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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Caesar Cone, January 7, 1983. Interview C-0003. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Treating employees well was good business, until the government interfered

Treating employees generously was just good business, Cone believes. His mill town provided recreation areas for employees until the government came along and starting taxing his company for doing so.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Caesar Cone, January 7, 1983. Interview C-0003. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

HARRY WATSON:
That reminds me of some of the things that you were talking about earlier about paternalism, because, not necessarily particularly in connection with the handicapped, Cone was certainly very famous for having a very highly developed system of services to provide amenities to people.
CEASAR CONE:
Right. We thought that was good business. Not just charity; it's good business. But the minute they come along here and start charging us taxes to put city-paid-for recreation areas all over town, why the hell should we run one out here with a hundred percent of our money into it? Why not say, "All right, we're paying more taxes than anybody else in town, the biggest taxpayer. Why don't you put some of your city monies out here? We're going to close down." A fellow from Atlanta come in here to make a survey. This was when they first went into the recreation business. "Put a recreation center here, here. The northeast doesn't need anything; Cone takes care of that." This is the damn guy from Atlanta, the expert, Graves, the famous Graves report. Boy, when I read that thing, I said to my brother, "We've got to get out of this thing right quick. They use our taxes to take care of everybody else and expect us to take care of ourselves. To hell with it." Well, he didn't think… "We've always been good citizens." I said, "Yeah, we've been good citizens, but now you get screwed. As long as the city didn't go into recreation, it suited us fine. We had the best community in town."