920 .. .. .......... .. .... .... ... .. ...... ........... .... ..... .. ...... ......... ........... .. 104
Figure 5.7. Distribution of butcher residences, Renovo, 1920........ .... ..... ......... .. 105
Figure 5.8. Distribution of doctor/dentist residences, Renovo, 1920.... ........... ... 107
Figure 5.9. Railroad clerk: demographic data on age, property status, and
ethnicity, 1870-1920....... ... ..... .... ...... ....... ....... .... .... ... ..... ...... ....... 108
Vlll
Figure 5.10. Distribution of railroad clerk residences, Renovo, 1920........... .... . 109
Figure 5.11. Watchmen: demographic data on age, property status, and
ethnicity, 1870-1920 ... .............. ... ......... .. ...... ....... ..... .. ...... ......... .... III
Figure 5.12. Janitor: demographic data on age, property status, and
ethnicity, 1870-1920 ... ..... .. ......... .... .. ... ....... .... .... ... ............ .... ...... .. 112
Figure 5.13. Domestic servant : demographic data on age, property status,
and ethnicity, 1870-1920 ......... ........ ..... ... ... ....... ... .. ... .......... ... :.... . 114
Figure 5.14. Wash women: demographic data on age, property status, and
ethnicity, 1870-1920 ..... ......... .... ....... ....... .... ........ ..... ..... ... ....... .... . 116
Figure 5.15. Conductor: demographic data on age, property status, and
ethnicity, 1870-1920 ........... ......... .... .. ..... ... ..... ..... ..... ..... .. ... .. .. .... .. 118
Figure 5.16. Railroad engineer: demographic data on age, property status,
and ethnicity, 1870-1920............... .... ...... .. ... ........ ... ........ ... ....... .... 119
Figure 5.17. Brakemen: demographic data on age, property status, and
ethnicity, 1870-1920 .... ..... ......... ...... .. .... .. ... .. .... ..... ..... ..... ...... ....... 120
Figure 5.18. Railroad firemen: demographic data on age, property status,
and ethnicity, 1870-1920. ......... ....... ............ .......... ............. ......... . 121
Figure 5. 19. Flagmen: demographic data on age, property status, and
ethnicity, 1870-1920 ... ... ...... ................... .. ......... ... ... .. ... ..... .... ..... .. 122
Figure 5.20. Distribution of conductor residences, Renovo, 1920.. .. ... ..... ....... .... 124
Figure 5.21. Distribution of railroad engineer residences, Renovo, 1920.. ... .. ... .. 125
9"igure 5.22. Distribution of brakemen residences, Renovo, 1920.. ... .. ... ... .......... 126
Figure 5.23. Railroad laborer: demographic data on age, property status,
and ethnicity, 1870-1920... ........ ..... ... ... ... ..... ...... ..... .... .... ... ..... .. ... . 128
Figure 5.24. Distribution of railroad laborer residences, Renovo, 1920.. ..... .. .... . 129
Figure 5.25. Machinist: demographic data on age, property status, and
ethnicity, 1870-1920. ..... .... .... .. ... .... ............. ...... .... ..... ............. .... 130
IX
Figure 5.26. Moulder/pattern maker: demographic data on age,
property status, and ethnicity, 1870-1920.. ... ... ............... ..... .... ..... 132
Figure 5.27. Distribution of machinist residences, Renovo, 1920. ............ .......... 133
Figure 5.28. Blacksmith: demographic data on age, property status, and
ethnicity, 1870-1920. ... ....... ...... .... ....... .... ............................ ....... .. 134
Figure 5.29. Distribution of blacksmith residences, Renovo, 1920. .. ....... .......... 135
Figure 5.30. Inspector: demographic data on age, property status, and
ethnicity, 1870-1920... ...... ........ ............ .................. .. .... ... .. ...... .. .. 137
x
Chapter 1
INTRODUCTION
How was social space organized in the railroad town of Renovo, Pennsylvania, a
newly built, single-industry town where workers had more freedom than was the case in
other isolated industrial communities? Without corporate paternalistic interference to
dictate residential location through tied company housing other class interests such as
ethnicity, race, religion, and status became involved with the control and use of space
(Thrift and Williams 1987; Bodnar 19.82; Fried 1973). These class interests were
suppressed in some urban industrial landscapes but in railroad towns these interests had a
chance to influence the use of space. This study is an attempt to gain understanding into
how these unshackled class interests worked to create and modify the urban morphology
of their industrial setting.
Renovo provides a unique opportunity to explore the influences of class interests
on the formation of space. Like the railroad towns of Altoona, Sayre, and McKees Rocks
in Pennsylvania, Renovo had only one industry. This is important for this study because if
there were two industries then it would be difficult to separate the impact of each industry.
Railroad towns are also different from single industry towns that were primarily created in
the mining and lumbering sectors. The key difference is in the variety of workers found in
a railroad town. Railroad shops requited a very diverse workforce with many different
occupational skills; mines and mills typically sought a far more limited set of occupational
skills. This variety, consequently allows for a broader-based analysis of class interests
than provided by a case study of an isolated mining or lumbering town.
2
Renovo was created in 1863 by the Philadelphia and Erie Railroad Company
(hereafter P&ERR) to serve as a division point and repair facility for the main line of this
new railroad (Rosenberger 1975). The P&ERR, a subsidiary of the Pennsylvania Railroad,
was created primarily to prevent the route to Lake Erie from falling into the hands of
competitors. It was intended to capture some of the Great Lakes trade from the
BuffalolNew York axis and divert it to Philadelphia by way of Erie, Pennsylvania (Vance
1986). Renovo, which means "I renew" in Latin, was selected because of its geographic
location (figure 1.1) at the approximate midpoint of the new track. This provided a
convenient place for the railroad to consolidate its repair operations, in a place far
removed from the labor struggles of bigger cities like Philadelphia (Magliaro 1994;
Alexander 1971). Because the railroad had employees at all division points and main
administrative facilities in Philadelphia and Erie, it differed from other companies that had
all their industrial assets at one location. This diffusion of corporate resources may have
played a large role in the lack of paternalism for anyone specific site. This lack of
paternalism also sets railroad towns apart from mining and lumbering communities.
The P&ERR used a land company, the Philadelphia and Erie Land Company, to
acquire property both for the right-of-way for the track and for town sites along the route.
This subsidiary was responsible for selecting the site of Renovo, determining the town
ERIE
N
W*E
s


LOCK HAVEN
PENNSYLVANIA
e
HARRISBURG
PITTSBURGH
Figure 1.1. The route of the Philadelphia and Erie Railroad.
......
4
layout, and may have been an important influence in the business community that would
spring up in Renovo. It also intended to profit from the sale of land to individuals. This
same pattern was being repeated across America as railroads spread west across the Great
Plains. Land ownership would prove to be a consideration in the allocation of space
within Renovo and it is an important part of this study because the control of housing by
large individual property owners created a significant renting class within the town.
In fact , the determination of whether a resident rented or owned property may
have been a more important class determinant than whether or not the person was a
worker. Consequently, this study begins by reviewing the competing definitions of class
proposed by Marx and Weber (Chapter 2). It will be shown that the struggle for class
status in the Weberian model played a significant role in shaping Renovo. Since the
ownership of property is key to class in the Weberian sense, data on the amount of
property one controlled is an important prelude to ascribing class status. The distinctive
urban morphology that resulted from various factions vying for control of space within
Renovo will be discussed by analyzing changing property ownership and land-use patterns
(Chapter 3). One focus of this analysis will be the distinct housing types: single-family
house, duplexes, row houses, alley houses, hotels, boarding houses, and tenements. An
examination of the pattern of housing types provides a better understanding of the
underlying forces of property ownership.
Following a discussion of the urban morphology of Renovo then it becomes
possible to see how the individual residents, influenced by their individual class interests
and other demographic variables such as ethnicity, age, and gender, filled in the urban
5
space that was created (Chapter 4). The main question to be answered in this thesis is
what class interest, and/or demographic variable, played the biggest role in determining
residential clustering within the urban space that comprised the town of Renovo (Chapter
5). Did Marx's theory of worker struggle against capital translate into a noticeable
pattern of residential segregation, articulated as zones of separation from the oppressed
and the oppressors? Or was Weber's theory of occupational status more a factor in where
an individual worker would settle within Renovo?
In order to analyze the spatial patterns of settlement within the municipal
boundaries of Renovo an advanced Geographic Information System was created. Detailed
information on social and economic indicators for each and every resident of Renovo was
inputted into the GIS. These data are available on a decadal basis between 1870 and
1920, except for 1890. The precise spatial accuracy of that data is only available for 1910
and 1920 however, the only years in which census enumerators recorded street addresses.
This study uses 1920 data as input for GIS technology to provide a spatial matrix
heretofore difficult in urban historical geography.
Chapter 2
THE FORMATION OF SOCIAL SPACE IN INDUSTRIAL SOCIETY
The industrial age brought about many changes in American society. One of the
important demographic shifts was an increase in urban populations as many people
migrated from farms to cities in order to seek employment in new industrial occupations.
It was the rise of industrial capitalism in the nineteenth century that eliminated the
common bond of man to the land (Montgomery 1987). Additionally, immigration from
Europe increased because of the new economic opportunities created by the industrial
revolution and the poor economic conditions existing in rural Europe. These migrations
swelled the populations of existing urban settings and filled newly created urban places
developed for the primary purpose of industry.
6
The increase in urban populations as a result of industrialization would have
dramatic effects: "Industrialization and urbanization in the nineteenth century brought with
them fundamental changes in the spatial organization of towns and in the relationships
between classes and groups within urban society "(Johnson 1982, p. 6).
The forces of capitalism played an important role in shaping these urban centers. The
resulting urban landscape was "a mirror reflecting the society which maintains it"
(Johnston and Herbert 1976, p. 5). It is this society that must be examined in order to
understand the resultant landscape. Indeed, as David Harvey noted, "We must somehow
relate the social processes of the city to the spatial form which the city assumes" (Qtd. in
Cannadine 1982, p. 235). The first step towards understanding the social process is to
examine the inherent production relations.
7
The transformation from a pre-industlial to an industrial economy changed the way
that people worked. With the onset of capitalism the traditional work relationships of
craftsman, journeyman, and apprentice were replaced by employer and worker (Greenberg
1985). As early as 1820 the conditions for industrial production were in place. For
example, in the shoe industry in Lynn, Massachusetts, individual craftsman were replaced
by factory workers. This caused a change in the relations of production. Now large
merchant-manufacturers controlled the factory and the profits while the workers received
only a daily wage (Dawley 1976). This meant they now sold their labor without any share
in the wealth (Pred 1990). These production shifts would lead to a gradual deskilling of
the labor force as capitalists discovered ways of breaking apart complex tasks into simple
steps.
The deskilling of the labor force did not occur overnight; rather, it was a slow
transformation that took many years (Eggert 1993). Although there was a trend towards
larger manufacturers for many items, there were some small shops where individual
artisans such as shoemakers continued to manufacture for a local clientele (Greenberg
1985). Some crafts persisted and even expanded; blacksmiths, carpenters, painters, and
similar occupations kept their skills although many would eventually be forced to work for
a wage (Eggert 1993).
Studies ofLynn, MA (Dawley 1976), Albany, NY (Greenberg 1985) Harrisburg,
P A (Eggert 1993) are excellent sources for information on this transformation process in
existing urban settings. However, in towns which were founded solely for industry this
transformation was not present from start to finish (Pred 1990). At the time of the
development of new industrial towns the workers and other members of society that
moved into these settings brought with them many of the changes that had already
occurred. But there was still continued transformation after these new industrial places
were settled.
Before any detailed analysis of the process of change in urban settings can begin,
the relevant social actors -- industrialists, merchants, craftsmen, landlords, workers, and
their families -- need to be understood. The interplay of these groups shaped the process.
As shown in figure 2. 1, further divisions based on occupation, property ownership,
ethnicity, religion, race, gender, and age also influenced the transformation of urban
places. All of these must be considered when analyzing the spatial structure of a given
urban industrial place.
2.1 INDUSTRIALISTS
The industrialists held most of the power in the emerging industrial state.
Considerable capital was needed to build large factories, to open mines to supply raw
materials, and to create transportation infrastructure to deliver raw materials to factories
8
I INDUSTRIALISTS AL

