Western Carlisle – The next Pullman?

Could the West Pennsboro Township Supervisors help create the next Pullman?  Pullman, Illinois is now part of Chicago.  Pullman was developed in the 1880s by George Pullman as a company town.  A company town is a place where practically all stores and housing are owned by the one company that is also the main employer. Company towns are often planned with a suite of amenities such as stores, churches, schools, markets and recreation facilities.  See Wikipedia.

West Pennsboro Township has already agreed with Allen Distribution to re-zone residential property (Bock/Shover) to industrial to build warehouses.  On Monday January 23rd the Supervisors will hold a public hearing to re-zone agricultural property (Bear Farm) to residential to build work force housing.  The warehouses have created an employment need in the Carlisle area.  Now we are being told we need more warehouses and workforce housing to supply the warehouses with workers.  I assume the next request (if this has not already happened) will be for new stores to support the warehouse workforce.  It was already mentioned in public meetings that the school district will benefit from the warehouse property tax.  How far does this go?

A company town is speculation however there are other parallels between Pullman and Western Carlisle.  Pullman was depended on the railroad industry specifically the Pullman Palace Car Company.  As demand for Pullman Palace Cars declined workers were laid off.  Workers eventually went on strike.  The US government and military eventually intervened.  This area seems to have one basket (the warehouse basket) and all the eggs are being put into that basket.  What happens if the warehouse industry ever changes and the Carlisle warehouses are no longer needed.  Will the US military need to intervene in Carlisle?

This may seem really far fetched and I agree.   I am not saying that a singe company is trying to take over western Carlisle however, I think due to Carlisle’s location this area ideal for the warehouse industry.  This area is becoming saturated with warehouses if not already eventually the Carlisle economy could become dependent on one industry.  This is not a good situation for any local economy.  We could be seeing the creation of an industry town.

One final thought.  The connection that got me on this line of thinking is the same engineering company that is currently building a warehouse is also presenting plans for a new housing development on the Bear Farm.

Comments 1

  • Karl excellent article. I have some updated information about the large number of vacant warehouses that I will post. Ed

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