Villages often followed a simple pattern, with workers housed in rows of identical single-family houses or, in some cases, duplexes, while higher-ranking managers lived in larger houses closer to the mills in the community centers.
As governor, Blease emphasized individual freedom for whites and racism. He opposed government regulation, even if its purpose was to benefit the same mill workers to whom he appealed. He denounced an act to limit working hours for mill employees, believing it interfered with parents’ control over their children. He vetoed legislation to inspect factories for safety and health considerations, stating that a man ought to be able to work under any conditions he chose. He opposed compulsory education as an attempt to replace parents with “the paid agents of the State in the control of children,” and he vetoed four compulsory attendance bills while governor.
Defeating his one-time hero Cole Blease, Johnston was elected governor in 1934. “This marks the end of ring rule,” Johnston declared at his January 1935 inauguration.
Unlike other cotton mills in Columbia that used steam or hydroelectric power, Olympia had its own coal-fired electrical plant that supplied electricity to Olympia and Whaley’s three other mills, as well as the Columbia Street Railway Power Company.