SPACE
MERCHANTS
SOCIETY
CRAFTSMEN
FACTORY
LANDLORDS
ETHNICITY
PROFESSIONALS
BUSINESSES MANAGERIAL
RELIGION
CRAFT SHOPS
CLERICAL
RACE
MUNICIPAL
SKILLED AGE
RECREATIONAL
LABOR
GENDER
UNSKILLED
CHURCHES
PROPERTY
STATUS
FRATERNAL
SURPLUS
LODGES
LABOR
FAMILY
SIZE
HOTELS/
FAMILY
BOARDING
. WEALTH
REPRODUCTION
APARTMENTS
OF
LABOR
HOUSES
VII IIV
I--THE STATE AND FEDERAL GOVERNMENT
Figure 2.1, Variables to consider in an analysis of an industrial location.
\0
10
and to deliver the products of the industrial revolution to consumers. The control of the
necessary capital to undertake these ventures allowed industrialists to wield an enormous
amount of power over society. A good example of a typical industrialist is provided by J.
Edgar Thomson, who by the later part of the nineteenth century was president of the
world's largest corporation, the Pennsylvania Railroad (Ward 1980).
Thomson began his career as a surveyor for the Pennsylvania Mainline canal
project. Later he moved to Georgia where he became a journeyman engineer for the
Georgia Railroad. From 1834 until he left Georgia in 1847 he accumulated over $44,000
dollars from his salary and from shrewd investments (Ward 1980). One of his sizable
investments was in the railroad that he worked for. He also invested heavily in the
commodities markets and relied on his extensive network of fellow investors to gain
insights into where to maximize profits (Ward 1980). His early career in Georgia gave
him not only an accumulation of wealth but practical knowledge of how manipulate it to
his personal benefit.
Thomson got his biggest opportunity to accumulate wealth when he was
commissioned as Chief Engineer of the Pennsylvania Railroad. The PRR was an ambitious
project to link Philadelphia and Pittsburgh by rail in an attempt to capture some of the
trade from the west that was then mainly being shipped along the Erie Canal to New York
City (Ward 1980). Thomson accepted the post because he saw it as a chance to manage a
multi-million undertaking and to give him contacts with rich eastern businessmen. In this
assignment he was very successful and through his efforts the world's largest corporation
was created. For example, by 1875, the country's largest manufacturing plant, Cambria
11
Iron, had 4,000 employees while the Pennsylvania Railroad had almost 55,000 employees
(Montgomery 1987).
Thomson had many allies to credit towards his success. Among those were the
likes of Carnegie, Vanderbilt, and other emerging capitalists (Hacker 1968). They
nurtured a corporate community that helped spread the power of capitalism throughout
America. This network of capitalists supported each other and helped fuel the industrial
revolution (Roy 1983). It is in this respect that industrialists formed a separate social class
and distanced themselves from the workers.
But it was not solely the efforts of a few entrepreneurs that provided the capital
necessary to undertake these large industrial projects. The state played an important role
by providing start-up capital, paying for infrastructure, and giving out free land to the
emerging railroads (Vance 1995). And there were the countless investors who bought
stock in these new industrial firms. While these stockholders provided the majority of
investment funds they were usually content to let someone like Thomson control the
company as long as they received dividends (Ward 1980). Also of great importance was
the influx of foreign investors whose capital was essential to keeping the industrial
revolution expanding in North America (Kealey 1980). This capital infusion helped propel
new industries located near railroads so they could exploit the new transport. And these
new industries needed new workers to keep the wheels of progress moving forward.
While industrialists controlled the factories, mines, and railroads, the associated
profits from these enterprises were also the result of many workers' skill and knowledge
(Montgomery 1987). Without the workers' skill and knowledge industrialists' profit levels
12
would not have been possible. These industry moguls realized the control that workers
had over the industrial process. They realized that they would have to wrest this control
over the process from the workers if they were to achieve the profit levels required by
stockholders. They achieved this by "dispossessing the craftsmen of their accumulated
skill and knowledge" (Montgomery 1987, p. 46).
Capitalism's greatest effect on the work experience was an "unequal distribution of
rewards and privileges" (Savage and Warde 1993, p. 149). Industrialists such as Thomson
considered labor as just another commodity to be obtained at the cheapest cost (Ward
1980). This exploitation of workers would set up future struggles between capital and
labor. Throughout the nineteenth and early twentieth century, industrial history and labor
history were often marked by the successes and failures of the union movement.
Capitalists exerted powerful control over many industrial cities even where
unionism gained a toehold. In remote locations this control was more severe because the
influence of union organizers was weak (Savage and Warde 1993). It was for this reason
that many new industrial sites were located in remote areas far from the influence of
unions. One example of this would be railroad division points. It was common for
railroad companies to locate repair facilities in rural locations. The purpose was to keep
shop workers away from the influence of other more organized workers (Licht 1983).
13
2.2 THE MIDDLE CLASS
The places and associated space of the production sphere were selected by the
capitalists without any input from the workers. The selection of a specific site location
was certainly influenced by geographic variables such as sources of mineral wealth and
access to easy transportation routes, but the primary determinant was the capitalist power
structure. While capitalists may have picked the location of production, in some cases
their influence was at a distance and it was other, more local groups that had an important
role in determining how space within some of these new places was allocated. One of
these groups would be the middle class.
Two main elements are considered part of the middle class: the first group are
small shopkeeper Imerchants and master craftsmen/artisans; and the second consist of
managers, foremen, clerks, teachers, and other professional occupations (Dennis 1987; see
also Abercrombie and Urry 1983). These two groups are differentiated by fractions of
capital. The first group, often called the petite bourgeoisie, all have capital; they have a
stake in the profits of their enterprises (Bechhofer 1976). The second group, sometimes
called white-collar, do not have a stake in the profits. But since the white-collar does not
add surplus value to commodities they are not usually considered as part of the working
class. White-collar influence on the urban environment did not compare to the influence
of the petite bourgeoisie.
14
2.2. 1 THE PETITE BOURGEOISIE
Because of their active (albeit modest) role in the control of capital, the petite
bourgeoisie played a more significant role in the shaping of urban society. One of the
ways was through domination of local politics. They were very active in municipal
governments (Crossick and Haupt 1984; Bechhofer 1976; Wallace 1987). Because their
capital was place specific, they became very interested in insuring that the value of their
capital would increase (Savage and Warde 1993). Often this capital was tied up in the
ownership of property and being in control of local government helped them to control
policies that would affect the land values of their investments. Some of these large
property owners were also industrial workers and this status boost helped insure that they
were involved in political activities such as serving on municipal councils. Since these
persons were both workers and small capitalists, one wonders if their political efforts
helped workers or preserved their property interests within the town?
Shopkeepers were the most visible member of the middle class. "Shopkeepers
were that section of the propertied classes with whom working class men and women
came into the most regular and daily contact" (Crossick and Haupt 1984, p. 4). Debt to
the many merchants in the community was also a significant drain on the local workers'
daily wage (Montgomery 1987). Workers living in working-class communities often
shopped on credit, which meant loyalty to certain shops but also insured that they paid
higher prices (Fried 1973). Local stores also provided a milieu for social interaction and
were therefore important spaces within the urban setting.
15
One of the most important characteristics of the small shopkeeper was his
independence.
1
The control of one's working condition is one of the key factors that
separated him from the working class (Bechhofer 1968). But the price of this freedom
was high. Shopkeepers often worked very long hours and had to employ family members
since they often could not afford to hire laborers. Because of this need to employ family
members there was little separation between work and home life (Bechhofer 1968). There
was also a high turnover in shopkeepers. Many who started new businesses failed (Dennis
1987). This resulted in urban business areas undergoing constant change as old shops
failed and new ones sprung up in their place.
Master craftsmen were also an important component of the urban setting. While
many craftsmen were being pulled into industry, some remained free of the yoke of
industrialists and kept their own independent shops. Since they controlled their profits
they became petty capitalists (Bechhofer 1976). These craftsmen served a local clientele
that was in need of their services. Individual craftsmen like shoemakers, tailors, milliners,
bakers, and brewers continued to operate just as they did before the industrial revolution.
They maintained pre-existing systems of journeymen and apprentices that kept their crafts
alive. Often these skills were handed down from generation to generation within the
family unit (Dennis 1987).
One important consideration to take into account when looking at the petite
bourgeoisie of shopkeepers and craftsmen was their ethnicity. Many merchants were
I. In this time period, nearly all shopkeepers were male, hence the use of gendered pronoWls. Of course,
there were instances when women ran or owned shops.
foreign-born who brought their capital with them from Europe and set up shop here in
America. There were also ethnic links to certain skilled trades. Some crafts had a high
percentage offoreign born (Eggert 1993). For example, many bakers and brewers in
nineteenth century Pennsylvania were German.
While the petite bourgeoisie played an important role in shaping the urban setting
they were never very numerous in comparison to the working class. Therefore it was
unlikely that they lived in segregated areas of the city (Dennis 1987). In fact, due to the
need of shopkeepers to serve small subareas of the city it seems likely that they were
scattered throughout the urban area.
2.2.2 THE WHITE COLLAR
16
The other distinct subgroup of the middle class was the white-collar group. At the
top of this group were the professional managers who carried out the orders of their
industrialist employers. The local salaried manager represented the force of modem
capital. Whereas in the past the person who had put up the capital would usually have a
direct hand in managing the business, after the industrial revolution this became much less
common (Chandler 1977). Management had become separated from ownership. While
these managers insured that the dominance of the capitalist system would be perpetuated
they usually had no direct share in the profits of the firm. This lack of participation in the
profits really excluded them from membership in the petite bourgeoisie who did have
control over small amounts of capital (Bechhofer 1976).
17
When the industrial revolution first started, skilled workers were in control of the
production process. They controlled the labor power. Puddlers, for example, knew how
to make iron through the amounts of ore, charcoal, and lime, as well as the amount of time
the 'heat' should take; they hired their own crews, and often traveled from job to job. This
"manager's brain beneath the workman's cap" was one of the talents that capital came to
resent as they sought different production levels and efficiencies (Montgomery 1987, p.
34). By studying this talent, as well as taking advantage of technological innovations,
industrialists were able to break apart complex jobs into simple steps. They used the new
management group to advance their cause. These managers learned the technical aspects
of the work so they, instead of skilled workers, could control the factory process (Urry
1987). Beneath the manager were teams of foremen who now supervised the workers and
no longer participated directly in the work process as the skilled workmen with his own
work crew of journeymen and apprentices had done before.
As the representative for the capitalist business, the head manager and his
management team wielded an enormous amount of power over the community. While
foremen played a significant role in the local community the manager's power was more
likely reflected in how the work place operated and did not extend to the actual day-to-
day operations of the town or city. Managers did control some of the housing market,
however. Many firms made boarding houses and rental housing available to their
employees. The extent of this varied widely. Firms that were very paternalistic to their
employers not only controlled all the housing in a town but would also extend their power
through the local manager to exert control over all phases of the workers' life. Examples
18
of this type of "company town" will be discussed later.
Beneath the managers and foremen was an army of clerks necessary to keep the
wheels of industry moving at a rapid pace. As corporate America grew so to did the need
for clerks. In the nineteenth century some men became clerks as a stepping stone to
management positions. In these cases they were usually related to the manager. The
typical clerk rarely rose to higher management positions (Davies 1972). In many ways the
life of a clerk was no different then that of the average wage laborer. The only difference
was that a clerk did not add surplus value to commodities except in a very indirect way.
One important factor to consider about clerks as an occupational group is the shift
from male domination of this occupation to female domination. It was during the Civil
War that female clerks were first permitted to perform clerical functions because of the
reduction in available male employees. But by 1880 only 4 percent of the clerical
workforce was female (Davies 1972). It took the introduction of the typewriter to make it
possible for more women to enter this field. Since typing was a new occupation it was not
already considered a male occupation and in fact came to be considered women's work.
Another factor was that the pool of educated women was growing at the same time as the
demand for clerks increased. Women were attracted to this kind of work because it paid
higher wages in comparison to other female occupations such as domestic servants
(Davies 1972). Of course, capitalists liked the idea of female clerks because they could
pay them half the wage that a male clerk would demand.
It was for this reason that women made breakthroughs in other white-collar
occupations as well. Many educated women in the nineteenth-century became
19
schoolteachers. In 1840 forty percent of all schoolteachers were women but by 1860
eighty-six percent of this workforce was female. The main reason for replacement of men
as teachers during this period was that women could be paid less but also because of high
male casualties from the Civil War (Davies 1972). Nursing also provided another area of
employment for educated middle-class women.
One of the most powerful white-collar groups were the doctors and lawyers. In
many cases these professionals worked directly for capital and certainly did not support
worker efforts to fight for better wages. Their presence on the boards of directors of
many fraternal organizations is an indication of their relative power in the community.
2.3 PROPERTY CAPITAL
It is the dream of most Americans to own their own home. However, in the
nineteenth century, for many this was an impossible dream. Few people had the capital to
invest in a home of their own. It became necessary to borrow money from someone who
did have the capital. Historically, this person was perhaps a relative or some individual
with enough assets to loan (Tabb and Sawers 1978). But with the Industrial Revolution
and the pressing demands for more housing in urban systems this historic method of
obtaining funds was insufficient to meet the housing needs of the population. There were
simply too many people (Vance 1976).
20
Since it was capitalists that created new factories in places with inadequate
housing, some of them offered their capital to help workers build housing (Vance 1976).
But it was more common for capitalists to make rental housing available or provide
lodging for their workers. For example, it was not uncommon for railroads to rent some
housing for their workers (Licht 1983). They did this in order to attract more reliable
employees, such as men with families. But railroads never met all of the housing needs of
the workforce, unlike company towns where industry built the entire town and rented all
the houses to the workers.
The net result was that there was a lack of housing and a huge demand. Due to
the demand and need for adequate housing and the inability of corporate capitalists to
provide this housing a new group of property capitalists emerged (Mosher 1989). This
new group was comprised of both large and small landholders who gained their profits
through rent or direct sale of property. The petite bourgeoisie played a significant role in
providing housing for workers. They felt it was a safe investment for their profits
(Bechhofer 1976; Dennis 1987). The house, like the worker, became just another
commodity to be bought and sold (Williams 1987). Opportunities for other investments
were limited so those with money took advantage of the local situation and bought
property (Harloe and Lebas 1981).
Most of this property investment went into rental housing meaning that most
housing needs were met by private landlords (Harloe and Lebas 1981). This new class of
landlords was a direct response to the housing needs of workers (Williams 1987). Thus
most of the new class of landlords were people who were simply investing their extra
21
capital into rental property (Harloe and Lebas 1981). But some landlords were also from
the working class. They either owned multiple properties or perhaps had built an alley
house at the back of their property (Williams 1987; Mosher 1989; Mosher and
Holdsworth 1992). When new housing was not available, density increased and buildings
were modified so that multiple families could reside in a single structure (Mosher 1989).
This infusion of petty capital was crucial to the worker in need of housing to rent.
Private rental agreements provided the easiest access to the housing market (Badcock
1984). In the short run it was much cheaper to rent than to pay a mortgage (Modell and
Hareven 1973). Because of this factor most workers rented their housing (Williams
1987). But while the landlord had a stake in the town via his property, the propertyless
worker had no physical connection to the urban setting; ultimately he had no future stake
invested in the community.
There were other options beside renting for the common worker. Many workers
could find even cheaper lodgings by boarding with other families, who in many cases were
renting themselves (Williams 1987). Many families took in boarders solely because of the
economic benefit gained (Modell and Hareven 1973). The extra income often helped the
family meet high monthly mortgage payments and helped insure that they might survive
through periods of unemployment. For many widows it was a primary source of income
and in households where the husband earned some but not sufficient wages, it also allowed
the wife to earn additional income for taking care of the boarders.
2.4 WORKING CLASS
One important requirement for class formation is that there must be a power
relation. Just as there cannot be a slave without a master, or good without evil, then so
too without the worker there could not be capitalists (Vanneman and Cannon 1987).
Class experience comes about because of the way people spend their productive lives.
Therefore, "class is a relationship and not a thing" (Thompson 1963, p. 10). As
Thompson (1963) observes, you can not understand class except as how it relates to the
social and cultural experience. These processes can only be studied over a historical
period.
22
Many scholars understand class as being derived from the social relations of
production. Karl Marx identified three important production relations in determining
class: who owns the means of production, who purchases labor as a commodity, and who
sells their labor for a wage without shares in the profit (Eichar 1989). These three
relations of production divide society into two groups, the bourgeoisie (capitalists) and the
proletariat (workers). Marx then implied that capitalists exploit workers and this
exploitation would result in resistance, thereby creating class struggle and inevitable
conflict (Eichar 1989). In this respect Marx was quite correct. It has been shown that
class struggle has resulted in conflict: "Class conflict was an inherent part of industrial
life" (Montgomery 1987, p. 44). But these conflicts did not lead to the global worker
revolution that Marx envisioned (Vanneman and Cannon 1987).
23
Max Weber also based his definition of class on economic reasons. He defined
class as groups of people who share the same class situation. But for Weber ownership or
non-ownership of property was the main division determining class (Eichar 1989). Weber
also indicated that within each class there is further status differentiation based on types of
property and types of skill. Weber's approach was interpreted by later scholars to mean
that stratification by status determines class (Eichar 1989). These classifications are useful
tools to be used when examining industrial society and the spatial patterns that result in
industrial urban settings.
One of the significant status divisions was the skill required to accomplish certain
tasks. There is a big difference between skilled labor and unskilled labor. One of the
primary differences is the earned wage although there are many others. The disparity in
wages among the American workers was one of the reasons that American workers were
not as successful at class struggle as their European counterparts (Shergold 1982). These
wages differences create a status consciousness which masks the underlying class
consciousness (Vanneman and .Cannon 1987). One way this status was expressed was by
having different unions for different occupations. Capital was able to exploit these
individual unions to their own benefit by dividing the work force into groups with separate
labor agreements. This prevented a common worker solidarity and therefore weakened
any attempts at striking against the capitalist machine.
This status consciousness may have influenced residential segregation in the urban
industrial setting. Historically in Europe there was often residential segregation
determined by occupation: "The occupational structuring of housing that was the norm
24
for the medieval merchant's and craftsmen's town became the common practice in colonial
America" (Vance 1976, p. 83). It seems logical to expect that this practice of
occupational clustering would continue in industrial cities. In larger cities it has been
observed that certain broad categories of occupation by specific industry type do cluster in
wards but this is primarily a function of proximity to the work place (Ducker 1983). But
these types of studies did not look at exact occupational clustering within wards.
Another concern is trying to identify which occupations had higher status. The
National Opinion Research Center (NORC) developed occupational prestige rankings for
many occupations. These came to be seen as ranks of socio-economic status (Eichar
1989). For example, a doctor would rate very high while a domestic servant would rate
very low on this scale. While these were developed in the 1940's they might have some
relevance to earlier periods.
Perhaps more important than occupational status is whether the worker owned
property or rented. As Weber theorized, this is the most important determinant of class.
While certainly the class of capitalists owned more property than the working class, an
analysis of which occupations within the working class owned property can aid in an
understanding of some of the status divisions that existed among them. For example,
railroad shop men were more likely to become homeowners than conductors and trainmen
because of the stability of shop work (Licht 1983). One could also argue that the
ownership of property made some lucky workers petty capitalists if they owned multiple
properties and rented to other workers.
25
2.4.1 ETHNICITY
Class, whether divided by production relations or by status divisions, is not the
only factor influencing residential selection. One of the most enduring divisions of the
working class was drawn along ethnic lines (Ashton 1978): "Antagonisms within the
