The Johnstown Flood Setting & Symbolism

David McCullough
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Johnstown's leading employer in the late 19th century, the Cambria Iron Company produces the steel products needed to move folk westward and settle after the Civil War. On the brink of bankruptcy in the 1850s, the Iron Company rebounds under the direction of Daniel J. Morrell, and is the premier U.S. steel maker during the early post-Civil War boom, becoming a leader in advanced applications of the Bessemer process. Although upstaged by Carnegie's Edgar Thomson works in 1898, Cambria Iron still employs 7,000 in two huge plants, owns and operates coalmines, coke ovens, and railroads. It is the largest landowner in the county, rents 700 frame houses to workers and owns the reasonably priced Wood, Morrell & Company department store. Johnstown is a company town, run by a Morrell's iron hand, and non-unionized. By the standards of the day, however, Cambria Iron is paternalistic about the welfare...

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This section contains 2,553 words
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Buy The Johnstown Flood Study Guide
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