Photo and Commentary by Sean Hutchinson
The building we know today as the Cummings Center, though we may take it for granted, was once highly respected for its structural advancements as well as technological advancements. The United Shoe Manufacturing Company, it’s previous name, was built in the early 1900’s, and for thirty years stood as the largest reinforced concrete structure in the world. It is actually ranked highly today as one of the most significant industrial landmarks in the country. The community of Beverly, as well as other communities around the area was housing the thousands of workers at United Shoe. The United Shoe was restored after bought but Cummings Properties in 1996 and came to be called the Cummings Center. It is amazing how many people know of the United Show, but few realize how much impact it actually had on life during the Industrial Revolution.
Yes, it is true that the majority of Beverly citizens know of the Cummings Center in Beverly, which was once the United Shoe. Very few of these people though know how much it affected life here. The United Shoe not only represented Beverly, but many of the things going on in the Industrial Revolution. It was a company that made machines that made shoes. Many people who lived in Beverly and surrounding areas worked at the United Shoe, making Beverly somewhat of a Company Town. A Company Town was a town built around a company or corporation that housed most of the workers. This company basically made Beverly what it is today. Schools and recreational centers, such as Beverly Golf and Tennis, were established for a place for the workers to have fun. From the time the company opened to the 1910’s, the immigration population in Beverly raised the population almost 5,000 people, more than a third of the previous population. Who knew that one building could change a town so much?
The shot I have of the Cummings Center is an updated picture since it has been refurbished in 1996. Even though it has been refurbished, and in the future may even be refurbished again, it will still remain a staple to the town of Beverly. Since the update, the style of the building has changed, but the basis of the building is still standing strong. The United Shoe is a large part of Beverly history, and the people of Beverly would never let that be replaced. That is why it is a staple in the history of Beverly. Though “The Shoe” may change slightly in appearance in generations to come, the building will last as a Beverly historical sight, and believe me, is not being replaced any time soon.