work force indicated that ethnic, religious, and racial loyalties took precedence over class
solidarity" (McCaffrey 1985, p. 173). If ethnicity was a more important factor in the work
force then perhaps it played a larger role in determining residential structure.
Ethnic segregation was a common feature to be observed on the landscape of most
American cities. Immigrant enclaves stood out from native-born populations
(Montgomery 1987). Even in smaller towns ethnic divisions were evident (Fried 1973).
But these groupings were more likely based on economic reasons than ethnic reasons.
New immigrants tended to occupy the least expensive housing available. It was the rent
cost that determined the location of these ethnic clusters (Boal1976). The area of urban
space that had the lowest rent at the time of immigration determined spatial location. This
makes a lot of sense because these new immigrants were usually working at the lowest-
paid, least-skilled occupations and could only afford the cheapest rents.
Many immigrants formed colonies when they arrived in a new urban setting.
These colonies were usually formed when a small number of the ethnic group established a
new residence. Once this location was selected it served as a landing zone for future
waves of immigrants (BoaI1976). Eventually these immigrants would disperse. If there
were few differences from the existing urban group then these immigrants would disperse
26
rapidly into the existing structure. This process is known as assimilation. Originally put
forth by Robert Park of the Chicago school, the theory of assimilation worked fairly well
for European immigrant groups but not necessarily so with migrant racial groups (Persons
1987).2
Capitalists hated assimilation though they preached patriotic messages of
assimilation in community settings. Just as they used status divisions to divide the
working class, they also used ethnicity as a powerful tool in their inventory against worker
solidarity. With the deskilling of the American labor force came the need to lower relative
wages for these new occupations that any man with a strong back could perform. The
existing workers were not happy about these reductions in wages as a result of the
deskilling. They formed unions and went on strike to oppose these changes. Capitalists,
in tum, drew upon large reserves of immigrants as strike breakers and broke the backs of
the unions with the help of a little federal government intervention (Ashton 1978).
The specific ethnicity of immigrant groups changed over time. As the new
immigrant group became assimilated with the existing workers they began to solidify into
a unitary group. Capital responded by finding new immigrant groups who would be paid
less than the existing worker and thereby create worker conflict among themselves that
would effectively prevent unity. It is a never-ending cycle. Just as Scots-Irish considered
Irish immigrants as threatening, so the Irish considered later Italian and Slovak immigrants
as threatening (McCaffrey 1985). These Italians and Slovaks would later feel threatened
2. Capitalists would later take advantage of this by bringing in Blacks from the south who did not assimilate
well into the mostly European populations.
by Black migrants from the south. Today, many workers feel threatened by Hispanic
workers who are willing to work for a lower wage.
27
Capital was very effective at finding the cheap labor that they required. Agents
from coal mining companies in Pennsylvania were sent to Eastern Europe in the late
1860's to recruit cheap labor to fill unskilled positions (Stolarik 1985). These new
immigrants wrote home and the letters brought many thousands more to America. While
they were paid substandard wages for America when it was compared with the money
they made at home it was not substandard.
When immigrants landed at New York City they were often met by employment
agencies who would steer them towards employment across America (Sheridan 1907).
Under the padrone system, capitalists would contract for labor directly with labor bosses
in Italy. These workers were exploited by both the capitalists and the labor boss who
often kept portions of their meager wage. There was also an ethnic sorting that occurred
along industrial types. In 1906, for example, 57.5 percent ofItalians were referred to
railroad companies by employment agents at Ellis Island while 47.4 percent of Slavs were
sent to coal mines (Sheridan 1907). Depending on the industry of a smaller urban center
this could have dramatic effects on the ethnic breakdown of the community.
Not all immigrant groups were used by capitalists to fill deskilled jobs. It is
important to discuss the various groups that were prominent during the industrialization
period and how they fit into the new American reality of the industrial age.
One of the earliest immigrant groups in the industrial age were the Irish. The Irish
potato famine in the late 1840's was the root cause of an unprecedented wave of Irish
28
immigration to America (Clark 1991). The start of railroads created employment
opportunities for the Irish and helped them disperse across Pennsylvania and the nation.
Many of these railroad jobs were as low-paid laborers on railroad construction crews.
Many later settled into new urban centers: "In the railroad centers of Johnstown and
Altoona they lived in areas still separate from the dominant non-Irish" (Clark 1991, p. 20).
In Renovo, the Irish section of town became known as the "Irish Acre. "
Many Irish who began their industrial work careers as unskilled labor moved up
the ranks and became foreman, engineers, and other higher paying occupations
(McCaffrey 1985). There was also a small minority ofIrish immigrants who did become
successful as merchants and other petite bourgeoisie but many of these were merchants in
the old country. Regardless of economic status, all Catholic Irish faced discrimination
from the native-born Americans, many of whom were of Scots-Irish stock and Protestant.
It was the Irish's religious devotion to the Roman Catholic Church that divided them from
the native population (Clark 1991).
Irish women were also a significant portion of the immigrant wave. "Between
1885 and 1920 almost 82,000 more females left Ireland than males" (Clark 1991, p. 26).3
They came from poor farms and hoped to send money home to help out. Irish women
worked mainly in menial jobs. The majority were housewives of working-class men.
Others were servants, garment workers, laundresses, etc.
There was also significant immigration from Sweden. Before 1850 many Swedes
migrated for religious reasons. After 1850 it was mainly for economic reasons. While
3. Including my grandmother, Josephine Collins, in 1915 from a small family farm outside of Dublin.
29
many early Swedish immigrants became farmers others became involved in logging,
mining, and railroad construction (Benson 1950). Swedish men "have a natural aptitude
for carpentry and house construction" (Benson 1950, p. 276). The need for winter houses
and the availability of building materials in their homeland developed these skills. Some of
these m ~ n also ran their own lumber mills. Because of their preexisting skills, most
Swedes avoided low-paying unskilled labor jobs. Instead of becoming laborers, many
Swedes became skilled machinists.
After the 1880's Italian immigration to America swelled. About 90 percent of the
immigrants were from Southern Italy and came because of environmental problems caused
by deforestation and pests, and also for economic reasons (Grifo 1990). Those that came
from Northern Italy were more likely to be businessmen than unskilled labor. Many early
Italian immigrants were seasonal workers who returned to Italy after their labor contract
was completed (Gabbaccia 1984; Iorizzo 1980). Some decided to stay.
Many of the early Italian colonies in urban America were comprised of individuals
from the same village in Italy. Some had their own dialect ofItalian and could not be
understood by other Italians. Italian merchants helped insure that villagers clustered
together so that they would have a captive market (Iorizzo 1980). These settlement
patterns were shattered in the twentieth century by huge increases in Italian immigration.
Most Italians did not find work relating to their experience as farmers and in trade
but as common laborers. Italians worked in many industries including railroads, tanneries,
mines, and in the textile industry, mostly as low-paid laborers (Grifo 1990). Italians may
have avoided unions because of economic reasons. They could not afford to go on strike
30
and were often used by capitalists as strikebreakers.
Immigrants from Eastern Europe included Slavic, Hungarian, and Austrian
peoples. Most of these immigrants were hired into coal mines as cheap labor and often as
strikebreakers. But they could be found in a wide strata of occupations wherever a strong
back and a willingness to sell your labor for a low wage was required. As coal mines
started to shut down in the beginning of the twentieth century many of these Slavic miners
moved to other urban industrial areas.
Other migrant groups never reached the numbers attained by the Irish, Swedish,
Italian, and Slavic peoples. English, French, German, Swiss, Russians, Greeks and even
Chinese did not flock to industrial America. But although their numbers were small they
were clearly evident in the town structure. Many of these immigrants were merchants and
came to make their fortune in America, not sell their labor without a share in the profits.
For example, while many Chinese worked in the western U.S. as cheap laborers, others
became businessmen and spread throughout the national urban infrastructure by running
laundries (McGlinn 1995).
Internal migration in America brought many Blacks north from the economically
depressed south. Due to immigration restrictions by the 1920's the latest wave of
immigrants from Italy and eastern Europe dwindled and capitalists needed a new source of
cheap labor that they could use to counter the now somewhat assimilated and often
unionized work force. Many corporations switched to using racial divisions to prevent
worker solidarity. But not all corporations had to use this tactic. Blacks were almost
completely excluded from northern railroad jobs with the exception of Pullman porters
31
(Licht 1983). Because the railroad labor force was already fragmented into sixteen
separate craft unions, the railroad did not need Blacks to defeat striking workers; they just
had to keep the craft unions divided, which they did successfully.
Before the Great Migration of Blacks to northern urban America there was a
number of Blacks who were already established both prior to the Civil War as free Blacks
and those that migrated north after being freed. Black women found employment as
domestic servants while men found niches in the urban economy as barbers and
shoemakers (Eggert 1993). All across Pennsylvania Black barbers owned their own shops
and were part of the petite bourgeoisie. Local residents" relied almost exclusively on
African American men for shaves and haircuts until the early twentieth century" (Grover
1994, p. 132). But by 1920 many of these barbers had left smaller urban centers. This
could have been caused by better opportunities in bigger cities but it may have been a
result of racial bigotry. The Ku Klux Klan was very active in Pennsylvania at this time and
this may be a possible explanation of the departure of Black families from towns like
Renovo.
2.4.2 AGE AND GENDER
Companies did not just rely on status, ethnic, religious, and racial divisions to keep
wages low. The deskilling of labor allowed companies to hire younger employees because
the required tasks required little training. So age played an important role in railroad and
other industries as well. "A majority of railway workers occupied unskilled and
32
semiskilled positions as trackmen, station hands, yard laborers, and brakemen. Carriers
deliberately hired young men at low wages to staff these jobs" (Licht 1983, p. 217).
Companies often recruited these men from rural farms and helped to increase the rate of
urban migration. Skilled positions were usually occupied by older men although some
who were discriminated against could be found in lesser positions. Railways also favored
married men over single men because married men were more stable and reliable
employees and less likely to go on strike because they had families to support. Three
percent of railway workers were age 65 or older (Licht 1983). These were workers who
could pass down some of their experience to the new, younger work force.
Gender was another factor that capital exploited. The use of women for clerical
expansion has already been discussed. Smaller capitalist enterprises started factories in
urban areas where there was a surplus of available female labor. These endeavors often
included silk mills and shirt factories. During the 1920's in Clinton County, Pennsylvania,
some 900 women were employed in these types of activities (pelt 1928). Many women
became domestic servants in order to earn a wage. But perhaps the most important role
women played was in reproducing the labor force. Children formed the majority group in
growing urban centers. Many of these children sought work at a young age.
Keeping house for their working-class husbands was also a significant role that
women performed. Those wives that worked had the double burden of work and house
keeping (Manning 1930). Due to the high mortality rates for men, many women were
head of households and owned all the family property. These women often turned their
homes into boarding houses to make money for their families.
33
2.5 CLASS STRUGGLE
These components of industrial society all played a role in the class conflict that
was to present industrial capitalists with some very serious threats to their view of how the
nation should be run. But American workers never engaged in a serious class struggle as
compared to workers' efforts in Europe. Socialism never developed here as Marx
envisioned (Vanneman and Cannon 1987). There were four main reasons why worker
solidarity was never successful in America: the deskilling of the work place allowed for
unskilled immigrants to act as strikebreakers creating ethnic tension; workers formed
separate craft unions instead of common unions that could present one bargaining unit to
the company; the petite bourgeoisie intervened to protect their own interests; and Capital,
in extreme instances, called on the direct intervention of the federal and state government
for military force to crush striking workers.
But despite these handicaps against the workers, strikes were common in America.
A good source of information on strikes is Ronald Filippeli's Encyclopedia of Labor
Conflict in the United States. The workers were usually bitterly opposed by the
industrialists in charge and seldom achieved their goals. When strikers were opposing the
great Pittsburgh steel magnate Henry Clay Frick in the late nineteenth century, he "vowed
to fight unions to the bitter end, stating he would never, never give in" (Clark 1991, p.
23). Here was class conflict! While Andrew Carnegie might have written publicly that he
supported worker struggles to obtain better wages and conditions, when his own
employees struck at his steel plant in Homestead, he fought against them tooth and nail
(Bridges 1903).4
34
Railroads strikes were also dealt with roughly. These strikes directly affected shop
towns like Renovo. The railroad strikes of 1877 were an end-result of the financial panic
of 1873. As the national economy soured, railroads lowered wages, reduced hours, and
implemented layoffs that lowered their costs so they could reduce freight rates (Eggert
1993). By 1877 the railroad workers had had enough and went out on strike, freezing the
national transportation network. In larger cities like Pittsburgh some strikers, and many
young hoodlums, rioted in the streets. Federal troops were called in and after some of the
strikers were killed, the mob attacked the train shops and burnt them to the ground
(Bimba 1968). Smaller urban centers like Renovo had no violence primarily because of
the isolation from labor agitators and because of the intervention of the local petite
bourgeoisie. In the end, workers could not hold out against the forces of capital, the
middle class, and the federal government so the strike ultimately failed. This is not to say
that the railroad workers did not have some small successes, it is just that their failures
were so devastating.
During World War I railroads made many concessions to workers to avoid strikes.
These included the eight-hour day, higher wages, and permission to unionize. After the
war, companies tried to renege on these agreements (Bimba 1968). Since there were
sixteen different agreements with the varying craft unions, railroad management decided to
target only unskilled and semiskilled unions for serious wage reductions. "Craft unionism
4. Carnegie did not publicly support railroad strikes.
35
divided the workers of the railroads and played directly into the hands of the ruling class"
(Bimba 1968, p. 307). While the 1922 railroad shop strike involved some 500,000
workers, only seven out of sixteen unions were actually on strike. In single-industry,
railroad-shop towns like Renovo this would drive a rift into the community that would
wrench the town apart. This strike was eventually defeated by the divisions of craft
unions, the use of strikebreakers, and with the help of the government which declared
martial law and called out the National Guard. But despite these pressures almost
250,000 workers refused to be intimidated and stayed out on strike. As a result they lost
their railroad jobs forever (Bimba 1968). These workers had to leave the shop towns and
look elsewhere for employment. This would dramatically change the demographics in
smaller urban places. But not all small urban centers were railroad towns.
2.6 URBAN INDUSTRIAL SPACE
There were many types of single-industry towns in Pennsylvania and the nation.
One of the primary determinants in shaping these urban centers was the level of
paternalistic interest that the capitalist showed towards workers, especially in regards to
their housing needs. Through control of housing, industrialists could allocate space
outside the control area of the workplace, further exacerbating class distinctions. In towns
where companies also controlled the retail market, members of the petite bourgeoisie were
excluded. Without this intermediary between capital and worker, class distinctions were
harsher. But industrial towns displayed varying levels of paternalism.
36
Mill towns in New England were one of the earliest industrial communities created
by capitalist enterprise. The first mill towns were located adjacent to waterfalls where
water power could be easily harnessed to operate the mill machinery (Hartford 1990).
The textile mill at Lowell, Massachusetts, provides one of the earliest American examples
of corporate paternalism. Here capitalists convinced middle-class farmers to send their
young daughters to work in the mill. The women were kept in segregated boarding
houses adjacent to the mill (Prude 1983). The company claimed to enhance the morals
and education of these women while exploiting their cheap labor potential. These single-
industry towns soon became attractive to other companies who built competing factories
and diluted single corporate control of the town (Gamer 1984).
The harshest examples of paternalism can be found in various small mining
communities that became to be known as 'company towns'. Here the corporation ruled
with an iron hand. All housing was built by the company and rented to the worker. The
company controlled all retail stores in the town effectively preventing the creation of a
middle class of shopkeepers. The worker had little say in how the town was run. When
miners went on strike they were evicted from company housing altogether. This lack of
control over housing sharpened class differences. About fifty percent of coal miners in
Pennsylvania lived in coal patches. Company towns were not found everywhere. In areas
where there were existing settlements before coal mining began, these harsh conditions did
not develop (Eller 1982).
37
Some industrialists, responding to the call for better living conditions for industrial
workers and their own need to placate the workers, developed model industrial towns
where the workers would have a more harmonious living situation. These innovative
capitalists had their industrial towns planned with schools, parks, and good sanitation
(Mosher 1989). In the model community of Pullman, Illinois, George Pullman retained
absolute control over his town. He owned everything. No private small businesses were
allowed, all housing was rented to the worker, and he would only let the Presbyterian
Church build a church in town (Walzer 1986). Pullman also tried to enforce social norms
that he set and controlled the sale of liquor. His town was an improvement over existing
industrial towns because of the better housing conditions but the lack of worker
participation in the community would later be heralded as undemocratic.
Due to an economic downturn, Pullman reduced his workers wages but would not
reduce the rent he was charging them for their housing. This was class conflict brought to
a head and the result was a nationwide railroad strike in 1896 against Pullman and in
support of his workers. Other industrialists took notice of Pullman's failed attempt to
provide a harmonious environment and modified their plans for model industrial
communities accordingly.
Another example of the connection between capital and labor through paternalistic
urban settings is that of steel mogul George McMurtry, who wanted a new town so that
he could escape his labor problems in Apollo, Pennsylvania. He wanted a model town to
help defeat future strikes and also to make money serving as a real-estate developer
(Mosher 1989). This model town, Vandergrift, had one main difference from other
38
planned industrial communities; workers were encouraged to buy their own homes and
private business was allowed. While Vandergrift may not have been perfect, it did provide
better living conditions for the worker. The softening of class distinctions provided by
worker-owned housing and private business meant that labor unrest was kept at a
rrummum.
These examples of paternalistic companies were not the norm. Most companies
did not put much effort into providing the workers anything but a job. Most of the new
industrial towns were established on the basis of accessibility of transportation networks
and local availability of raw materials. These towns depended on the railroad for most of
their transportation needs. Often railroad companies would help new industries like steel
mills locate their industry on their line because it meant more traffic for them (Magda
1985). They would often give the best land to a new industry and then make a lot of
money by platting a new town adjacent to the factory selling the lots to workers and small
businessmen. Often these lots were not on very desirable land since the best land had
gone to the factory. In addition to selling land adjacent to the railroads for new industry,
the railroads built new construction and repair facilities for their own use and again
profited by selling nearby land to create a town. This is how Renovo was created out of
the Appalachian wilderness.
In these new industrial settings the forces of society had a chance to shape the
pattern of urban settlement without the direct control of the dominant capitalist industry.
Within the initial town plan established by the corporate land company, workers and small
businessmen could exercise free will. The lack of direct and total capitalist intervention in
39
the housing markets of these towns allowed for residential segregation based on ethnicity,
occupational status, and religion. Private landlords replaced the company house for
renting workers. The case study of Renovo that follows will shed some light on how the
social processes of these industrial towns shaped the spatial pattern of urban life.
40
Chapter 3
PROPERTY AND LAND USE IN RENOVO
In 1862 Edward Miller, President of the Philadelphia and Erie Land Company
(hereafter P&E Land Company), purchased the site of Renovo from William Baird, a local
farmer (Rosenberger 1975). The land c o m p a n ~ transferred all the property north of the
railroad track to the Philadelphia and Erie Railroad to use for various railroad shops. This
was the land at the highest elevation from the river and comprised about 50 acres.
Additionally, the railroad received about 15 acres south of the tracks which included a
huge plot for the construction of a hotel and passenger station. This left about 90 acres
for the town of Renovo. Baird held one acre of prime land for his own use which was
located southwest of the intersections of Huron Avenue and Fourth Street (figure 3.1).
Here industrial and private capital combined to determine the form that Renovo would
take.
The P&E Land Company subdivided the remaining land into street blocks to form
the new town of Renovo.
6
Three main avenues -- Erie, Huron, and Ontario -- ran parallel
5. The land company was a separate corporation from the P&E Railroad and not necessarily a subsidiary.
Rosenberger, whose volume on the P&E Railroad is the only authoritative work, suggests that a study of this
company "might indicate that it had much to do with the growth of towns in North Central and Northwestern
Pennsylvania (1975, pg. 641).
6. The suburb of South Renovo was not laid out until about 1883.
Philadelphia and Erie Railroad Shops

