Saturday, June 18, 2016

National Housing Emergency, 1946-1947


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I was born shortly after the end of World War II. I was in the first wave of the baby boom when a child was born in the United States every 7 seconds. Like many of my fellow boomers I will become a septuagenarian this year,

There was a shortage of housing for all the returning veterans and their families which was addressed by President Truman (Source URL)
An act of congress, May 22, 1946, declared a national housing emergency and clothed the Executive Branch of the government with special powers to deal with it. The special powers were to continue in existence until December 31, 1947, for it was believed that the acute shortage of housing could not be overcome before that date. Under the emergency program more housing was built during 1946 than in any peacetime year since 1928 but the new construction fell far short of meeting the accumulated demand. Veterans returning from the theatres of war were finding as much difficulty in obtaining suitable living quarters sixteen months after the close of the war as they had immediately after V-J Day.
The government's emergency program was sharply revised, and all but reversed, by President Truman, Dec. 14, 1946, although he said there would be “no major modification in the objective of rapidly and adequately housing our veterans.”
I am determined that a vigorous housing program will continue to be carried out in 1947 [the President said]. The techniques we will use are those that will work today. I am convinced that this 1947 program will produce results.… We, as a nation, owe the veterans an opportunity to have homes. We will see that they get them.
We lived in a rental house located in Stamford Connecticut for the first 12 years of my life. The houses were build by the government and were completely identical. In 1960 the neighborhood was razed to make way for Rippowam High School. I believe the parking lot was the location of my early home. We lived on 50 Horan Avenue in the neighborhood. All the streets were named after veterans who were killed in the war. I always thought those names should have been reassigned to new roads.

Location (Approximate) -  41°05'06.9"N+73°32'46.9"W


50 Horan Avenue - 1947
The floor plant was quite simple. There were two bedrooms, a living room, kitchen, bathroom with just a shower and utility room. The house had no cellar. It had a central coal stove for heat which we converted to kerosene. It had a cesspool at the end of the driveway but thankfully had town water. I shared the bedroom with the two windows with my sisters. The house had wooden clapboards and I believe it was painted pale yellow. All the homes were painted in various pastel colors.

My sister blows bubbles while my cousin looks on. This is the backyard porch. To the right was a big tank of kerosene for the stove. To the right of that was a large coal bin with an opening into the house. My father re-purposed that to hold his outboard motor, gasoline, tools, a cool blowtorch and other dangerorus items. This photo was taken probably in 1954.

My dad loved to fish and striped bass was his favorite. This big boy is almost as big as I am. This shot gives an idea of the backyard. The entire area behind the house was undeveloped for several years and was a great place to explore. This photo was taken in the 1950s

My first haircut in 1948. My dad loved to fish and figured putting a fishing pole in my hand would inspire me. It didn't work. Note the next door neighbor's house which is exactly the same. The entire neighborhood was filled with veterans with kids my age. There was no lack of things to do.

I could count on magazines of that era to give me sound advice of a healthy life style

Life Magazine - September 30, 1946