|"WAR HOUSING NEEDED"
Early in World War II, the Housing Authority of Savannah, noting large
influxes of workers coming to Savannah to build ships for the US military,
recognized the need for large numbers of "War Housing"
units. "War Housing" meant temporary housing.
The narrative below was helpfully provided by the Housing
Authority of Savannah, in a January 1946 report:
Since the Authority's policy is never to enter a field that can be
handled by private enterprise, the Authority sat back and waited for the
private syndicates to act. Six months passed. Personnel
managers began to worry out loud about turnover. Men were quitting
because they could not find decent shelter.
The out-of-town builders, it seemed, had found that a housing project
was easy to promise, hard to deliver. One syndicate did succeed in
building 386 homes in the Pine Gardens development, and several
smaller projects were completed. But the supply was far below the
demand of a population pushing toward the peak of 175,000 reached in
That was why the Housing Authority moved in and built seven war housing
projects with a total of 2,975 homes.
The big war housing operation should not be confused with the low-rent
housing program. Most of the war housing is of temporary
construction and is scheduled for removal at an early date. All of
the war housing is owned by the federal government, whereas the low-rent
projects are owned by the Housing Authority.
The Savannah Authority has simply acted as the agent of the federal
government in building and managing the 2,975 homes for migrant war
workers and military personnel. Normal rents are charged; the
equivalent of normal taxes is paid. There is of course no subsidy as
in low-rent housing.
Here is the record of the war housing program: (Editor's note:
only that portion related to the Southeastern Shipbuilding Corp.'s workers
JOSIAH TATTNALL HOMES
750 homes built in 5 months
These single story demountable frame dwellings were built on East
Gwinett Street, northeast of Twickenham Terrace, to house employees of the
Southeastern Shipbuilding Corporation. The project is within walking
distance of the shipyard. Commodore Josiah Tattnall of the United
States Navy is remembered for five words sent from China in 1859.
When the British fleet was defeated at the mouth of the Pei-ho River, the
commodore gave aid that violated neutrality. His explanation
was, 'Blood is thicker than water.' The American government upheld
him. The Tattnall plantation, Bonaventure, is now Bonaventure
Cemetery. (Construction was completed in January 1943.)
MOSES ROGERS GROVE
150 Homes Built in 4 Months
Of two-story balloon frame construction, these dwellings on President
Street East were also designed for Southeastern Shipbuilding Corporation
workers. The project was named for the skipper of the
Savannah, the first steamship to cross the Atlantic. (Construction
was completed in January 1943.)
850 Homes, Built in 7 1/2 Months
Single-story row houses of cinder block construction, Deptford Place
was the third project built to enable Southeastern Shipbuilding
Corporation to attain a peak employment of close to 16,000 workers.
The project adjoins Josiah Tattnall Homes on the east. It was named
for the old Deptford Plantation where rice was cultivated a century
ago. (Construction was completed in September 1943.)