Menticulture - The Brothers Patterson

( Originally Published 1901 )


Another splendid example of neighborhood loyalty of practical and profitable Here and Now altruism is illustrated by the Patterson brothers, of Dayton, Ohio, in making a park of the surroundings of their factory premises, the whole extent and beauty of which scheme it is impossible even to outline here. In brief, they invaded a slum with their factory, but instead of contaminating it with a smoke nuisance and with untidy surroundings, they secured the services of Frederick Law Olmsted, the landscape gardener of the World's Columbian Exposition Grounds, of Central Park, New York, and of many other famous parks of the United States, to lay out the factory premises and surroundings as a model for the neighborhood; sent abroad to Japan, to Europe, and to different parts of America for photographs of streets and parks and other features of urban decoration; and had the pictures thrown on a canvas screen in the lecture hall of the quarter. These were made useful by means of particulars and estimates of cost of home material and home labor, made by experts of construction. They then offered to the youth of the quarter tempting prizes for the best front yards, the best back yards, and the best vegetable patches.

In this manner, the slum they invaded became pervaded by their altruism until the " Slattertown " of old Dayton has become the South Park of new Dayton, and is the pride of the community. Here, too, was applied a practical method of the germ-eradication of the elements of squalor.

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