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In 1827, William Giles Munson drafted a now famous portrait of Whitneyville, the manufacturing village that Eli Whitney had developed for 25 years. Whitney died in 1825. Munson's painting records buildings Whitney had built or had planned. Painters, journalists and presidents visited Whitneyville. It was an accessible and popular sampler of change that was sprouting next to rivers all over New England.
Munson's Whitneyville is thoughtfully organized, peaceful, and in easy harmony with the river and hills that surround it. By the time the Industrial Revolution had reached full force, few factory towns kept Whitneyville's idyllic balance. Munson's painting is an image that finds its way into text books that describe the beginning of the Industrial Revolution in part because it recalls a beginning of friendly human scale and dignity not yet darkened by smoke.
Factories are places of change. At least 18 buildings have come and gone since Whitney Sr's time. We are still digging into that history. With the painting and map, however, you can still find artifacts of Whitney's era and mind.