When companies "own" the towns In England and the United States in the 1800s, many textile factories were built along rivers. This was so that water could be used to power the machinery. Some "company towns" for workers grew up around the factories, including towns like Lowell, Massachusetts. In a company town, workers lived in company-owned homes, shopped at company-owned stores and the company also might have run the schools. After coal-fired steam engines began to replace water power, new factories were built in or near existing cities, where great numbers of workers were available. These factories, in turn, helped to create rapid growth in cities. In 1801 in England and Wales, there were only 106 urban places that had 5,000 people or more. By 1891 there were 622, with 68 percent of the population. Similar developments soon took place in the United States, as hundreds of thousands of immigrants arrived seeking jobs. In 1790, the largest city in the United States was New York with about 33,000 residents. During the 1800s, New York City’s population multiplied 50 times, to 1.5 million, and many other cities also went through incredible growth. The cities of Western and Central Europe experienced similar development.