Of the more than 940 commissions given to McKim, Mead & White, their industrial buildings (except for Pennsylvania Station) have been least studied. This is especially true of their industrial towns and the housing they designed for workers. In fact, few of the company towns started or expanded in the 19th century have received extensive study. McKim, Mead & White were engaged to design the first electrical generating station and then the housing for workers at Niagara Falls, New York, in 1891-1895; and at the same time they were asked to provide designs for mills and housing at Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina. While both of these were new undertakings on open sites, the town of Naugatauk, Connecticut, where the firm had eleven commissions given them by John Howard Whittemore, was two centuries old when they started work in 1885. Their work here consisted largely of public buildings, and represents nearly the full range of tasks given turn-of-the-century architects. An examination of these industrial towns, of the context out of which they came, the expenditures they entailed, and the clients' motives modifies prevalent attitudes about the Robber Baron, and more fully defines the achievement of McKim, Mead & White.

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