THE DEVELOPMENT OF UTICA

The first wave of industry brought a saw mill, two stores, and two hotels into Utica. The second wave came in the 1820s-1840s, and brought more diverse businesses to the city. A cheese factory, creameries, sash-door companies, distilleries, a casket factory, flour, and an apple evaporator factory popped into existence. Regardless of all of this industry, agriculture still dominated, and this dominance lasted until the 1950s. When farming was still common in the city, Utica was known as the Hothouse Rhubarb Capital of the world. Farmers grew so much rhubarb during this time period that they even had a town celebration for the success of the plant. The entire area was comparable to one large happy family because the town was so small, and everyone shared such a similar agricultural background. This allowed the whole community to celebrate frequently after a large harvest, or any other community events. As the 1960s approached the city started to make the switch to commercial industry. Dirt roads began to disappear, roads grew wider, farm land was sold to sub-division builders, and commercial industries pushed their way in from Detroit. The populations grew from a few thousand in the 1860s, to ten and hundreds of thousands going into the 1970s-1980s. During the 1980s even more housing was built, and most of the last remaining farms were sold to builders. Present day Utica is filled with suburban communities, shopping centers and one small downtown city.

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