III !I il illl I;
111111 I1II
,. _ !DID ElmIiIlll!llID mllHi li
... ' .. .......... ... ....:::.....:::: ... :·:::::i.:·..... .. i ! ....
en cn CD:r - . .... .. ... .
..........
"" ,. ,.
o Property Lot Outlines
IV. RaIlscov
;,/" ..., ../' Rlverscov
SUSqU
e
'" ";',
.. <.'. - .,.,/
':. <.,., -" ..,r en
'a / ·r
a'" ... . . . ,. ':t
po ... ,I, ..
•• •• 1ft _....-- .. ...
• ;. .. • .,..,.. 0. \
clln ..
n
J-oj /\

250 0 250 500 750 1000 FEa
!
Figure 3.1 . Street and property map of Renovo, including the suburb of South
Renovo.
+
.j:>.
to each other and to the West Branch of the Susquehanna River. These main
avenues were bisected by 17 numbered streets starting at the west end of town. Due to
the transfer of property to the railroad for the hotel and station, First and Second Street
never materialized.
42
The town was further divided into lots measuring 25 feet wide by 125 feet deep
(Rosenberger 1975). Blocks that bordered the river varied in the number of saleable lots.
The P&E Land Company sold these lots at prices ranging from $100 to $1500 depending
on the location. Lots along the river banks that were subject to periodic flooding were
cheap while lots bordering the busy tracks were much more expensive.
Tax assessment records for Renovo, available in the Clinton County Courthouse,
indicate the distribution of property among the citizens of this newly established town.
Without doubt, the P&E Railroad and the P&E Land Company were the dominant
landowners initially. As will be shown later, this dominance would decline over the next
25 years as more and more lots were sold. But first, I will analyze the composition of
worker-owned lots and houses.
3.1 PROPERTY OWNERSHIP
The most noticeable statistic from the 1866 tax assessmene records is that the
clear majority of taxpayers did not own a single lot. Out ofa total of258 heads of
household, 151 had no property at all. Thirty-eight people had one lot and a house. Many
6. The early assessment records did not provide occupational infonnation.
43
people had lots but had not yet had time to construct a permanent dwelling: 29 people had
one lot, 20 people had two lots, and a few people had more than two lots. This trend
would continue with a growing number of citizens starting to acquire more than two lots.
But most of the men and women of Renovo were renters whose rental income surely
fueled the property acquisition of their more wealthy neighbors and the coffers of the three
corporate interests in Renovo; the P&E Railroad, the P&E Land Company, and the
Pennsylvania Railroad.
By 1870 the town was rapidly expanding. According to the 1870 U.S. Census,
772 employed men and women now earned a wage in Renovo but there were only 166
property owners. This meant that the vast majority of people were still renting. Tax
assessment records from this year supplement the census data and provide a record of the
composition of property owners. About 82 of the property owners had one lot with one
house. The next biggest category was two lots with one house with 39 owners. Around
seven double houses had been constructed on lots by this time. Analysis of later Sanborn
Fire Insurance Maps show an ever increasing number of double-houses, row-houses, and
alley houses; all were attempts to increase the density of housing in Renovo.
In 1870 there was an increasing number oflarge property owners, excluding the
corporate interests. For example, Patrick Shelly, a foreman laborer, owned seven lots and
three houses. Anthony Dwyer, a local druggist, owned 12 lots and two double houses.
The creation of a separate class of private landlords was in process.
From the 1870 Census data it is possible to determine the distribution of property
owners according to their occupation. Some interesting patterns did become apparent.
44
All farmers and lumbermen owned property, as did most of the merchants. In terms of
total numbers, laborers and carpenters owned the most number of properties while in
terms of percentages, moulders ranked higher. Female-dominated occupations such as
servant, milliner, and drape maker had no property at all. This type of determinant will be
discussed in more detail in Chapter Five.
By 1880 the distribution of property owners continued along the previous trends.
Workers with no house or lot continued to dominate. Of the 1154 persons listed in the
census as head of household only 358 owned any property. The majority oflandowners
had between one and two lots with one to two houses thereupon. Thirty-six property
owners had more than two houses each. These people were small in number but were
beginning to control a large share of property.
And the large property owners continued to grow. There were at least twice as
many big landowners in 1880 as had been the case in 1870. W.A. Baldwin had 19 lots
while J as. and Kress Williamson had 22 lots. Dwyer was still a multiple owner. A new
participant in the real estate game was the Renovo Building and Loan Association.
Apparently this organization was established before 1876 when they owned 12 lots and 10
houses. By 1880 they only had three lots and one house and do not appear on later
assessment records. This is likely because they were a terminating building society or that
they had become so established and capitalized that potential home-owners could buy their
lots directly, rather than through this financial intermediary. But the largest landowners in
Renovo were the corporate interests.
All three large corporate interests were significant players in the rental market. They
45
provided boarding houses for workers but were not in exclusive control of this market. It
is unclear at this point what percentage of rental space was controlled by corporations or
private interests. What is clear is that the corporate interests divested the bulk of their
rental property by 1890 which left the private landlords in control of the rental market.
First, the P&E Land Company will be examined. Figure 3.2 indicates the extent of
their property holdings from 1867 until 1890. As one might expect, it shows a steady
decrease in the number of lots this company controlled. The land company also had some
houses, which are assumed to be rental properties, but these were either sold or
transferred to one of the railroad companies after 1870. After 1890 they were no longer
significant players in Renovo.
Clearly the P&E Land Company played a significant role in the allocation of
space within the community since they were responsible for the town layout. While there
was most certainly a connection between the land company and the railroad, the extent of
this connection is unclear. The land company may have had significant independence from
the railroad. In any case the actual sale of lots to individuals does not seem to have been
influenced by the land company. The resulting distribution of lots to the residents was a
result of the choices of the individual resident. Therefore the resulting spatial distribution
of various ethnic groups and occupational groups was independently derived.
Around 1880 land across the river from Renovo was purchased by James Stout.
He formed the South Renovo Land Company and laid out the town of South Renovo.
The main purpose seems to have been to profit from the growth of the Renovo by making
5 0 0 ~ 1 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - ~
400
en
(5
--.J 300
\f-
a
'-
Q)
.n 200
E
::J
Z
100
o
1867 1869 1870 1871 1872 1879 1880 1890
Year
Figure 3.2, Lots owned by the P & E Land Company
~
a-.
47
more land available. The land company built a bridge across the river to allow easy access
for residents to the railroad shops.
The P&E Railroad and the Pennsylvania Railroad can be considered the same
corporation for all practical purposes. It appears that they were the dominant agency in
controlling the Renovo rental market up until 1890. Between 1868 and 1880 they owned
18 boarding houses or tenements along with about 10 double houses. I believe that at first
the railroad had to provide housing for some of the workers since there was none
available. Some of this housing was along Sixth Street along with a boarding house along
Erie Avenue. As the town grew and more private rentals became available the railroad
appears to have mostly withdrawn from this market.
By the 1900s control of most of Renovo was held in private hands. Table 3.1 and
figure 3.3 show the distribution of property among head of households. Renters were
still the dominant group. Out of 1080 heads of household there were 548 renters and 181
boarders. There were 270 who owned their homes while 81 had mortgages. The balance
of renters to owners was almost the same among the three wards of Renovo with the east
ward having a slightly higher concentration of owners. South Renovo had more private
property owners than it did renters. As the new suburb of Renovo it had attracted a group
of residents whose primary purpose was to purchase their own homes. As land in Renovo
became less available to new property owners they looked across the river. South
Renovo presented these hopeful residents with one of the only areas available to those
waiting to buy their own home. The same process led to further growth in other
Table 3.1, Property status by ward including data on suburbs.
1900 Property
Status by
Ward
Own Free
Own Mortgage
Rent
Board
1920 Property
Status by
Ward
Own Free
Own Mortgage
Rent
Board
1920 Average
Household
Size by Ward
West
Middle
East
South
Footnote:
West Middle East South Brewery
Drury's
Totals Ward Ward Ward Renovo Drocton Run Run
270 85 69 99 17 N/A * N/A N/A
81 8 5 20 48 N/A N/A N/A
548 174 177 178 19 N/A N/A N/A
181 127 18 27 9 N/A N/A N/A
West Middle East South Brewery Drury's
Totals Ward Ward Ward Renovo Drocton Run Run
325 64 66 105 90 14 8 25
116
928
409
5
4.2
5.2
4.9
14 20
283 230
227 54
37 45 20
289 126 7
114 14 1
* Data not available for 1900.
The West Ward is west of Sixth Street.
1
2
1
The NIiddle Ward is between Sixth Street and Ninth Street.
The East Ward is east of Ninth Street.
1
8
1
48
Stout's
Hill
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Stout's
Hill
18
1
16
1
-
III
as
w
.c
:;
o
en
Own Free
Own
Mortgage
Figure 3.3. Property status by ward, Renovo, 1900.
49
Board
Rent
50
suburban locations outside of Renovo.
8
By 1920 the housing situation became more problematic. With the increase in
population there was now a greater need for housing. One indication of this was the rising
number of boarders. In 1900 there were less boarders than owners, by 1920 this was not
the case. Some 325 people owned their home mortgage-free while there were 409
boarders (table 3.1, figure 3.4). Another indication of the housing crunch is seen by
comparing renters with owners. In 1900 there were about twice as many renters as
owners but in 1920 there was almost three times as many renters then owners. The
number of renters now exceeded the number of mortgage-free owners in South Renovo
whereas twenty years earlier this had not been the case. The new suburbs of Renovo--
Drocton, Brewery Run, Drury's Run, and Stout's Hill -- were where new home-owners
had to look to find available housing. Only in these locations did home-owners exceed
renters.
The spatial distribution of types of property ownership reveal some interesting
patterns. Figure 3.5 shows somewhat of a concentration of people who owned their
home free of mortgage in the South Renovo area. The rest of the distribution appears to
be rather even throughout the town. Those that had mortgages tended to be found on the
edges of the developing urban center. There were more mortgaged properties in South
Renovo and in the west ward of Renovo then were found in the older parts of town
(figure 3.6). This makes some sense because fewer homes were available for sale in the
8. These would be Drocton on the eastern edge of town towards Lock Haven and Brewery Run, Drury' s
Run, and Stout's Hill which are all to the west of town.
.s:::
'5
o
en
til
- ~
2
Q
Own Free
Own
Mortgage
Figure 3.4. Property status by ward, Renovo, 1920.
51
Board
Rent
......
I n H 0 I 0 nlIm IHl I ill lli1 111 lID Gl
dll I - c:::J c::lWI=:::I E3 c=::J E3 C3 eEii t=:I .............. .
'''''' I,%{!I 00 -ttl "'c : "'" :;;;- "'" m :U I 1;;1"'"
.!/!-§ = .... E3 _§ =- E? D _E3 -= I /".
. ..... , .. ", ....•..•..•.•
.......
.........................
Own Froo
I / Rcils:ov
.../:::",::... ;:.,/ Ri Vf!lS:OV
. ...
"":;':. \ \ \\
.::\:\;\ ' .. . i
:: ::;.: \\\ n \\ . ::. _r
.: :::: nO- . U '. ' --
\ UUl tl-/--",
i l/
2SO 0 2SO 500 750 Faa
C""'! I
Figure 3.5. Location of homes that were owned free, Renovo, 1920 .
.......
+
VI
IV
..."",,,.. ..... ..
0 a 0 H 0 aODO D {]
= U a .... "'" - = I!I:"": IJ ""'" = =- 1,,,,1 :}" ..... .
.... . ................. .
.....
. ....
I
[J
c:::I
.......
......
.....••.
. ••.•..
.....
......
... ......
...., ............. .
. ......... .. ......

.. ,f'..".,.:''' RivEJ"S:m

--
=
-
I m
cs
-
c:::I
o n: ill
. ..;;: ...... ........
. ....... .
\1
. ..... ....
= CI
I I
c::::::I
B ...... p ...... ,.".,:,::::::.;:'::::r:....
. ........ .. ..
t::l
..
. ......
.......
....... .
. ... ...
.... .......
.. ...... .
''1\\, !\!\ t!l\
H' UU Ill' U 1\ \I ta
q:: \\ t\ U . UU·. \!l//
: \\ U ___
' %/-
/ 250 0 250
r""""! 500 750 F 1 Ed
+
Figure 3.6. Location of homes that were owned with mortgage, Renovo, 1920.
VI
.....
54
older areas of town and therefore there would be less likelihood of a mortgage existing.
Property owners in these areas were using the homes to generate rental income instead of
selling them.
A study of the distribution of renters shows the opposite pattern. There were less
renters in South Renovo and the eastern edge of town while many more in the western
part of town (figure 3.7). Due to the large number of renters they were a common thread
that wove the landscape of Renovo together. The distribution of boarders reveals a more
identifiable pattern. There were clusters of boarding houses at both the east and west ends
of Renovo with higher density boarding houses found primarily at the west end (figure
3.8). The west end had most of the hotels while smaller, independent homes housed
boarders in other parts of town. South Renovo had almost no boarders and there was also
an area around the north side of the bridge that had no boarders.
While home ownership may have been the goal of most residents few seemed to
have achieved this dream. One reason why many could not purchase their home may have
been the unavailability of housing for sale. The expansion into South Renovo and other
suburbs sparked an increase in home ownership in these areas. But as shown in South
Renovo, in only twenty years renters became the dominant type of resident. It was the
petty capitalist, holding on to multiple properties, that prevented many from buying a
house and not just the expense in making a down payment or trying to maintain a
mortgage. These landlords were not about to give up their property so there could be
more equality in the town. It is this example of property ownership that gives more
weight to Weber's concept of class. Whether or not you owned property determined your
: -f.1@i5 f .._ .... :;; !···:iJf£· ..· ...· q ...... .. ,:..... : ... :: ... - -- --.c;.• • w., .. ---.:...
_ JP II" I' 0 JIll. Hillf JdI I DB I B mil , 8m ft m WI P
0._ -m 1iiiiP- - fW&11 r=::m1!!!3 a::::mc:r:m t:::::IiiiiI 0--11 0::::::1 ea ........... ' .
........ . " .. '. E3 m_ -1111\!1 iii- _ fiil- _Emi3 _12Iii:iI IIIICQ_ = . a.mm _ ........... / .. ,. ..... .
.... " . Ee! 11=:1 . - l'I'llll.!la::cml r::z:zzza ...... ........ .." ........
....... ... , ......... :::. _om II g . .. iiiJ-D =- IPEPJ iftim iii Ei3mT 1m! fm ..... ..../ · .. ·:: .... .. ........... ·· ..
········· ...., ···,,·, ..,. mI tIIIDID 1m r:::;m IB!J E!!!!III..JlI lIB F:1m1 -r;PJ I ......................................................
' ....... . . • := .;; --ea II :::== 111- .............................. ........ .... . ..
..' ......... ... .-= =i == =; -t. -01%::1 ...:·::.::::.:::::·: ..:···: ..:·:: .. ·· ... ·· .... ..
··········.... :::::: .. ·1IIQJ1l.11II1 I lID nm "11 0 I oJ IIt,l1J.1.:,·::::·/:,·::,··· .. · ....
U .,
"' . . ...... .......... .t' ..... "' •• ".••
.........
................

Rert
Rals:ov
./\, ... ( Ri Vf?KS:OV
"./
........ ............ "' .

....... ............. . ....
'-" II \\1\ til ,\ \U - ,

\.:.::::.::. , ,: " \\ .. \\ Ii .... . . .... t\\
} 6\\ m \J '.: .
":. n\\.
:\ \
2SO 0 2SO 500 750 Feet
P'"""""ftj
+
Figure 3.7. Location of homes that were rented, Renovo, 1920.
\Jl
\Jl
.. ..
001 aD I 1
0
I I : D II. II D U I Dml C2 W D 1m n p
···... 1 · CD _ _ - E5iliiII .,/ ... .
Il 11111 ravlICWI c::I a::::I .... c::::::I • c::::::J 01: =Lj , ........... /.w·
........ .. ·.C.,. CJ c me D DO mr ............ .............. '
... .............. w - c::::II • •.•••• c:::::J: . ....... . ................... .............. .
.....
'''' .............. ......, flO - c::::I _ n 1
m
... , ......................... d · .... •··•
.... ... ."... I :tI - E3!!B t::I 0 U 0 == - w ........... .. ..... ...... ... .
<=I -
.......... ...................,.
...... .
............
....•......
.. .. ....., .
.... .... ...
.................. ..
. ... ............. .
::::.::::::::.:.:::::::.:.:::: .... ... ...... .
c:I \
,
. ..................... .
. ...... .....
.... .." ...
. .......... .

u
t\ .----
.........................
Number of Boarders/Lodgers
0
1

.;
250 0 250 500 750 Feet
t!1
+
I}/:j 2
_ 3 - 21
IV Railscov
/./';'.::.\ ../.:/ Riverscov
Figure 3.8. Location of boarding houses and number of boarders, Renovo, 1920.
VI
0\
57
class in society. Since both workers and the petite bourgeoisie were landlords it
suggests, for Renovo at least, that Weber's distinctions had spatial echoes. The analysis
now turns to an investigation of the land uses that developed on these property categories.
3.2 LAND USES
Primary data for land-use classification in Renovo was gathered from the Sanborn
Fire Insurance maps over almost four decades. The remarkable cartographic record
stored in the Sanborns provides an opportunity to trace the emergence ofland uses and
building coverage.
9
First, the business land-use zones will be discussed. The business
district lined Erie Avenue from Third Street to Seventh Street with an extension going
down Fifth Street to Huron. It appears as if the heart of this district was at Fifth and Erie.
In 1870 the section of Erie between Third and Fourth Street was owned by William Baird
who may have speculatively held this land until prices increased. Photographic evidence
reviewed from this time period reveal that most of these lots were vacant. Since this land
was not available at first the heart of the district began near Fifth Street. Baird was wise
to realize that because his land was between the passenger station and the business district
it was likely that its value was going to increase. By 1880 the Baird property had been
9 These maps are available on microfilm and for this reason none are produced as figures to go with the
text. The first maps for Renovo were produced in 1887 and the series was discontinued after 1925.
58
sold and became densely occupied by various businesses, although by 1887 there were still
some vacant lots in this area.
The heart of the business area, from Third Street to Seventh Street along Erie
Avenue facing the railroad shops, was occupied by a variety of establishments between
1887 and 1911. These businesses were independent of the railroad and as evidenced by
the number of competing establishments, prices should not have been outrageous. The
two and three story brick buildings along Erie Street faced the repair yards across several
lines of tracks that were always filled with arriving and departing trains. These tracks
represented a sharp division between shop and town.
One of the key businesses found in this area were hotels. The main hotel was the
Renovo Hotel which was operated by the railroad: "Renovo is much visited in the
summer by health and pleasure seekers, and has an extensive, well-built, and finely
managed hotel. "(William Mason Cornell, 1876, qtd. in Rosenberger 1975, p. 460). The
hotel had two trout ponds which were used to stock the river for visiting tourists. In
addition to supporting tourism this hotel was probably used by railroad managers who
resided in town. But by 1911 the railroad sold off the hotel and grounds and the hotel was
partially demolished by the extension of St. Clair to the west. The remaining half was
converted into apartments.
The rest of the hotels were two and three story structures with a saloon on the first
floor and the remaining floors let for rooms. This space was most likely used to house
new workers. In this respect they were less like hotels and more like boarding houses.
Census records show that many of these did in fact house workers. Travelers through
59
Renovo may have also stayed at these hotels but this use does not seem as likely because
most travelers would have been heading for a different destination so there should have
been no reason to get off the train in Renovo.
Table 3.2 indicates the names of the hotels present in Renovo from 1872 to 1879.
There was some turnover in the hotel business. Another interesting detail is that most of
the hotel-keepers did not own the hotel but rented their location. By 1887 there were
, .
eleven hotels in Renovo and nine of these were in the business district. By 1904 the
number of total hotels had increased to fifteen but by 1925 there were only two hotels in
Renovo (Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps).
Other business establishments in Renovo were not all that stable. Table 3.3 shows
the changing format of the business structure along Erie Avenue from 1887 to 1911. Here
the local residents could purchase the items they needed on a daily basis. Entertainment
was also available in the form of saloons and billiards. The Temperance House and later
the YMCA were other settings for sociability for those workers who did not want to
drink.
The first bank to open in Renovo was established in 1872 by R. B. Caldwell who
purchased five lots from the P & E Land Company so the bank could mortgage these
properties. It folded four years later (Renovo Record Scrapbook, N.D.). Not until 1884
did another group attempt to establish a bank, the Bank of Renovo. The First National
Bank of Renovo opened in 1887 and in 1912 the State Bank of Renovo opened. All three
of these banks were located in the prime business district area between Third and Fourth
Streets next to the passenger station.
60
Table 3.2, List of hotels present in Renovo during the 1870s.
1872 1876 1879 Rent paid in 1879
Exchange Hotel Rivere House Renovo Hotel $0
United States Berger House European Hotel $40
West Branch House Exchange Hotel Burger Hotel owned
American Hotel Keystone Restaurant Smith's Rest $35
Mountain House European House Exchange Hotel owned
Union House Mountain House Keystone Hotel $50
Keystone House 5th St Hotel Revere House $40
5th St House Union House Daugherty's Hotel $40
Erie Avenue House Eagle Hotel Mountain House $33.33
Renovo Hotel Jefferson House Arcade House $25
Stocholm House
Clinton House
Lee Saloon
Renovo Hotel
Source: Clinton County Assessment Records, 1872, 1876, and 1879.
Table 3.3, Renovo business district, 1887-1911.
61
1887 1897 1911
Third Street Third Street Third Street
\,Iothing I Clothing [Clothing
Dry Goods/pnntlng I ury GoodsIPrinting I General store
European Hotel Il:uropean Hotet I European Hotel /I. Saloon
McDonald Hotel I Binder Hotet I Hotel /I. Saloon
urugs LDrugs lorugs
MCvicker Saloon /I. Hotel LGrand Central Hotel /I. Saloon I Grand central Hotel /I. Saloon
Cigars vacant I Grocer & I"rult
Barber Milliner [Clothing & snoes
Jewelry Jewelry I Clothing
Laundry I-'notographer I Dreamland lII10tion pictures! Eagle Club
Jewelry Jeweiry same
: Restaurant \,igars & candy same
: Not finlsned liquors same
!Bank Bank
lurugs Drugs I Jewelry
IOryGOOCS
Clothing I obacco & 1-'001
I Eagle Hotel Eagle Hotel Bartler
I Notions ClOUlIng clOtnlng
I Post OffICe Liquors

