Socialism Doesn’t Go

A Three Month Experiment of Co-Operative Living in 1900

Neillsville, Clark Co., Wisconsin


Source: February 2, 1900, Greenwood Gleaner



For three months several prominent families of Neillsville have tried the co-operative plan of living, by maintaining a common dining room, each contributing their share in the expense.  The experiment was given up recently and following is the way Editor L. B. Ring, one of the co-ops comments on the experience:  “The co-house experimenters quit experimenting Saturday.  The public will be interested to know that the families who have for the past three months tried the co-operative plan of house keeping have decided not to continue it.  The reasons are various,.  There is no doubt that a number of families can live together cheaper this way, if managed right, but there is no doubt that what is saved in cost of food and help is lost in modification of one’s own menu to meet the general average.  One cannot have his individual tastes satisfied so completely as at home in one’s own culinary department.  Then, the home comforts are missed at a co-house.  The favorite book is not at hand as one awaits the call to dinner, nor the easy chair, the lounge, or the cat-nap after dinner, and the privacy of the home life is not of the co-house. 


On the other hand, the co. makes one better acquainted with those he dines with, and it wouldn’t be a bad scheme for lots of people to live together a few months on the co-house plan, to learn how many admirable traits others possess.  People would make many pleasant discoveries along this line.  Take it altogether, the co-house experiment has been interesting and pleasant, the cost of living has been about the same as the old way, but has somehow deepened the conviction all around that “’there’s no place like home.’”




Linda Ewen