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Serving York & All Surrounding Areas
Serving York & All Surrounding Areas
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York Charter Township is a small community in Southeast Michigan. Historically, York is known for Saline Valley Farms. Saline Valley Farms was an experimental cooperative farm established by Harold Gray. The farm was not a religious or political commune; but a idyllic arrangement, in which residents lived and worked on one big farm. Gray was a dreamer, and after studying economics at Harvard, and volunteering in China, he thought he’d invented a way to create an efficient, thriving community. Gray’s grandfather was the president of Ford Motor Company, and passed a large inheritance down to Gray. After watching the economy fail in the Great Depression, Gray decided to take his inheritance and put his cooperative farm theory to the test.
Gray bought a piece of property in York, and started recruiting families to come live and work on the farm. About twenty families moved to the farm, and started building. They built homes, barns, new roads and a lake and also planted several fields and orchards. Originally, the designs for the houses came from an article published in the Detroit news paper. They referred to these as “Detroit news,” houses. Later, houses were designed by a professor at the University of Michigan. Every house was made to fit the needs of each specific family, so the homes were all different sizes. They also built a large two story building, that was a store on the bottom and a recreation hall on top. They used the hall for square dances, potlucks and plays.
Gray strove to have the best quality crops and animals, while everyone worked hard to produce good quality products. They produced everything from meats, milk, cheeses, and eggs, to fresh produce. For a while, they sold their products in their small store, at the J.L. Hudson Food Shop, and to clients around the city. They even started a delivery service. Their products were excellent, but the farm made very little money and rarely broke even. Eventually, cutting back on crops, the cost of upkeep, and having to ration for the war, it took its toll. Gray was forced to shut down.
Although the farm was an economic failure, residents who grew up on the farm will tell you that it was a social success. The people who lived there were from all different backgrounds, from anarchists to republicans and atheists to the extremely religious; but they were all able to live a peaceful and cooperative existence. Perhaps the example of the Saline Valley Farm could tutor us all in tolerance. In fact, during WWII, the farm grew to include Japanese Americans who had been released from internment, conscientious objectors who had been paroled, and European Jewish refugees.
York tutors want to give every student a chance to reach their goals, and live the lives they dream of. Able to work with students of all age and in many subjects York tutors are ready to help.
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