World War II Temporary Structures, Veterans Dorms, Agate and Columbia Street Housing, Architecture of the University of Oregon

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World War II Temporary Structures

Agate St. Housing (below Hayward Field) and Columbia St. Housing (below Agate St. Housing). 1962 Photo.


The influx of students to the university immediately following World War II created a severe housing shortage.  Solutions included the recycling of housing used for War-related workers and military personnel and the construction of  housing intended to be temporary.   Quonsets huts were shipped in or recycled to serve as offices, classrooms, or storage facilities.  The following were the principle temporary housing complexes:
  • Agate Street housing.  In 1946, 29 prefabricated houses were brought from Hanford, Washington, and placed across from Hayward Field. From Richland, Washington, came  53 trailers which were installed at 14th and Agate.
  • Columbia Street housing.  These units were shipped and reconstructed in 1947 from Portland area WWII shipyard worker housing.
  • Amazon housing. These units were shipped and reconstructed in 1947 from Portland area WWII shipyard worker housing.   They were located at 22nd and Patterson St. See the separate entry on Amazon Housing.
  • Veterans Dorms I and II. These structures were built in 1947 near the Music and Education buildings. Each building contained five halls. A quonset hut served as a common dining hall. Each hall was named in honor of alumni who died in WWII. They were located near the Music and Education buildings. Veterans Dorm II was torn down in 1962.

Image: Trailer Housing (Oregana 1949)


Campus Quonsets


Image:Refurbished Quonsets: UO's Planning Office

During 1941, the US Navy anticipated the need for light, sturdy, prefabricated structures that could be produced in great quantities. They contracted with the George A. Fuller construction company to develop buildings similar to the British Nissen huts created during WWI. Peter Dejongh and Otto Brandenberger were contracted to create a design and production plant near Quonset, Rhode Island. During World War II, around 170,000 Quonset huts were produced to serve a variety of purposes. After the war, they were sold very cheaply, and made attractive purchases for universities needing convenient housing and classroom spaces to accommodate the burgeoning post-war population. In 1962, the remaining UO quonset population migrated north of Franklin Blvd. to the Physical Plant area where they have been creatively employed for offices and storage.


Page author:  Ed Teague.  Updated 4/18/2013

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Created by ehteague on Jun 18, 2012 Last updated Apr 18, 2013