Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Vallejo's Wartime Housing


America’s entry into WWII brought drastic changes to the City of Vallejo. Temporary defense housing projects sprang up almost overnight as people from nearly every state in the Union came seeking jobs at the Mare Island Navy Yard. The City's population exploded from approximately 30,000 residents in 1939 to nearly 90,000 in 1945. Wartime housing projects were often built of prefabricated sections and used innovative new building materials and techniques. Several well-known architects were involved in Vallejo's wartime housing boom, including William Wurster, who later became dean of the University of California Architecture School at Berkeley.

By far the largest of Vallejo's defense housing projects was Chabot Terrace, located north of present day Highway 37 and east of Broadway. By late 1944, nearly 11,000 people were living in this project. Other wartime housing projects in Vallejo included Federal Terrace, Roosevelt Terrace, Guadalcanal Village, Carquinez Heights, Floyd Terrace, Hillside Dormitories, Northside Dormitories, Amador Apartments, Solano Apartments and Victory Apartments. Nearly all of these were torn down soon after the war ended.

In 1945, a report by the City of Vallejo declared that the city had "undergone one of the most radical changes of any community in America in the past four years. Nowhere else has the impact of the war, with all of its resultant confusion, congestion, and expansion been more direct." Many families who lived in Vallejo's temporary defense housing projects later built or bought their own homes in the community. Others returned to their home states once the war had ended.

18 comments:

  1. Since I grew up in wartime housing and I would like to see housing photos such as: Floyd Terrace Projects, Chabot Terrace and any other wartime housing to allow me to reflect back to my younger days.

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  2. I too was raised in Floyd Terrace and when I see reference to some of these older developments, I would love to have some pictures to view and refresh my memory!

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  3. I grew up in Floyd Terrace and went to Cooper Elementary School

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  4. I grew up in federal terrace in 1942 to 1956 would like to see pics thanks lance d.

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  5. Lived in Floyd Terrace 1944 to 1949, 939 Jersey St. Attended Highland School. One of my teachers was Mrs Dellahussey. Have two pictures of classmates during that time frame.Father worked on Mare Island on Ship clean up crew. He also worked at the Army Surplus store on Georgia St. a few stores down from Sears and Roebuck. Enjoyed going to the Harmon Theatre on Saturdays.

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  6. One of my early memories (I was born in March 1948) is when we lived in Chabot Terrace (I seem to recall it was called Chabot Heights) when I was younger than 4 -- single floor housing. We later moved to what I knew as Federal Terrace which was a multi floor housing (cannot recall if you would call it a duplex or fourplex -- my memory is not providing me with a good enough picture of that unit -- and I attended kindergarden in a nearby school to the housing project. I seem to remember that my teachers name was Mrs Hickenbottom or something similar to that. I also would like to see photos posted that show the housing in more detail. We later moved to 'Rancho Del Mar' between Vallejo and Napa. My father worked for the Vallejo Times Herald and my mother worked as a waitress at the Barrell Inn.

    James

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  7. Does anyone remember the street name "Siskiyou" in Chabot Terrace? We lived at 327 Siskiyou Street Chabot Terrace Vallejo, CA when I was born [1948]. Google Earth can't seem to find it. I'm guessing the street was renamed, but to what?

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    1. Found out why there is no longer a "Siskiyou" street name in Chabot Terrace - this is a name that existed when the government housing complex was active... The whole complex was sold at auction in 1955, which means the area was re-developed and all the existing streets were re-configured and renamed... Ah, progress...!

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    2. would like to discuss Chabot Terrace with you and 325 Sisklyou your neighbors in 1953. I do not know how all this blogging works would rather do it my email sjburroughs!2yahoo.com Shirley

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    3. the email is really sjburroughs1@yahoo.com Shirley

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    4. I lived at 417 Siskiyou before moving to 420 Olympic St. About 1946.

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  8. I'm seeking a 1943-45 street map (photo copy) of Chabot Terrace, that hopefully would also include the country roads that formed the perimeter of that WWII housing project. I would appreciate any contact re: my search. Thanks, L.W.

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  9. Here's a link to my FB page showing a 1940s postcard of Chabot Terrace.
    https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=1225366397479415&id=319722608043803

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    1. Would like to get the copy of the post card will try if am reading everything right above. Thank you

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    2. unable to pull this up, could you email a copy to me? sjburroughs1@yahoo.com Thank you Shirley

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  10. I was born in 1952, and my family lived in Chabot Terrace until I was 2, when we moved to Hapa. My dad was a discharged Navy vet working at Mare Island. He was a laborer at Mare Island before the war broke out, and got into the apprenticeship program after the war. I have some memories of living there, even though I was pretty young, and the memories are a bit hazy.

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  11. Sorry for the typo..........that should have read Napa.

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  12. Does anyone know if the Chabot Terrace had the nick name of "Shabby Acres" during WWII

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