From an article in the “Savannah Morning News” dated May 7, 1941 (transcribed by Charles E. Varner)
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SHIPYARD BUYS 100-ACRE TRACT
To Be Used As Site for 500 Homes for Workmen
Model Community Planned by Savannah Shipyards
ARCHITECT DUE TODAY
School and Fire House Will be Included
The Savannah Shipyards, Inc. has bought three tracts of land totaling more than 100 acres, and will build 500 homes for workmen, it was announced yesterday by W. R. Crowley, president.
The three tracts are about one-third mile from the Savannah Shipyards property and just back of the golf course. They are Twickenham Annex, containing twenty-five acres; a portion of the Rowland tract, containing about twenty-eight acres; and fifty-two acres of the Brewton-Hill tract.
R. L. Cooper, realtor, who handled the deal for the company, said the land was contiguous and all in the city limits except the Brewton-Hill tract, which is just outside.
Mr. Crowley said the Savannah Shipyards, Inc. planned to build a model community for the workmen that will be employed at the plant.
“Basically, we are planning to build 500 houses,” Mr. Crowley said, “but if we get an additional piece of property that we are negotiating for, we will build more.”
This other piece of property, which lies next to that bought, would give the company a T-shaped tract that would be ideal for the development of an attractive housing community, Mr. Crowley stated.
“Our idea,” Mr. Crowley said, “is to build a village that will not only be a model for Savannah, but for the entire country.”
A group of housing engineers were here Saturday and Sunday, Mr. Crowley stated, and presented plans for the housing project, but none met the ideas of company officials.
Today a representative from a New York architectural firm will be in Savannah, and will confer with the shipyard officials and local authorities. The company will work with the local planning board on housing facilities for workmen. William F. Brown, county engineer, and H. O. Bumann, assistant, will sit in the conference, Mr. Crowley said.
Mr. Crowley said they had discussed the project with local authorities, and were planning a community complete with school and firehouse. The housing project will have also a recreation center, park and housing unit space for a garden, he stated.
“We are not going to listen to anything except a model community,” Mr. Crowley declared.
The houses that will be built in the project will be of two types, Mr. Crowley stated. There will be a small unit for unskilled laborers and a larger one for the skilled workmen.
“We assume that the smaller unit will cost from “$3,000 to $3,500,” he said, “and workers can carry it for approximately $20.18 per month. This will take care of the principal, interest, insurance and rent per month.
“The larger house will cost about $4,000 and rent for $22.87 a month, which will cover everything. However, we may need to go up on that to a $4,500 or $5,000, which can still be carried for less that $30 a month – approximately $28.26,” Mr. Crowley said.
The location of the project will make it easy for the city to furnish water and sewerage facilities, it was pointed out. A new sewer being built by the city will run through a part of the property.
Mr. Crowley said plans were going forward for the construction of a spur railroad line to the shipyards tract. A conference will be held this morning with railroad officials and plans will be submitted, he said.
If an agreement is reached on the spur track, he said, then plans for about 2,000 feet of track on the property can be made and construction get underway soon.
Nothing can be done toward the construction of the shipbuilding plant, Mr. Crowley said, until the railroad track facilities are (illegible word).
However, the Layne-Atlantic Company will begin preliminary work this morning for drilling a well on the property to provide ample water for the plant, Mr. Crowley stated.