I Exchange
ClolrunglExchange Hotel H_arvue Hotel & saloon
Fourth Street Fourth Street Fourth Street
I Keystone Hotel Keystone Hotel .Dayton Hotel
I Grocer
vacant confectiOnery
ITelegraph Office Telegraph omce Stationary & Sports
I Barber

uryGOOQs
16&S B&S Milliner
I Grocer/clOmlng , Restaurant
I salOon
: HardWare & Novelties robacco
B&S IB&S I:lkS CIUD
Ba.:)
Barber ItJamer
Ijrocer I Drugs
IGeneraI ::;tore
[Barber
ICon. __
ITobacco a. Pool
Fifth Street Fifth Street Fifth Street
IOryGOOaS I Grocer/Ory GooOS IGenerai Store
16artle!" IBaItler I Electric Supplies
I salOon I Insurance
IMlwner

Il"urnitUre
TobacCO
Tobacco I unKnOWl'l(can"t reaa)
[FurnItUre FUI'MItUre vacant
I MOUntain Hotel & ::>a1Oon Hotel & salOon looacco & Pool
I o rugs
Drugs I Drugs
16&S
B&S [B&S
I Not nnlSlle<l
wart! Hotel [Ward House
1611uaras
rooacco 10DaCCQ/ salOon
ICIOIMIng
Sixth Street Sixth street Sixth Street
Temperance House .1'MCA.
Confectionery WlncISOr Hotet & salOOn
saloon 1:;)81000 COOtIler
Itsarner Fruit
IHaraware HardWare
Groceryl

................ Liquors
'Grocer 'Dry Goods
[General Store I General Store ,l-urnitUre & ::;toves
I Grocer Il-ruR
12rnce
IBIllIartIS I BIIII8rtIS !Variety

I Jewelry
I Grocer I Grocer I MIlliner
Source: Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps, 1887, 1897, and 1911.
62
As early as 1887 a pattern emerges of some businesses locating in the heart of
residential areas. These businesses were primarily grocers or retail outlets aimed at home
needs. As the town grew, more of these retail outlets sprung up. By 1925 an entire block
of retail shops developed between 14th and 13th Street along Erie Avenue. This
concentration of merchants was most likely aimed at the immigrant Italian population
which dominated the east end of Renovo.
Another non-residential use of land in Renovo was for light industry and service-
oriented businesses. In 1887 these included a shingle mill machinery manufacturer, the
Renovo Light Works, and the Dwyer Coal Yard. By the tum of the century there were
two new industries, the Renovo Silk Mill and the Atlantic Oil Refining Company. The
shingle mill machinery manufacturer had gone out of business. Some of these businesses
had located next to the river banks; the recurring floods, with resulting destruction of the
sites, may have explained some of this turnover in light industry.
After World War I more changes became evident. The old school building on 14th
Street had been purchased by the Bob Shirt Factory. This company was taking advantage
of the large female labor force to produce shirts. Nearby at the end of Fourteenth Street
by the river was the Renovo Laundry and Dry Cleaning facility which also used female
labor. With the advent of the automobile and the opening of a road from Renovo to Lock
Haven, evidence of the influence of the automobile becomes present on the landscape. In
1925 there were four auto repair garages, two showrooms, and numerous auto garages
lining the alleys.
Some land in Renovo was used for churches, schools, and other government
63
buildings. There were seven churches in town by 1925. These churches played an
important role in class formation. This may be evidenced by the spatial location of the
churches. For example, the Trinity Episcopal Church was next to the passenger station
and the Masonic Temple. The Catholic Church, nine blocks away on Ninth Street, was ill
the heart of Irish residential neighborhoods; this church occupied the largest amount of
space by any religious organization. And even further east was the Lutheran Church at
Eleventh Street and Huron Avenue.
Schools represented another area of land use. In the early days there were four
schoolhouses. One of these was at Drury's Run, about one mile west of town. Here was
the location of the West End Brick Company. By 1925 the schools had been consolidated
into one building on Seventh Street and Ontario Avenue.
Perhaps the most important public organization was the municipal government.
The main building was on Fifth Street and was shared with a hose company. A cursory
review of the municipal officers revealed that at least some of them were large property
owners which supports earlier observations that these property owners would have an
interest in controlling local government.
The most prevalent land use within the urban space of Renovo was residential.
This land use dominated the landscape. The increase of the town's population from 1,800
in 1870 to 7,168 in 1920 caused rapid growth to occur. South Renovo became one of the
outlets for expansion. A bridge was completed in 1883 across the river (Clinton County
Historic Survey Report, 1984). This bridge was rebuilt four times due to its inevitable
collapse when a raging flood came ripping down the West Branch of the Susquehanna.
64
One wonders how the residents got to work while the bridge was being rebuilt.
The primary residence building in Renovo was the single-family dwelling unit. By
1887 there were 204 dwellings of this type. The largest number of single family houses,
12, was found on the sub-block cornering Fifth and Huron. This part of town would
continue to be predominately single-family dwellings. In 1904 the number of houses
increased to 354 total. By 1925 this number had only increased by two houses. Since the
population of Renovo grew significantly from 1904 to 1925 where did the people stay?
The growth in dwelling units must have occurred elsewhere.
Further analysis of the Sanborn maps indicates that double, triple, and quad
dwelling units along with row houses and alley houses provided housing opportunities for
many of Renovo's citizens.lo In 1887 there were 67 double family houses and other higher
density units that could accommodate 193 families. There were also 21 alley houses
which meant that the majority of residents were not residing in single-family dwellings.
There was also one very large tenement in Renovo. The Otzinachson
ll
tenement was
owned by the railroad and had been built in 1863 to accommodate the construction crews
(Renovo Record Scrapbook, N.D.). According to the 1870 census there were around five
boarding houses in Renovo occupied by groups of single working men.
The number of duplexes practically doubled by 1904 when there existed 125 of
these units in Renovo. With the increasing numbers of the other multiple dwelling units
10. This infonnation was compiled on draft maps but time did not pennit the incorporation of this data into
the GIS that was developed, therefore no maps are provided for the reader.
11 . This tenement housed mostly Protestant workers who were members of the fraternal organization, the
Order United American Mechanics. The O.D.A.M. opposed further immigration of Irish and Gennans and the
spread of the Roman Catholic Church.
65
added to these double houses, there were 356 total dwellings, two more than the total
number of single family units. Alley houses had also increased to 26 units. Most of these
alley houses continued to be used as residences but a few of them were merely constructed
while the main house was being built on the lot.
As stated before, single family units did not increase from 1904 to 1925 but the
density of population did increase. The extra population was housed within multiple
family dwelling units. The total number of these dwelling units contained increased to 500
units. Row houses alone had increased to 11 with a combined total of 93 dwellings. The
quantity of alley houses more than doubled to 64 units. There were now five apartment
buildings in Renovo too.
The increasing number of multiple family units points to the high density of
population in Renovo by 1925. As described before, the majority of these families, or
single men in some cases, did not own these properties. Their rents supported the
increasing prosperity of the landlords of Renovo. These petty capitalists increased the
value of the properties by converting them into apartments and other high density units. It
not only increased the value of the property but it also increased their monthly income. In
the process the formation of the landlord class became more evident. This relationship
between renter and landlord was as strong as the relationship between worker and
management. The working class was getting to know their place in society both at work
and at home.
66
Chapter 4.
SPATIAL CONSIDERATIONS OF SOCIAL
DEMOGRAPIDCS IN RENOVO
Renovo's population was not homogeneous. The residents represented many
different nationalities. Many were immigrants who arrived in Renovo at different periods
of time. There were also differences based on age, religion, and gender. How these
different social demographics affected the choice of residence in the urban space of
Renovo is the key focus of this chapter.
4.1 ETHNICITY
The 1870 Census reveals that the primary origin of workers in Renovo was
Pennsylvania.
12
Four hundred and eighty-one workers came from Pennsylvania with
another 67 coming from other states, primarily New York, Delaware, and Maryland.
12. The U.S. Census was used as a primary data source for information on the ethnic background of
Renovo's residents. Later census records were reviewed to check for new immigrant groups arriving in
Renovo.
Foreign-born workers numbered some 158 and were primarily from Ireland. Smaller
immigrant groups included 20 workers from England and 21 workers from the various
states of Germany. There were also five Blacks engaged in work or business in Renovo.
67
In 1870 most occupations were dominated by native-born workers, but there were
several categories where foreign-born workers were the majority. These would include
merchants, blacksmiths, shoemakers, brewers, baker, miller, stone mason, and brick
mason. These foreign-dominated job categories were primarily skilled occupations. Most
of the merchants were Irishman while the other occupational categories were made up of
varied nationalities.
In job categories dominated by women there is also a foreign component. Keeping
house was listed as the occupation for some 334 women and their ethnicity usually
reflected that of their spouse. Most female wage earners in Renovo were servants and
about a third of these women were foreign born, mainly from Ireland. Both milliners and
drape makers included foreigners in their ranks. Albeit slight, there were also people of
color in Renovo. Two of the 51 servants were Black women. Black men dominated the
occupation of barber, holding three of the four barber positions in town.
An examination of later census data reveals that successive waves of immigration
included Swedish workers between 1880 and 1900, and a large group of Italian workers
starting in 1900 and continuing to 1920. By 1887 there was a Stockholm Hotel on 8th
Street and in the 1890's two Swedish churches were also built on 8th Street. By 1911
there was an Italian colony found on 14th Street (Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps).
The 1900 Census records were used to gain a more detailed perspective on the
68
immigrant makeup of Renovo. 13 The majority of residents were born in America. Out of
a total of 4,504 residents, 3,653 were born in Pennsylvania with 168 being born in
surrounding states. Data were not collected to see if the parents of these residents were
foreign-born but it is certain that a small percentage were. This number would probably
be close to the breakdowns provided by data collected from the 1870 Census.
The primary immigrant group in 1900 was still the Irish with 207 immigrants. 14
Coming in second were Swedes (179) followed by Germans (84), Hungarians (57), and
Italians (34). Renovo had a good mix of people including a few from places as far away
and diverse as Russia and China.
In order to understand the flow of these immigrant groups the four largest groups
were analyzed to see what the dates of immigration were (figure 4.1). Irish immigration
was spread out fairly evenly from 1850 to 1893. There are peaks evident in the years
1850, 1860, and 1870 but these are most likely a result of older immigrants rounding
down or rounding up their date of immigration. IS Swedish immigration occurred around
1870 with large flows between 1880 and 1890. German immigration seems to be constant
while Hungarian immigration mainly starts in 1881 and is constant from there. While
Italian immigrants were not examined in detail, Italian immigration picked up considerably
after 1900 all the way until 1920. This means that the bulk ofItalians arrived some twenty
years after the Swedes and Hungarians.
ll. While I only collected ethnic data from the 1870 Census from worker statistics, for the 1900 Census
these data were collected for all residents including women and children.
14. The age of some of these immigrants indicates that they were also cOWlted during the 1870 Census.
15. Similar peaks are seen for the other groups and it seems too much of a coincidence.
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70
It is the spatial residential patterns of these immigrants that provide the most
interesting data. But before examining the immigrants a brieflook at the distribution of
native-born residents is in order. Figure 4.2 shows the pattern of settlement for native
Pennsylvanians. Since most of the town was in this category there doesn't appear to be
much clustering. There is, however, a predominance of Pennsylvanians in the western end
of Renovo. Since Renovo was mostly occupied initially by Pennsylvanians it makes sense
that they would predominate in the western end of town because it is the oldest section of
town. Most of the gaps shown in the eastern end are as a result of there being no
residences at all on certain lots. The suburb of South Renovo appears to have a lighter
concentration of Pennsylvanians.
German and English immigrants do not appear to exhibit any tendency towards
clustering but rather seem to be found throughout the town (figures 4.3 and 4.4). Their
numbers are also small and this may have made it difficult to cluster in the first place. A
more likely answer is that these immigrants had had time to assimilate into the fabric of the
community. The small pattern of English in the western part of town may be explained by
the close proximity of the Trinity Episcopal Church, the American equivalent of the
English Anglican Church.
Irish settlement patterns do exhibit signs of clustering (figure 4.5). The
predominant cluster is between Eighth and Tenth Street centered around the Catholic
Church. This area is known locally as the Irish acre. But the Irish were not restricted to
this one area. There are several families in the west end of town and another cluster in the
east end of town. There are almost no Irish to be found in South Renovo though.
F#§#-:::?'& t .... ·-.. ... ):,w. ..
WJlIIJIlID I 0 lID 51 HIiD J I _ qJ wmm mm DB lIIJl81l.ll
D
011 [P .
'S'm iii · - 11""'1 ...... EEc::::!:1 I =- c::=I , ....... ,'
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tlIIIIUIiiiI ""?:!I .. .. LJ " .. " ,, "'" ." !!!e;a ..... .••• i" I!!II!!I ;. 53 :::::::::' " ...................... : .... :, .. ....... , ..
' ...., ....... ,... IIUlllllliill m= II aem fill. _ Ii IE c .............. · ................... .

II_lID ,lnllll HI mllPlfJ.J: ::·::::-:;::::·:;::;·:::: :"··'''··''·''.,.· .. ''· ... "
.', .. '.. I[] lIP .. ... 0' • •••• ••• ,.' • • •• •• • • ..... . . . . •• •••••• """"
......
H:?/:J Native born
IV. Rallscov
/"'\ .,/ Rlverscov
... ':.'
....
........

''''''...... . ..... '''': ....... '" \tl\\\\\tu:\ l\\iHt\(-m\' B\\\\\\Ul'" - t\
tl>\ tuU» \Ill ...-- i
•.
:: :'; 1a" . ·I\U Ul
", uU ';
.; \, / 25
h
0 250 500 Feet
+
Figure 4.2. Distribution of native-born population, Renovo, 1920.
-..)
..... ....
.. ' ..
...
.•.
..•. , ...., ......... , ........ .
........ ....


......
.................. ......
Ga-man
Rcils::ov
RiV9"S::OV
t=::I
c:::a
EQ
c:::3


=
-
250

o
.................... .......
. ....... .
•.....
250 500
Figure 4.3. Distribution of German population, Renovo, 1920.
,/' ...... .
/ .............. .
. . .. .... . . ... .. ... ......: :. ::::::::.: ..::.::.:::::: ..J." ..... . .. ..... .
. ....
........ .. ..................
.....
. ............. ..................... , .., ....•. ,,.., .....
• .. : •. :: :.:::.::::.:: :::-::::::: .•...••• ,d
750 Feet
+
-.)
N
I
...., ...... L ESI
.' ....... :::..
........ ........
........ .......
IlZIIIII
............. ... . ...
F
........
.... ........ .... , ...
......
.• '."' •... ., •....... -.. , ........................ ..
u
mm
-
...........•.................
." ..... ...
...•.•.. -' ........... "... .;", " ... ",;': ........ .
. ................. .
. ................../' .... .
....................................
• • •.••••••••• y ....................... ....... .
..... .......... .....
250

:.:::::':"
o 250

Erg ish
Rails::ov

Figure 4.4. Distribution of English population, Renovo, 1920.

...... ...............
.......,
.......
......./:::::> .... ..-.
... ......
. ........ ................... .
. .....
. .......
. ........ d .. ...... ...... . . "' ••••••• v ••v ••" .. , .. ••
. ..............
. ... ........... .. ................ .
..........
500
--
-------
750 Felt
+
-.l
\;J
iP .. .... ...; .. :irJ: ,·=*r*'...,....·,· .. ......·w··· .. ... ..m-... .. .. .....* ...;ffi;t
.....
...
'. .....
" . ' .•...... ............ .
- I I D gO m on
tl c:::II c::::::I
.... ' 0 I r::r::::J .
- E53
- c=::I m:::J
c:::l
EEil c::::I c::::::I
-.....•.....
..........
Irim
RcilfIXN
Iy: RivEf'fIXN
.,/ \/
(
.:
q
250

--
o
Figure 4.5. Distribution of Irish population, Renovo, 1920.
250 500
-------
750 Feet
+
--.I
"'"
75
South Renovo appears to be predominately Swedish, Hungarian, and Austrian
(figures 4.6,4.7, and 4.8). The Swedes also had a small cluster around the Eighth Street
bridge. This is where two Swedish Churches, the Swedish Congregational Church and the
St. Johns Swedish Evangelical Lutheran Church, were located .. There was also a
Stockholm boarding house located here (Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps). It seems logical
that the proximity of this Swedish cluster near the bridge would explain the expansion into
South Renovo by the Swedish group. Hungarians occupied the middle part of this suburb
with the Austrians occupying the eastern end. It is also apparent that the creation of
South Renovo as a suburb coincided with the immigration of these three ethnic groups.
The Italians were the latest immigrant group to arrive in Renovo. Figure 4.9
indicates that the eastern part of town was where you would be likely to hear Italian being
spoken. Indeed, on the 1911 Sanborn map, this area was indicated as an "Italian colony."
Examination of the small group of Italians along Erie Avenue between Sixth and Ninth
Street indicated that they were mostly merchants who lived above their shops. The
eastern end of town was the last to be developed because it was also the area hardest hit
by the recurring floods. This factor led to lowered property costs and a lack of desire for
earlier residents to live in that area of town. Since the Italians were the last immigrant
group to arrive this was an area where they could settle without disrupting other groups.
The lower property costs was also a factor since the newly arriving Italians worked at
low-paying laborer positions.
There were also Blacks in Renovo. In 1870 there were four Black barbers who
i'¥4b: .... ···· ..· .. ..... ..· .. ..
a B

•....., ......... .........
........
...........
LB. Swedish
IV. Railscov
/\ ../ Riverscov
.' .....
III
......
,-.. •....•.•...
===-
m
........:.:.::.:.: ..::/.: .. ...... ... . .
........
all I
..... ...... _....... .... .
.. ... .. ..... ............ : ••••: • •• : : .:: .. . < .. . .. ........... .. .
I
.. ",;::: .. , .. .. '" ....... , .... "
... ...
1m
CI
I D
. ............ , ........ .
. ............................ ,
.. .. ... .. .... .. :.::: ..:.: ... :.: ..: ...•.. .
,
... . '\ .. ;\\\ \ .. ... \\
\.';:.-:' \ \ IL
.\: \ \\ \1U
',4!\ \ ,,\ \ ,-----------
iI\\'-
i\\/
250 0
250 500 750 Feet
I
.. .. .. ....... .. .. ... ······w ... , ....... . . , ..
+
Figure 4.6. Distribution of Swedish population, Renovo, 1920.
-.)
0-
.. Z'Z'a'''''S:f.?'' .. .. ·· .... ..· .. n ....
.•...
..•... •.......
"

CI
.•........
...........:.; ....
........ ........ .
-
. : ........... . .
............... .......
.....
............. ........ . . .....
..... " .
.... .....•.
................
....................
.... ...
........ .... ......•.......... ...................., ........ .. .
%
Hungcrian
Rals:ov
RivfrS:OV
Figure 4.7. Distribution of Hungarian population, Renovo, 1920.
· ................ .
. ...... .... ...... . ...... / .. ..... v •..•.• • .•••
. ............................. .
....... . ..... .............. , ......... , ............. .
. •...
... ....
•..... .... ....... .. . .. .t' •••• .t'••
• • •••• .t'•••••••••••••••
••••••••••••••••••••••••• .t' .......... .
\1\1
-----------
+
-.I
-.I
.-" .....
". ".

