Looking Back to 1941: Housing shortage, classroom shortage and trailer camps
Excerpts from Wednesday, January 8, 1941, The Paso Robles Journal:
Housing situation still big problem
While building permits granted by the city council show a total of $204,876 worth of construction during 1940, the highest figure in the city’s history, the local housing conditions are a problem which at present still required solution.
Construction of a 24-bed dormitory addition at the Hotel Taylor is be begun at once, it was announced last week, and will be an aid to the relief of congestion. But needs of newcomers being urgent, it is to be hoped that a few more of our residents can find it possible to provide quarters for workers and their families in private homes.
Housing for school pupils grows acute
Additional evidence of the seriousness of the school housing shortage in Paso Robles was revealed at the regular meeting of the school boards Monday night when it was disclosed that enrollment in Paso Robles schools has increased approximately 150 pupils since Thanksgiving. The most serious problem is in the elementary schools is 100 additional pupils have enrolled in that time.
Editorial summary: Eight grade enrollment reached 97 students, causing those students to be split into three groups resulting in the county superintendent of schools securing an emergency teacher for the new section of the eighth grade. The emergency funds relieved the pressure on local funds. Other funds were also acquired for emergency teachers for San Miguel, Arroyo Grande and Pismo Beach. A $60,000 bond issue for construction of a new school was held on the January 21, 1941 ballot. A survey of 1600 local residents showed that 90% were in favor of the bond measure.
The article continued on page 4.
Trailer camps mushroom along local highway
Driving along the highway between Paso Robles and Camp Nacimiento one finds plenty of evidence of day-to-day change. Already the big camp is taking shape. A short detour near the campsite became necessary to allow laying of track into the camp. Buses make stops at the entrance, disgorging workers, job hunters, officers and officials, even women and children. But most noticeable are all of the tents and trailer camps which have sprung up overnight on both sides of the highway. Here live many employed in camp construction who were unable to find homes for themselves and their families.
These camps, some in open fields others near town, increase visibly in size from day to day. Where only one trailer stood yesterday, four or five can be found today, and double that number tomorrow.
The occupants of these little tent and trailer communities must move on when their work is done. A few perhaps, will find permanent jobs here after construction work is over, but many own homes elsewhere and will find it necessary to return to them.
Meanwhile the merchants are glad of the increased business that the workers and their families have brought to this vicinity, and tourists passing along the highway can tell the folks back home that there are things besides scenery to be seen along the Mission Trail.
Camp Nacimiento payroll exceeds $200,000, employment expected to reach 5000
Editorial note: Camp Nacimiento was established in 1940 as Camp Nacimiento Replacement Training Center and renamed to Camp Roberts in 1941, in honor of Corporal Harold W. Roberts, a World War I Medal of Honor recipient.
Employment figures and the payroll at Camp Nacimiento are scheduled to reach new heights this week. The payroll to be made Friday is estimated at $210,000. This, of course, is only for the approximately 3600 field workers and excludes the 400 administrative employees who are paid on a semi-monthly basis. Plans call for an additional thousand employees to be added within the next seven days. When this increase is complete there will be approximately 5000 field and administrative workers at the camp, the employment has not as yet reached its peak.
Editorial summary: Troops were scheduled to start arriving on February 10. A total of 26,000 troops were scheduled to train at the camp when it was completed.
Read previous Looking Back articles
- Looking Back to 1950: Vine Street to get improvements, first baby born in new hospital
- Looking Back to 1946: Orderly new year, taxpayers vote on hospital district
- Looking Back to Christmas Day 1946
- Looking Back to 1892: A Christmas table within the reach of everyone
- Looking back to 1888: Paso Robles becoming a leading health resort in America
- Looking Back to 1946: Local jobs are scarce, record school enrollment
Thank you to sponsors of Looking Back
Paso Robles Pioneer Museum – Come take a real look back into local Paso Robles history. Open Thursday through Sunday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. 2010 Riverside Ave., Paso Robles, CA 93446, www.pasoroblespioneermuseum.org (805) 239-4556.
Estrella Warbird Museum is an aviation museum dedicated to the restoration and preservation of military aircraft, vehicles, and memorabilia. Woodland Auto Display is also open. Hours: Thursday through Sunday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.. 4251 Dry Creek Road, Paso Robles, CA 93446, ewarbirds.org, (805) 227-0440.
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