Imagine your boss building a state-of-the-art home for you and your family, close to work and equipped with all the amenities. Sounds pretty great, right? Guess again.
George Pullman, a 19th century American industrialist, built a company town just south of Chicago (since enveloped within the city's limits) for the employees of his railroad-car business, the Pullman Palace Car Co. The town had everything: sewer lines, a church, a library and shopping centers. The catch? Pullman controlled the town with profits in mind: when he cut workers' wages by 25% in 1893, rent prices held steady. Rent was deducted from employees' paychecks, leaving men with little left over to feed their families not to mention pay for water and gas, which Pullman also charged them for. It's hardly a surprise that his employees went on strike on May 11, 1894 or that his family was reportedly worried after his death that former employees would desecrate his remains.