...........
............
................ .
......................
.. -............................ , ........." ..
" Austr"lan

/"\/; Rlverscov
... ..
I I
c::::I
....................-
_... -......... .

........ .........
........
.... ........ ...
............. ..... /
. .. ' .' . _..... ........... .............
. •......
..-•.•.. .. .. ........ .c ............ .... ...... N' ... .c .... ......... ..
.... ......-.
• • •• N .......... ····· ·,···, .. ,.,····.... ••• ••••
..........


.:
...-----
-
/ 25,g,., 0 250 500 Foot
+
Figure 4.8. Distribution of Austrian population, Renovo, 1920.
.
-.J
00
, ....
I 0 • QJ mil nn a 0 I I Da D 0 llIll D D
...•........
................. ............
......
. ..... .
...........
.. ... ..
ItalIan
::'.::::::.: ...
,/' '\./'
a 12DE!9 c=l&=='E3 ./.J

s==-
c:::a
c:::z::J cm:::::a
... .. ......
. .. .................... , .... .. ...... ........ .. .
. ............... .
....... ..............
. ........ .

-----------
n
,
\\
/
2SO 0 250 500 750 Feet
r-
+
Figure 4.9. Distribution ofItalian population, Renovo, 1920.
-..J
'C>
80
lived in town with their families. Their sons were also barbers. Census records indicate
that they were born in Maryland, North Carolina, and South Carolina. There is no easy
way to determine if they were free prior to the Civil War or not. Renovo does have some
local stories about being a stop on the underground railroad to Canada so perhaps some of
these former slaves decided to stay in Renovo. One of these Black families had a four-
year old daughter who was listed as white on the Census records. By 1900 there were
only three Black families and by 1920 only one family was left. There were single Black
men and women in Renovo during this time period performing functions such as hotel
cook and domestic servant. Also the railroad used Black men as porters but these men
never became permanent residents. But after 1920 the Black population disappeared from
Renovo for reasons unknown but perhaps related to the formation of the Ku Klux Klan in
this area of Pennsylvania.
It is clear that ethnicity is a good indicator of residential clustering. I have shown
that there were some distinct patterns evident on the landscape of Renovo. But what were
the reasons for these clusters? One of the primary determinants was certainly the
availability of cheap space. The new groups took over the cheapest space they could find
in town. This was usually at the edge of urban development. Admittedly, it was also a
factor that similar people like to live together. For example, Italian families usually only
took on fellow Italians as boarders and this was seen to be true with other ethnicities. So
while ethnic groups may tend to cluster, the area around which they will cluster is
determined by economic considerations more then ethnic tensions among different groups.
81
4.2 POPULATION.
During the period from 1870 to 1920 Renovo saw phenomenal growth. The
population, close to zero in 1863 had grown by 1870 to 1,940 people
16
. This tripled to
some 6,460 individuals by 1920 with a possible higher peak during WWI. Figure 4.10
breaks down this population growth by ward. 17 During the period from 1900 to 1920
there was only moderate growth in the west and middle wards while in the east and south
wards there was significant growth. The low-gaining wards were geographically restricted
from further growth because there was little space left for further housing. The increases
in population here came as a result of an increase in the density of housing units and an
increase in boarders.
I8
The larger increases in the east and south wards came about
because these were the growth areas for Renovo. The east ward also simply has more
space than the other wards.
A breakdown of the population of Renovo during this period reveals some
interesting trends concerning age. In 1870 the largest single age group was young men in
the 20-24 age group (figure 4.11). There were almost twice as many men as women in
this age group. This population pyramid shows that in the early days of Renovo there
were many more single men employed by the railroad than would be the case in later
16. The Baird family was there prior to 1863.
17. Ward data for 1870 is not available.
18. As discussed in Chapter Three.
7000
6000
5000
4000
3000
Total
West
Ward
Middle
Ward
East
Ward
South
Renovo
Figure 4.10. Renovo population data by ward, 1870, 1900, and 1920.
82
90 to 94
85 to 89
80 to 84
75 to 79
70 to 74
65 to 69
60 to 64
55 to 59
50 to 54
45 to 49
40 to 44
35 to 39
30 to 34
25 to 29
20 to 24
15 to 19
10 to 14
5 to 9
o to 4
-200
1870 Population Pyramid
-150 -100 -50 0 50 100 150 200
Fig\lre 4. 11. Population pyramid, Renovo, 1870.
(]iJ Male
o Female
83
84
periods. By 1900 this would change dramatically (figure 4.12). This population pyramid
is more balanced with children being the largest group. Men and women are fairly
balanced and represent the presence of more family groups than in the earlier days. The
surplus of males from 1870 are still evident in the ages 50-59 though not double the
number of females.
By 1920 the population pyramid seems to have reverted to the pattern evident in
the 1870 pyramid (figure 4.13). There is an increase in the male population in the age
group 20-49 when compared to women. Also evident is a shrinking of the pyramid shape
for children ages ten to nineteen. The probable cause for this is the new Italian arrivals of
young laborers who did not have children.
4.3 AGE
When property status is compared to age classification some distinct patterns
emerge. There are five possible property status classifications; own free, own mortgage,
rent, board, or dependent. Those people that were dependent were not analyzed for age
class but they were mostly young and overwhelmingly female. Complete data for 1870 is
not available to make comparisons since the only information recorded during the 1870
90 to 94
85 to 89
80 to 84
75 to 79
70 to 74
65 to 69
60 to 64
55 to 59
50 to 54
45 to 49
40 to 44
35 to 39
30 to 34
25 to 29
20 to 24
15 to 19
10 to 14
5 to 9
o to 4
-300
1900 Population Pyramid
-200 -100 0 100 200
Figure 4. 12. Population pyramid, Renovo, 1900.
300
SMale
o Female
85
90 to 94
85 to 89
80 to 84
75 to 79
70 to 74
65 to 69
60 to 64
55 to 59
50 to 54
45 to 49
40 to 44
35 to 39
30 to 34
25 to 29
20 to 24
15 to 19
10 to 14
5 to 9
o to 4
-400
1920 Population Pyramid
-300 -200 -100 0 100 200 300 400
Figure 4. 13. Population pyramid, Renovo, 1920.
IlllMaie
o Female
86
87
census was whether or not property was owned.
19
In addition, since the population of
Renovo in 1870 was mostly younger it is not representative oflater, more "normal"
populations. It was predominately younger individuals that owned property as one might
expect.
It is the data from 1900 and 1920 that is most revealing. It appears as if there is a
transition that occurs as an individual grows older. First, the person boards or lodges with
a family or in a boarding house. These boarders are usually single and mostly male. The
individual then makes a transition to renting property. Most renters are married and only
in the rare occasion do single men rent. There were a number of women renters but
practically all of these were widows. The next transition is to buy property through a
mortgage and as the person ages the mortgage is eventually paid off and the property is
owned free.
20
Figure 4.14 for 1900 and figure 4.15 for 1920 show these transitions
graphically.
Age also plays an important role in the occupation of a given individual. Data
from the 1870's shows that almost all the workers were young because the whole
population was young. Additionally, since the industrial revolution was just beginning
there was not a pool of older skilled workers for the railroad to draw upon to perform
needed functions. This would not be the case for the periods of 1900 and 1920. The
actual data will be discussed in detail in Chapter Five which specifically deals with
19. One possible comparison that could have been made was a comparison of the dollar value of property
owned versus age since this data was available. Although I did not do this, my feel of the data was that older
people owned a higher dollar value of property.
20. As discussed in Chapter Two these mortgages were of a much shorter duration than is prevalent in
modem times.
1900: Own Free
80r---------------------------__




14 to 24 25 to 34 35 to 44 45 to 54 55 to 64 > 64
1900: Own Mortgage




10+----------1
5 +-----==--1

14 to 24 25 to 34 35 to 44 45 to 54 55 to 64 > 64
1900: Rent

150 f------------i
100 r----------;
50 f------:::-==::----i

14 to 24 25 to 34 35 to 44 45 to 54 55 to 64 >64
1900: Board

60
40
20

14 to 24 25 to 34 35 to 44 45 to 54 55 to 64 > 64
Figure 4.14. Property status by age groups, Renovo, 1900.
88
1920: Own Free






14 to 24 25 to 34 35 to 44 45 to 54 55 to 64 > 64
1920: Own Mortgage


1
14 to 24 25 to 34 35 to 44 45 to 54 55 to 64 > 64
1920: Rent

300t------i

200 -1-------------1

100 t----==---i


14 to 24 25 to 34 35 to 44 45 to 54 55 to 64 > 64
1920: Board
1 60
1 40
1 20
: : . : :
:
1 00
::::::

: : :
80
n
60
;::::
: : :
,:::1
40
20
0
14 to 24 25 to 34 35 to 44 45 to 54 55 to 64 > 64
Figure 4.15. Property statUs by age groups, Renovo, 1920.
89
occupation but some simple examples of this can be found by examining unskilled labor
versus skilled labor. Most unskilled labor positions such as laborer were dominated by
younger men while more skilled occupations such as carpenter were primarily older men.
90
Age then is simply another separate factor that needs to be taken into account
before forming any conclusions on the relative distinctions between Marxist class and
Weberian status. It does not appear that age would have much effect on class formation
in the Marxist sense. It does, however, appear that in determining the class of an
individual using Weber's definition, age plays a significant role in determining class status.
4.4 GENDER
About half the population of Renovo was female. The majority of these were
children and married women whose only job was to support the family while their
husbands worked: This is not to understate the importance of their role in the community.
In fact, as industrialists knew well, married men made more stable workers because of the
moderating influences of their wives. The offspring of these family units provided for the
next generation of workers and this was an important consideration for the industrialist
with a long term view of his capital investment. But because of this tie that most women
had with their working-class husband it is difficult to understand their role in determining
residential segregation. Women certainly had their own space within the urban setting but
it is beyond the purpose of this study to analyze the use of this space. I will, however,
discuss a few issues that did become apparent during my analysis.
91
One item of note is that there were some women who were head of household. In
most cases this was because of the death of their husband. There does not appear to be
any specific spatial dispersion of these widows within Renovo (figure 4.16). Many of
these widows owned property and it was quite typical for them to take on boarders to help
meet expenses. In some cases they took over the family business if their husband had been
a merchant for example. With the exception of the Catholic nuns, older women were
either married or widowed. I noticed no spinsters among the population of Renovo.
Many single women held working-class and middle-class jobs. These will be
discussed together with the male occupations. Many of these workers were young and
single. It most cases they were still living with their families so it is difficult to gain insight
into any residential segregation of these young women workers. Those that did not live
with their families were most likely to be domestic servants.
The role that women played in the reproduction of the labor force was significant.
I was able to gain some insight into the birth and death rates for children born to the
residents of Renovo. The 1900 Census had information on the number of children born
and the number of children alive at the time of the census. This data is compiled in figure
4.17. For women aged 16-30 about 14.5 percent of their children were dead. While not
a precise figure this does give some insight into the infant mortality rates. Diseases and
other factors meant many children died before they reached maturity. The data for women
aged 16- 40 is slightly higher but this could include young adults who died for
..· .. ..
II a- II 0 I · 10'0 J 0 II II lOB I B B
a lim - all CCI t:l'Z3 ..... ml!!II , .. / .......
:.:......... t mal a .. - l1li mJ.. = -::;; :: c:= ea m:zg ................ .. ....... .
" ......... I Dim _..... C3 _I ............... w.··· ..
.... '. ..... ". "".,. I I r:::D .,... .................... .. ...... ,./
........ , <.... L- BIB 01 Ie - .... . . ..
'., ". a -II C!ZI -...""",. .
" ...•... . mm c:::m - ClIZIZZII ."
., .... , ..
............ ..... ........" ...... .
\\\ ' \\ \\', \\
:. ,.... \ r
"':.::,;:,':': . U /
:\,1..\ \
:
1
250 0 250 500 750 Feet
/ i
+
_. " Female Head of Household
N Railscov
Figure 4.16. Distribution of female head of household, Renovo, 1920.
/::':"::'\:.(( Riverscov
\0
tv
1
16 to 82 -
16 to 40
16 to 30
Alive
Dead
Figure 4.17. 1900 mortality data for children based upon grouping of mother
by age group.
93
94
other reasons.
Women played an important role in forming the urban space that is Renovo. It is
not easy to tease out the specific influences that they had in determining how space was
used in this industrial setting. Their role as members of the working class could be
analyzed to a greater degree but since they were mostly dependents I was not able to map
the spatial distribution of these members of Renovo society.
95
Chapter 5
OCCUPATION, DEMOGRAPHICS, AND SPACE
Between 1870 and 1920 there were over 250 different occupational types listed on
the U.S. Census for Renovo. Thirty-six of these occupations have been selected for
further analysis. While this analysis will not include specific details about what the job
was like, the selected occupations have been divided into three primary groups;
management, middle class,21 and the working class. In order to understand the makeup of
each group, age, ethnicity or race, property status, and gender are examined over the
historic period. These details are used to see how the residents of Renovo fit into the
discussion undertaken in Chapter Two.
5.1 MANAGEMENT
Within Renovo capital was represented by the Railroad Superintendent and by the
Master Mechanic. These two men controlled the railroad shops and employed most of the
working class. But because they were just two men there is not much of a chance to
observe any clustering. In order to analyze for clustering within the management group it
21 . Although not part of the middle class, domestic servants are included in this category because they
served the middle class.
96
is necessary to drop down in the management layer to the level of foremen.
The role of the foremen grew during the historic period. At first skilled craftsmen
directed the work but as time went on these craftsmen were replaced by the foremen.
This transition is evident in the historic record. Foremen do not appear as a cohesive
force until the 1900 Census. There were 23 foremen in 1900. Each specific shop had its
own foremen and there were also yard foremen, gang foremen, etc. All of these were
lumped into one group. There are two demographic facts that predominate among this
group. One is that they are older men between the ages of35-54 (figure 5.1). The other
is that they are mostly native-born.
By 1920 the age distribution of foremen is more even with many younger
foremen as well as an older groupY There was also almost three times as many foremen.
It seems clear that by 1920 the railroad no longer had to hire seasoned workers to become
foremen. They were starting young men out as foremen without the years of training that
they would have received under the master-journeyman-apprentice system. The
development of this management layer had accomplished capitals goal of stripping the
worker of any control in the industrial process.
There does appear to have been some definite clusters of foremen (figure 5.2).
What is most noticeable is that there are holes in the spatial pattern; primarily in the
Irish, Italian, and Hungarian neighborhoods. This absence of foremen is most likely
related to the ethnic makeup of foremen. Of the 60 foremen recorded in the 1920 Census
53 of them were native-born. So it appears that the clustering observed in this case is
22. The one female foremen was in charge of the laundry workers.
OccuRation: Foreman
1870 Age
1
0.8
0.4
0.2
0
It)
'<t '<t
C\J C') '<t
v .n .n
C\J C')
1900 A e
12
10
8
6
4
2
0
It)
'<t '<t
C\J C')
'<t
v .n .n
C\J C')
1920 Age
20
10
0
It)
'<t '<t
C\J C') '<t
v
.n .n
C\J C')
1900 Property Status
8
6
4
2
0
Own Free Own
Mortgage
1920 Pro e Status
40
30
20
10
0
Own Free Own
Mortgage
'<t
It)
.n
'<t
'<t
It)
.n
'<t
'<t
It)
.n
'<t
Rent
Rent
'<t '<t
co co
.n
"
It)
'<t '<t
co co
.n
"
It)
'<t '<t
co co
.n
"
It)


nla



o 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5 0.6 0.7 0.8 0.9
1900 Ethnicity
Italy

Ireland [)
Sweden [)
Native I)
o 2 4 6 8 10 12 14
1920 Ethnicity
Canada l'
Italy
England
Ireland
Board Depend.
Board Depend.
o 10 20 30 40 50 60
Figure 5.1. Foremen: demographic
data on age, property status, and
ethnicity, 1870-1920.
97
.1
--
:i - II I
- ---
- - - I
I ~
~
- .
. -
-
. ~ - -
~ ~
~
•. Foremm
IV. Rals:;ov
N RiVS'S:;OV
...-... ----- /-
- - r - i ~ ~ \
, '\ \ \
..
\ \
\ \
Figure 5.2. Distribution of foremen
residences, Renovo, 1920.
\
\
250
o 250 500 750 1000 Feet
r""""I
N
E
\0
00
99
more based on ethnicity than it is on class.
5.2 MIDDLE CLASS
Merchants represented the top tier of the middle class. One interesting fact that
comes from the census is that the merchants were a mixed ethnic group. In 1870 almost
half of them were Irish and, with the one English merchant, they outnumbered native-born
merchants (figure 5.3). While later years would see this dominance decline, ethnic
diversity was still common. With the new immigrant waves, merchants from the same
countries followed their people and brought their petty capital to America. In 1900 there
were Swedish and Hungarian merchants and by 1920 a large group of Italian merchants
were to be found plying their goods to the local residents. There were also other ethnic
groups such as Russians
23
and Greeks who came to build their enterprises in Renovo.
As for residential location it appears that many merchants chose to live at or near
their stores. This can be seen by looking at the large numbers of merchants along Erie
Avenue in the business district (figure 5.4). The secondary cluster along Erie was a
distinct business district mainly operated by Italian merchants. There were also stores
23. These Russians were all Jewish.
Occupation: Merchant
1870 Age
5
4
3
2
0
Lt> v v
C\I C') V
v J, J,
C\I C')
1900 A e
14
12
10 ..
8 ·
6 ·
4 ··
2
0
Lt>
C\I
v
1920 Age
20
15
1900 Property Status
25
20
15
10
5
0
Own Free Own
Mortgage
1920 Pro e Status
25
20
15
10
5
0
Own Free Own
Mortgage
v
Lt>
J,
v
Rent
Rent
v v
<D <D
J,
"
Lt>
1870 Ethnicity
England

Ireland fJ
Native rJ
o 234 5 6 7
1900 Ethnicity
Hungary
Germany
Russia
Sweden
Ireland L . . .. V
Native
1c
====::±::======?1
o 5 10 15 20 25 30 35
1920 Ethnicity
Greece is'
Russia 1='
Italy 1--....--""-
Board Depend.
Board Depend.
o 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45
Figure 5.3. Merchant: demographic
data on age, property status, and
ethnicity, 1870-:- 1920.
100
I
D
c
&:::I D
CI
c:::::::I
c::a
-


