Date of Award

1968

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

History

First Advisor

Dr. Bob Riley

Second Advisor

Dr. Paul R. Root

Third Advisor

Dr. James C. Berryman

Abstract

In 1887, bauxite, the ore of aluminum was discovered in Arkansas . State Geologist, John C. Branner, announced l the discovery in 1891. Reports soon reached the Pittsburgh Reduction Company in Pennsylvania. This young company investigated the report, purchased land in Saline County, and started mining operations.

In 1903 the Pittsburgh Reduction Company built an ore - drying plant in Saline County, Arkansas. The establishment of this plant marked the beginning of the town of Bauxite. Laid out on company- owned land shortly after mining operations began, the town soon became a self- sufficient community with schools, churches, stores, roads, medical facilities, and utilities. All houses and buildings in Bauxite were company- owned and company-maintained, with the exception of the various church buildings and later the school facilities. Local ministers and company employees were the only occupants of the houses.

Through sixty-four years of existence the town experienced many social and economic changes. These changes were the result of the expansion and development of the aluminum industry and subsequent company policy.

By the nature of their situation, the residents of the company-owned town of Bauxite were unusually vulnerable to change. The purpose of this study was to determine the forces behind these changes and to discover the effects of such changes upon the community in general and upon individual family life in particular.

Since all the inhabitants of the town were in the employ of the company, the market of aluminum and alumina products determined the prosperity and stability of the community. Specific periods of the growth and decline of the industry were considered in this study. These periods were defined generally as World War I, the depression years of the 1920's and early 1930's, World War II, and the years of industrial expansion after 1945.

 
 

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