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What Facebook Can Learn From Company Towns

As the technology firm plans to build a village in Silicon Valley, history suggests what can sustain a company town long after its founders are gone.
The retail park in Facebook's proposed village
The retail park in Facebook's proposed village OMA

In the early 20th century, hundreds of company towns dotted America—quasi-public municipalities where the corporation you worked for built your house, taught your kids, maintained your roads and sewers, and even sold you groceries. Such towns once contained 3 percent of the U.S. population, according to the Economist.

As the country’s workforce became more mobile and prosperity rose, on-site worker housing became less necessary; most of the old company towns have evolved into places separate from their corporate patrons.