"

N RiVS"SX)V
Figure 5.4. Distribution of merchant
residences, Renovo, 1920.
c::::::J
N

o 2SO 500 750 1000 FeEt
I"""""i
....
o
102
scattered throughout Renovo and this explains the dispersion of the rest of the merchants.
There were few merchants to be found in South Renovo since there were almost no stores
to be found in this suburb.
The next group of the middle class would be the craftsmen that had specialized
skills. Many of these craftsmen were not native-born. It appears as if these skilled trades
only continued because of renewed immigration of people with these skills. Those that
came at first may have lost their sons to industry. For example, in 1870 there were 10
shoemakers with the majority being Europeans (figure 5.5). By 1900 this number had
declined to only three shoemakers while the population of Renovo had doubled. By 1920
there were four shoemakers and they were all Italian. The system of master-journeyman-
apprentice had broken down in Renovo so that new shoemakers had to come from outside
the country. Another example would be tailors. In 1900 there were 19 tailors with 16 of
these being native-born (figure 5.6). By 1920 there were only four tailors and three of
these were European. The industrial revolution was carving these skilled craftsmen out of
the picture.
There was no apparent residential clustering of these craftsmen with the exception
of butchers. The five butchers clustered at either end of the bridge (figure 5.7). This was
most likely where the livestock were kept. The other occupational types did not have the
numbers to form any distinct clusters so no pattern was observed. It seems likely that they
were dispersed according to the location of their clientele. It would make sense to be near
your customer.
This sense did not apply to doctors and dentists though. They decided to all live
Occupation: Shoemaker
1870 Age

5 '
4'·...--c-1
3
2
1

1900 A e
1920 Age
U')
C\J
V
U')
C\J
V
U')
C\J
V
'<t '<t
C"J '<t
J-, J-,
C\J C"J
'<t '<t
C"J '<t
J-, J-,
C\J C"J
1900 Property Status
2
1.5
0.5

'<t
U')
J-,
'<t
'<t
U')
J-,
'<t
Own Free Own Mort.. Rent
1920 Pro ert Status
3
2
o
Own Free Own Mort. Rent
'<t
<D
J-,
U')
'<t
<D
1\
'<t
<D
1\
Board Depend.
Board Depend.
1870 Ethnicity


1 ,
Germany
1
Native f)
o 0.5 1.5 2 2.5 3
1900 Ethnicity
Italy [)
Native [J
0 0.20.4 0.6 0.8 1.2 1.4 1.6 1.8 2
1920 Ethnicity
1
Italy f)
o 0.5 1.5 2 2.5 3 3.5 4
Figure 5.5. Shoemaker: demographic
data on age, property status, and
ethnicity, 1870-1920.
103
Occupation: Tailor
1870 Age
3
1900 A e
1920 Age
3
2.5
2
1.5
1
0.5
L()
C\I
V
L()
C\I
V
v
C")
Ii>
C\I
O ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
1900 Property Status
15
10
5
0
Own Free Own Mort.. Rent Board Depend.
Status
2
1.5
1
0.5
0
Own Free Own Mort. Rent Board Depend.
1870 Ethnicity
Ireland
Germany
Native
I)
r-r-
I
[)
o 0.5 1 1.5 2 2.5 3 3.5 4 4.5 5
1900 Ethnicity
Scotland
~

England
Italy
..
Native I)
o 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16
1920 Ethnicity
Austria l)
Italy l;oI
Native IJ
0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1 1.2 1.4 1.6 1.8 2
Figure 5.6. Tailor: demographic data
on age, property status, and ethnicity,
1870-1920.
104
iLl it:: I : :8 Ed ii :::gggz:
_. Butcher
IV. REi l'SXJv
N River'SXJv
~
~
~ .----------
-
-
-
l l - - - - - - ~
Figure 5.7. Distribution of butcher
residences, Renovo, 1920.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ - - 1 ~ Ha
250 o 250 500
N
W ~ E
-o
\Jl
106
in the west ward of Renovo even though they served the entire population (figure 5.8).
This occupation was also the exclusive reserve of the native-born. Perhaps this was a
primary reason they all located in the area of Renovo that was mostly free of immigrants.
Another reason is that they felt they needed to locate in the prime business district area.
Other members of the middle class included teachers, operators, watchmen, and an
army of clerks. While not making the same salary as the doctors and dentists they did
have one thing in common. They were almost 100 percent native-born. Let us start with
the army of clerks. As industry developed its new management group, paperwork
increased and so did the need for clerks. In 1870 there were only 16 railroad clerks but by
1920 there were 208 (figure 5.9). Renovo was the site of the central accounting office
for the P&ERR, which accounts for the high number of clerks?4
.
Store clerks followed similar trends; in 1870 there were 11 and by 1920 there
were 86 store clerks. The national trend towards utilizing women for clerical jobs is
evident in Renovo as well. While in 1870 and 1900 there were no women railroad clerks
by 1920 there were 90 female clerks out ofa total of208. By 1920 there were more
store clerks that were female than were male.
Most railroad clerks were young and the majority were dependent on their families
for shelter. Because of this it is difficult to get a good picture of the residential
dispersement of this occupational type. There does appear to be a higher concentration of
clerks in the west and middle wards of Renovo (figure 5.10). Very few clerks are found in
the Italian and SwedishlHungarian neighborhoods because few of these new
24
In 1925 the accounting operation was moved to Buffalo, N. Y.
107
-
Occupation: Railroad Clerk
1870 Age
10 .
8
6 ::
2
O ·
1920 Age
80
60
40
20
0
Ii')

C\I C')
v th th
C\I C')
Ii')
C\I
v
Ii')
C\I
C')
V
th th
C\I
C')
1900 Property Status
20
15
10
5
0
Own Free Own
Mortgage
1920 Pro e Status
150
100
50
0
Own Free Own
Mortgage

Ii')
th


Ii')
th

Rent
Rent

co co
th
"
Ii')

co
"

CO CO
th
1\
Ii')
Board Depend.
Board Depend.
1870 Ethnicity
Sweden
England
Ireland

o 2 4 6 8 10 12 14
1900 Ethnicity
Sweden j;J
Native
0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35
1920 Ethnici
Sweden 0
Canada "
Italy "
Ireland"
Germany
England
Native
I)
0 50 100 150 200 250
Figure 5.9. Railroad clerk:
demographic data on age, property
status, and ethnicity, 1870-1920.
108
I
em
I I .
_ la 9 -',"
U
m::::lI - -
_ m!IIII =
r
...... _= ::. I • /
._ m -_ I
Jd. --

___ [I_---------,,/'''
",-


\ \ .
,
-

N
\ ------
E
250 o 250 500
750 1000 Feet
I
dErk
1\1 RiVErSXJV
Figure 5.10. Distribution of railroad
clerk residences, Renovo, 1920
.....
o
\0
110
arrivals had clerical jobs.
Operators, whether telegraph or later, telephone, followed a similar pattern as
clerks. In 1870 there were four male operators. By 1900 the split between malelfemale
was 50150. But in 1920 there were 18 women as compared to only 12 men filling this
particular position in Renovo. As with clerks this was a position that was primarily filled
by persons still living at home.
Teachers were an occupation that became predominately female rather early. In
1870 there were two male teachers and three female teachers but by 1900 out of43
teachers only one was occupied by a male. These teachers, like the clerks and operators,
were primarily dependent upon their families for shelter and therefore no attempt was
made to analyze the residential patterns.
One interesting white-collar occupational category was watchmen. In 1900 there
were eight watchmen in Renovo. There were older than average and half of them owned
property. Ethnicity was mixed between native, Irish, and Swedish. By 1920 there were
still only eight watchmen but now less of them owned property (figure 5. 11). There was
no evidence of residential clustering. Some of these men may have become watchmen in
their later years when they could no longer work as general laborers. There were,
however, a number of younger watchmen. There are some interesting correlations with
the occupation of janitor.
Janitors display similar patterns for the 1900 Census period. Out of five janitors,
four owned property. They were definitely older than average (figure 5.12). And they
were of a mixed ethnicity. By 1920 the average age was less and now out of 10 janitors
Occupation: Watchman
1870 Age
0.8 .
0.6
0.4 .
0.2
0
U')
~ ~ ~
C\I C'") ~ U')
V Lb Lb Lb
C\I C'") ~
U') ~ ~ ~
C\I C'") ~
U')
V Lb Lb Lb
C\I
C'") ~
1920 Age
3
2.5
2
1.5 ·
1
0.5
0
U')
~ ~ ~
C\I C'") ~ III
V
Lb Lb Lb
C\I
C'") ~
1900 Property Status
3
2
0
Own Free Own Mort. Rent
Status
5
4
3
2
1
0
Own Free Own Mort. Rent
~ ~
<0 <0
Lb 1\
U')
~ ~
<0 <0
Lb
1\
III
~ ~
<0 <0
Lb
1\
III
Board Depend.
Board Depend.
1870 Ethnicity
~
~
~
~
n/a
~
~
Native
~
o 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5 0.6 0.7 0.8 0.9 1
1900 Ethnicity
Sweden [)
Ireland [)
Native
o 0.5 1.5 2 2.5 3 3.5 4 4.5 5
1920 Ethnicity
Italy
~ ~
Native
!)
o 234 5 6 7
Figure 5.11. Watchmen:
demographic data on age, property
status, and ethnicity, 1870-1920.
111
Occupation: Janitor
1870 Age
0.8
0.6
0
1900 A e
1920 Age
4
3
L()
C\J
v
L()
C\J
V
v
C")
..n
C\J
v
V
..n
C")
1900 Property Status
4
3
2
o
v
L()
..n
v
Own Free Own Mort. Rent
1920 Pro
4
3
2
1
o
Own Free Own Mort. Rent
v v
co co
..n 1\
L()
Board Depend.
Board Depend.
1870 Ethnicity




n/a


Native

o 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5 0.6 0.7 0.8 0.9 1
1900 Ethnicity
1j,,::,::;::;:::::;=t'
England I-
Ireland l=:;:::;::;::;:$JEJ

Nativ8b '"
o 0.20.40.60.8 1.21.41 .61.8 2
1920 Ethnicity
Sweden
!---

Hungary

Austria
I I
Native
o 2 3 4 5
Figure 5.12. Janitor: demographic
data on age, property status, and
ethnicity, 1870-1920.
6
112
113
only one owned property. I do not have any good explanation for why there was a decline
in status for janitors. There does seem to be a connection with the fact that in 1900 the
average age was older and, as already discussed, being older led to a higher status.
Perhaps when a younger generation occupied these jobs they lost the prestige that they
had earlier. While it appears that janitors may have held a higher status in the past then
they do in the present day domestic servants have always held one of the lowest positions
on the status ladder.
There were many domestic servants in Renovo. It is interesting to note that unlike
many occupations that grew in total numbers as the town grew in population, servants
remained steady and then declined in numbers. In 1870 and 1900 there were only 51
servants while in 1920 this number had declined to 35 (figure 5.13). One possible
explanation for this is that there was only a certain number of privileged families in
Renovo. As more workers came to work in the railroad shops they could not afford
servants so the numbers of servants did not increase. Another explanation is that
consumer aids started to make housekeeping an easier chore in the 1920s, and the rise of
factory jobs and especially clerical and retail work made domestic work lower paying and
less attractive.
Domestic servants were always female and they were primarily between the ages
of 14-24. There were some that seemed to have stayed in this occupation their entire life
but many appear to have found husbands and left to become housewives. These young
women did not own property or rent. They were entirely dependent upon their employer
for lodging. The servants were of mixed ethnicity and included young black women as
Occupation: Domestic Servant
1870 Age
40
30
20
10
0
1900 A e
35
30
25
20
15
10
5
0
1920 Age
15 ;
10 ,
5
0
1.0
C\J
v
1.0
C\J
v
1.0
C\J
V
1900 Property Status
60
40
20
o
Own Free Own
Mortgage
1920 Pro Status
30.....,...,,,....,..,....,,.,..,=
20
10
O F = ' ; ' ; ; ; " ; ~
Own Free Own
Mortgage
Rent Board Depend.
Rent Board Depend.
1870 Ethnicity
Sweden
Black
England
Ireland
Native
ro
~
~
t,;
o 5 10 15 20 25 30 35
1900 Ethnicity
o 5 10 15 20 25 30 35
1920 Ethnicity
Sweden
~
Ireland
~
Native tI
o 5 10 15 20 25 30 35
Figure 5.13. Domestic servant:
demographic data on age, property
status, and ethnicity, 1870-1920.
114
well as young women from many different European countries.
Having more independence than the servants were the wash women. Here we see
a transition in demographics because the nature of the work had changed. In 1900 there
were 10 wash women (figure 5.14). Nine of these were heads of household and rented
their dwellings. These women were widows and probably had no choice but to take up
this particular occupation in order to support their families after their husband's untimely
death. They were also of middle age. By 1920 this pattern changed dramatically. Now
the majority of these women were younger and they were dependents. The most likely
answer for this shift was the introduction of a Chinese-owned and operated laundry. The
older wash women could not compete with the efficiency of the new laundry and sought
other occupations.
5.3 WORKING CLASS
The middle-class / white-collar occupations never equaled the number of working-
class occupations found in Renovo. The town was created as an industrial site and the
railroad had a need for many different types of workers. It is here that the most
meaningful analysis can be performed primarily due to the large numbers of workers
present. These workers are conveniently split into two primary groups; trainmen and
shopmen. Within these two primary groups there were at least seventeen further
Occupation: Wash Women
1870 Age
0.8 ·.
0.6 .
0.4

LO
C\j
v
LO
C\j
v
LO
C\j
V
'<t
C')
.;,
C\j
'<t
C')
.;,
C\j
'<t
C')
.;,
C\j
'<t
'<t
.;,
C')
1900 Property Status
10
8
6
4
2
o
'<t
LO
.;,
'<t
Own Free Own Mort. Rent
1920 Pro e

4
3
2
1
Status
O .........
Own Free Own Mort. Rent
'<t '<t
co co
.;, 1\
LO
'<t '<t
co co
.;, 1\
LO
Board Depend.
Board Depend.
1870 Ethnicity




n/a


Native

o 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5 0.6 0.70.8 0.9 1
1900 Ethnicity
Gem1any
Sweden
Ireland
Native
0 2 3 4 5 6 7
1920 Ethnicity
Ireland
Italy ...
Native rJ
o 0.5 1 1.5 2 2.5 3 3.5 4
Figure 5.14. Wash women:
demographic data on age, property
status, and ethnicity, 1870-1920.
116
divisions based upon specific craft unions. These specific craft unions will not be
discussed per se but it is important to remember that the railroad used these internal
worker divisions to take advantage of the workers. The goal here is to see if there was
any residential segregation based upon craft and also to examine the changing
demographics of the specific crafts.
117
Trainmen were perhaps the most mobile of the two main worker groups. Their
jobs as conductors, engineers, brakemen, firemen, and flagmen were not site specific but
rather on the move. It seems natural that these men would feel that they were different
than the shopmen. Because their jobs were more mobile it may have been more difficult
for them to settle down. Indeed when looking at the demographic data very few trainmen
owned property at all (figures 5. 15 through 5.19). The majority rented their houses and
there were many that sought shelter as boarders. This lack of property is indicative of the
difficulty in establishing roots in a single community. Those trainmen that did own
property were in the more prestigious occupations of engineer and conductor.
It is here that we come back to age being an important determinant. Young men
would start out as brakemen or firemen and work their way up to the higher paid jobs of
conductor or engineer. Once this stage had been reached these men were older. But even
the older trainmen owned little property. So we have a case of conductors having a high
status without owning property. It is most likely that those conductors who owned
Occupation: Conductor
1870 Age
5
4
1900 A e
12
10
8
6
4
2
0
1920 Age
12
10
8
6
4
2
0
III
C\I
v
III
C\I
v
III
C\I
V
1900 Property Status
20
15
10
5
0
Own Free Own
Mortgage
Status
25
20
15
10
5
0
Own Free Own
Mortgage
Rent
Rent
1870 Ethnicity
Ireland
F
~
r-
Native
I;)
o 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
1900 Ethnicity
Germany (0
Sweden
~
Ireland
~
Board Depend. Native I:J
Board Depend.
o 5 10 15 20 25 30 35
Figure 5.15. Conductor:
demographic data on age, property
status, and ethnicity, 1870-1920.
118
Occupation: Railroad Engineer
1870 Age
20
15
5
0
1900 A
20
15
10
e
5 ,
0
1920 Age
20
15 .. .
I.t)
N
V
I.t)
N
V
I.t)
N
V
"""
"""
' --. '?
"""
I.t) t.h
N C')
""" """
C')
"""
t.h t.h
N
C')
1900 Property Status
30
20
10
o
Own Free Own
Mortgage
. 1920 Pro Status
40
30
20
10
o
Own Free Own
Mortgage
""" """ """
I.t)
<0 <0
t.h t.h 1\
"""
I.t)
""" """
"""
I.t) <0 <0
t.h t.h
1\
"""
I.t)
Rent Board Depend.
Rent Board Depend.
1870 Ethnicity
o 5 10 15 20 25
1900 Ethnicity
Sweden
~
Germany
~
Canada
~
Ireland
tt;J
Native rJ
o 5 1 0 15 20 25 30 35 40
1920 Ethnicity
Canada
~
Sweden
~
Ireland
~
Native 1)
o 10 20 30 40 50 60
Figure 5.16. Railroad engineer:
demographic data on age, property
status, and ethnicity, 1870-1920.
119
Occupation: Brakeman
1870 Age
1
0.8
0.6
0.4

1900 A e
60
1920 Age
40
Ll)
C\J
V
Ll)
C\J
V
1900 Property Status
50
40
30
20
10
o
Own Free Own Rent
Mortgage
1920 Pro ert Status
50
40
30

10
o
Own Free Own Rent
Mortgage
'<t
<0
"
'<t
<0
"
Board Depend.
Board Depend.
1870 Ethnicity



n/a


o 0.1 0.20.30.40.50.60.70.80.9
1900 Ethnicity
o 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90
1920 Ethnicity
Sweden
Austria
Ireland
Italy

o 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80
Figure 5.17. Brakemen:
demographic data on age, property
status, and ethnicity, 1870-1920.
120
Occupation: Railroad Fireman
1870 Age
nlB.1I1
0.6
0.4
0.2

1920 Age
30 ..
25 •
20
,
15
5
0
U")
C\J
V
U")
C\J
V
U")
C\J
V

C')
to to
C\J C')

C')

to U")
C\J
C')
1900 Property Status
25
20
15
10
5

U") <0
to
A


U") <0 <0
to to
A

U")
1870 Ethnicity
1 .
Native !=+==+::::::j:=l=+==+=+====1=. += .. =. ::rl)
o 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5 0.6 0.7 0.8 0.9 1
1900 Ethnicity
Canada

.Native f)
o 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40
1920 Ethnici
Sweden it:I
Board Depend.
0
Own Free Own Rent
Mortgage
1920 Pro e
20
15
10
5
0
Own Free
Status
Own Rent
Mortgage
Board Depend.
o 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45
Figure 5.18. Railroad firemen:
demographic data on age, property
status, and ethnicity, 1870-1920.
121
Occupation: Flagman
1870 Age
1
0.8
0.6
0.4
0.2
O ~ ~ ~ ~ L ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
C\I C'l ~ ~ (0 (0
v ~ ~ ~ ~ A
1900 A e
1920 Age
3
2
~
C\I
V
~
C\I
V
C\I C'l ~ ~
~
C'l
J,
C\I
~
(0
1\
1900 Property Status
20
15
10
5
0
Own Free Own Rent Board Oepend.
Mortgage
1920 Pro e Status
8
6
4
2
0
Own Free Own Rent Board Depend.
Mortgage
1870 Ethnicity
~
~
~
~
nla
~
~
Native
~
o 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5 0.6 0.7 0.8 0.9 1
1900 Ethnicity
Canada
~
Ireland
~
Native [j
o 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18
1920 Ethnicity
o 2 345 6 789
Figure 5.19. Flagmen: demographic
data on age, property status, and
ethnicity, 1870-1920.
122
123
property had a higher status than those that did not.
Another overwhelming similarity between the specific trainmen occupations is that
their ethnicity was almost exclusively native-born. Brakemen were the most exclusive
group. In 1900 there were 90 brakemen and every single one was native-born. In 1920
out of 83 brakemen only four were not native-born. The other trainmen were just as
exclusive. The effect that this had on residential distribution was rather pronounced.
There were almost no trainmen in the ethnic neighborhood of South Renovo (figures 5.20,
5.21, and 5.22).25 The rest were somewhat evenly distributed around Renovo. It is
possible that an argument could be made that the trainmen needed to always be close to
the tracks so they could jump on the trains quickly but I think that they may have avoided
South Renovo because of the high immigrant population. Here then is yet another case of
occupational sorting but with the sorting determined by ethnicity.
5.3.2 SHOPMEN
Shopmen occupations are not so easily grouped together. This is mainly because
there were so many different occupational types within the railroad shops. The two
largest groups of workers in Renovo were laborers and machinists. First, laborers will be
reviewed. As has already been mentioned laborers were important tools for the
industrialists. Railroad employers needed strong backs to perform the deskilled tasks at
the lowest costs and they relied on immigrants to perform these tasks. Renovo fits this
25. The maps for flagmen and firemen are similar in to the figures shown and are not included to save space.
_ . Conductor
N. Rallscov
N Riverscov
-
I
-
-
m
_1-
-
-
-
r:mza
a
D D
i---I --
/"'.-/' .--
IZZZ:II ~ . - , - , , ~ .r
~
~
~
Figure 5.20. Distribution of
conductor residences, Renovo, 1920.
250 0 250 500 750 1000 Feet
!'!"""""I
N
" T ~ E
s
.-
IV
~
-
I
..
__ Enginea'
IV. Ralg;x)v
N RiVErg;x)v
I I
--
- --
-
-
-
-
- 1-
--
JJ
---...--1'---
Figure 5.21. Distribution of railroad
engineer residences, Renovo, 1920.
-
__ - - I
I· - = ~
I
I
N
'E
o 2SO 500
750 1000 Fea
""I
-N
Vl

n. 11 - ------
_ GmI U
-
-

N
_ r:::::::I
r:::::::I
IImI
a
c::=a
I!!r
Figure 5.22. Distribution of
brakemen residences, Renovo, 1920.
-
N

2SO 0 2SO 500 750 1000 FElli
,........,
-- N
0\
127
pattern well. In 1870, out of275 laborers, 102 were Irish immigrants (figure 5.23). By
1920 the primary immigrant group had changed to become Italian. This follows the
national pattern discussed in Chapter Two. Railroads also used native-born labor and this
labor was drawn from the younger generation. The largest age group of laborers in
Renovo were under twenty five years old. It is not surprising then that as a group laborers
owned little property. Due to their young age, many of these young laborers were still
dependent. In fact for both 1900 and 1920 the largest property classification was
dependent.
The residential pattern of these laborers indicates that in 1920 there was an
absence of laborers in the western part of town and also few laborers were found in South
Renovo (figure 5.24). Some of this could be explained by ethnicity in that a large number
of laborers were Italian. But there were many native-born laborers as well so there
appears to have been some segregation based on occupation here as well. Common
laborers were probably not as welcome in the western part of town and in South Renovo.
There is also something to be considered in that the lower paid laborers may not have been
able to afford to live in these areas. South Renovo has been shown to be an area where
many homeowners lived and the laborers owned fewhomes. One possible explanation for
the large number of laborers found in the central section of town is that their fathers may
have been Irish immigrant laborers and their sons were following in their footsteps.
In 1870 there were only 35 machinists (figure 5.25). By 1900 there were 81
machinists but by 1920 there were 362 machinists. Clearly there had been a pronounced
Occupation: Laborer, Railroad
1870 Age
II)
"<t
C\J "<t
v
..;,
(")
1900 A e
70
60
50
40
30 ;:
20
10
0
II)
C\J
v
1920 Age
120
100
80
60
40
20
0
II)
C\J
V
1900 Property Status
100
80
60
40
20
a
Own Free Own Mort. Rent
1920 Pro Status ·
Own Free Own Mort. Rent
Board Depend.
Board Depend.
1870 Ethnicity
Scotland
England
Sweden
Wales
Gennany
~
e
~
Ireland LI
Native
1900 Ethnicity
a 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 10
a
1920 Ethnicity
Misc.
Gennany
Hungary
Canada
Ireland
Italy
Native
~
"
0
tJ
~
I
Figure 5.23. Railroad laborer:
demographic data on age, property
status, and ethnicity, 1870-1920.
rJ
128
-
I
U n ;; ::
D _ aD} I I I "1 1111 : m
_ _ 111 II Hi ,--
_ _ D D I 'il ,'"'
1_ "'" =- = . D DUll
_ I"::" fl l1!I I =
- = __ :;:1
" Lmorer
RciI'S:XJV
N

--I


---------
Q
Figure 5.24. Distribution of railroad
laborer residences, Renovo, 1920.
o 2SO 500 750 1000 Feet
,........,
\\
,
N
w<S>E
......
tv
\D
Occupation: Machinist
1870 Age
20
15
10
5
O ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
It)
C\I
V to tb ..;, to 1\
C\I C') v It)
1920 Age
100
50
It)
C\I
V
It)
C\I
V
1900 Property Status
30
20
10
o
Own Free Own
Mortgage
1920 Pro e Status
150
100
50
o
Own Free Own
Mortgage
Rent
Rent
v
co
1\
Board Depend.
Board Depend.
1870 Ethnicity
Scotland
Wales
Ireland
England
Germany
Native
0 5 10 15 20 25 30
1900 Ethnicity
Misc.
England
Scotland
Sweden
Ireland
Germany
Native
0 10 20 30 40 50 60
1920 Ethnici
o 50 100 150 200 250 300 350
Figure 5.25. Machinist: demographic
data on age, property status, and
ethnicity, 1870-1920.
130
131
change in the way work was completed in the railroad shops. One indication of this was
the decline in moulders and pattern makers (figure 5.26). Whereas in the past machine
parts were moulded they were now machined instead. This change had to do mostly with
advances in technology.
During the years between 1870 and 1900 many machinists were foreign-born.
These men must have possessed the skills necessary to perform the skilled work of a
machinist. By 1920 there were few foreign-born machinists which might be an indication
of the increasingly deskilled jobs that machinists were now performing or perhaps that the
sons of the immigrants were now performing these skilled jobs. The largest age group for
machinists was the 25-34 year old category. Most machinists rented their dwellings
although many more rented in 1920 than in 1900. The distribution of machinists in the
residential areas of Renovo depicted no clustering on a large scale (figure 5.27).
Machinists could be found everywhere. It was noticeable that there were some small
clusters of two, three, or even four machinists living side-by-side.
Blacksmiths were another group in which a large number of men were employed in
the railroad shops. Initially there was a large foreign component (figure 5.28). In the
early days of the railroad shop experienced blacksmiths were needed and so the railroad
sought out those men from Europe with these technical skills. By the 1920's most
blacksmiths were native-born. There was some evidence of clustering by occupation in
the case of blacksmiths (figure 5.29). There is a strong cluster in the western part of
town. This might be related to religion. This part of town was where the Episcopal
Church was located and some of the blacksmiths were of English origin.
Occupation: Moulder/Pattern Maker
1870 Age
10 . .
8 :.
6
4
2

C\J C') <0 <0
V A
C\J C')
1920 Age

C\J
V
1900 Property Status
20 ...",,============
15
10
5
o
Own Free Own Rent
Mortgage
1920 Pro e Status

1.5
1
0.5
o
Own Free Own
Mortgage
Rent
Board Depend.
Board Depend.
1870 Ethnicity
-1
England
Germany
Ireland
Native
o 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18
1900 Ethnicity
Canada

Ireland

Native f)
o 1 0 20 30 40 50 60
1920 Ethnicity
o 2 3 4 5
Figure 5.26. Moulder/pattern maker:
demographic data on age, property
status, and ethnicity, 1870-1920.
6
132


_ •• Ud I n I I
__ =- ... _ _ -J I I L I
• _B - __ - - I
- __ - - .... - I flIIIIIII ..- -.- -
4 .- -- -..:.!....- :- -- = =
_-A -- _I .-! =
---...._ II ID II .. iii" -
___
_ _
IV. Rail &XJV
N RivfX&XJV
- ----

,t\
\\\f ,\"
N
.. , " \ ,

,\
Figure 5.27. Distribution of
machinist residences, Renovo, 1920.
2SO 0 2SO 500 750 1000 FEd
,........,
-- Y.l
Y.l
Occupation: BI.acksmith
1870 Age
10
8
4
2

1900 A e
20
15
5
It)
C\J
V

<0
1\

1920 Age
20
15
5
It)
C\J
V

<0
1\

It)
C\J
V
1900 Property Status
30
20
10
o
Own Free Own
Mortgage
1920 Pro e Status
50 ••
40
30
20
10
o
Own Free Own
Mortgage
Rent
Rent

<0
1\
Board Depend.
Board Depend.
1870 Ethnicity
Sweden l:J:J
Scotland
England
Wales
Irish
Native
o 2
1900 Ethnicity
Misc.
England
Gennany
Sweden
Wales
Ireland
o 5
1920 Ethnicity
England
Hungary
Germany
Ireland
Sweden
4 6 8 10 12
10 15 20 25 30
o 10 20 30 40 50 60 70
Figure 5.28. Blacksmith:
demographic data on age, property
status, and ethnicity, 1870-1920.
l34
.11 = - • • I (
111- -. :- - I
-- -
I ...
,I I
-
__ Blw<snith
IV. Rai I!:!£OV
N RiVEJ!:!£OV
-

Figure 5.29, Distribution of
blacksmith residences, Renovo, 1920.
-
-
2SO 0 2SO SOO 750 1000 Feet
r-s;;;
N
'E
.....
VJ
Vl
136
One interesting job category was that of inspector. This was one of the few
occupations where foreign-born workers were in the clear majority. In 1900 there were
17 inspectors and 13 of them were not native (figure 5.30). The majority were Swedish
between the ages of 45-54, and they mostly owned their own homes. It seems that the
railroad needed highly skilled and well-paid inspectors to make sure that the work of their
deskilled labor force was still of good enough quality. The railroad must have seen that
they were at the mercy of these inspectors and just as the railroad deskilled other jobs the
railroad deskilled the job of inspector. By 1920 the inspector workforce was mostly
native, considerably younger, and these inspectors mostly rented. These are all signs that
the inspector workforce had been deskilled. This pattern has been seen with other high-
skilled occupations as well.
During my analysis I reviewed other shop occupations such as car builder, car
repairman, cabinet maker, carpenter, painter, and plumber. For the most part, the data
revealed similar patterns as have already been discussed. There was a transition in the
labor force as jobs were deskilled and the occupational clustering noticed was mostly
based upon the ethnicity of the worker, not the occupation. Age played the most
important role in determining both property status of the worker and the skill level of the
job at hand.
Occupation: Inspector
1870 Age

0.6 ·· ·
0.4 ....

012.;
1920 Age
20
10
C\I
V
1900 Property Status
8
6
4
2
o
Own Free Own
Mortgage
1920 Pro e Status
Rent Board Depend.
1870 Ethnicity



nJa


Native

o 0.1 0.20.30.40.50.60.70.80.9
1900 Ethnicity
Ireland t---r---r--...,....-..,. . . _. _ .. _. -r)

Nalivet:=1I==+==l==::l[)::"
o 2 3 4 5 6 7
1920 Ethnicity
Ireland l'
Italy j:J


o 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45
40 Figure 5.30. Inspector: demographic
30 data on age, property status, and
20 ethnicity,1870-1920.
10
o
Own Free Own Rent Board Depend.
Mortgage
137
Chapter 6
CONCLUSION
138
It seems clear that the primary determinant in how residential space was used in
Renovo was ethnicity. Time also played an important role. For example, if the Italians
had arrived before the Irish then the current Irish Acre would have been called the Italian
Acre. This is because newly arriving immigrant groups took the cheapest and most
available urban space. It has been shown that housing was in high demand and this
demand dictated the ethnic sorting of Renovo's neighborhoods. If there had been cheap
space available near the business district then this is where immigrant groups would have
established themselves.
In terms of class status I feel that worker status was sublimated under the more
overwhelming property status. In this respect I conclude that Weber's theory of class was
more important in determining status in Renovo. If the railroads had been less successful
in undermining worker unity by using craft divisions then perhaps there might have been
more worker identity. Arguably there was a worker identity but instead of a mentality of
"us against them" it was more "our small group of workers against other groups of
workers and them." If class is primarily a relationship then it was the relationship between
renter and landlord that unified most of Renovo. Here was a "class" of people.
139
In terms of property status then age was the most important determinant. It has
been shown that as a persoll ages they go through changes in the property cycle ending
up with the ownership of their own property. If they were very successful then they
would become landlords. In this respect I primarily mean those members of the working
class. Members of the middle class did not necessarily follow this pattern. They could
have inherited money and their business pursuits gave them more resources than their
working class neighbors.
If one were to compare Renovo with other railroad towns in Pennsylvania one
would most likely find that the railroad towns of Sayre and McKees Rocks were almost
identical to Renovo. Even the much larger railroad town of Altoona probably exhibited
similar characteristics. One difference for Altoona was the large Black population that
the smaller railroad towns did not have. Blacks were denied jobs in the railroad shops
but with the larger town population they were able to find employment in the large
service sector. The residential choices of the Black population in Altoona are similar in
that, as with ethnic groups, the Black population was spatially sorted. Here again we see
that the most important determinant for residential selection is ethnicity, not occupation.
Renovo is also similar to these other railroad towns in that all of the railroad
towns suffered from the decline in importance of railroads as a primary transportation
mode for American businesses. As the railroads begin to decline, the Pennsylvania
Railroad decided to consolidate its operations. With the victory that the railroad had won
over striking shopmen in 1922 it was no longer necessary to have a remote location to
beat the unions. Another important factor in the decline of railroad shop activity in
Renovo waS the PRR decision to consolidate all electric, and later, diesel locomotive
repair work in Altoona. Renovos shops were geared to repairing steam locomotives
which were being phased out.
140
By 1953 the workforce had been reduced to 800 men and by 1966 there were only
275 men employed at the Renovo shop. The PRR closed down the shop in 1968 for
good. Other businesses moved in to take advantage of the shop but the last company,
Conrail, shut down the shops forever in 1980. Renovo is now just a shell of what it was
in its heyday. Those residents that remain in Renovo mostly commute thirty miles to
Lock Haven in order to seek employment. The railroad shop lies vacant and in disrepair.
Perhaps someday another industry will take advantage of the site and Renovo will be
reborn again. But as history as shown, the reliance of the town on a single industry in the
past left the town at the mercy of corporate interests.
Renovo does offer some unique contributions to urban historical geography.
With the exception of the eastern section of town, where constant flooding has required
the removal of many housing units and the building of elevated apartments, most of
Renovo is just like it was prior to the 1922 railroad shop strike. The shops themselves
are mostly intact with the exception of the removal of the roundhouse and most of the
railroad tracks. The town has been preliminarily surveyed for possible inclusion in the
National Register of Historic Places but I do not think any action has resulted from these
surveys. As a working class town that has suffered a decline in growth, it presents the
observer a glimpse into what life may have been like back in the early nineteenth century.
It is this glimpse into the past that first interested me in doing further research so that I
141
could learn more about the people who lived in this unique urban setting.
The use of Geographic Information Systems proved to be a very useful tool into
looking back into the lives ofRenovos workers and families. The large data sets that
were created by entering the manuscript census into a spreadsheet could not have been
easily viewed spatially without the GIS. The quick mapping of this large database
allowed me to clearly see patterns that otherwise might have escaped my notice. Instead
of lumping data by ward, I was able to look at individual lots which allowed for a more
detailed analysis. For urban historical geography, the use of GIS should prove to be a
considerable aid into understanding the complex spatial patterns that can be found in a
dense urban area. Once you can see the pattern then you can attempt to understand the
forces that made that pattern occur.
There were some limitations to the GIS analysis. One concern was that where
there was more than one worker the GIS could only display the occupation of the head of
household. In boarding houses this restriction did not allow for analysis of the many
occupational types found on that particular lot. This also restricted the analysis of
dependents occupation, as was the case with most females in Renovo. Unless they were
head of household their occupation went unobserved. It is almost as if you need a three-
dimensional GIS to see the levels of data contained within one layer of data.
It would be interesting to continue this study when the 1930 manuscript census
records become available in the year 2000. Then you could see what effect the railroad
shop strike of 1922 had on the residential choices ofRenovos citizens. It would most
certainly show a drop in total population not the least being the shift of accounting and
142
clerical functions to Buffalo. What would interest me is to see if there were some
residential changes as a result of animosity between those worker unions that went out on
strike versus those that did not strike. It would also be most interesting to attempt to
address locate the residents from 1870 and 1900 in order to fit this information into the
GIS.
143
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