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Originally published Friday, December 20, 2013 at 10:13 AM

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Prefab meets stately Gothic at the UW, 1946

This week, Now & Then looks at another example of temporary University of Washington student housing rushed to order after World War II. These were for single students.


Special to The Seattle Times

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THIS WEEK we return to 1946 (for many of us, not so long ago) and share another example of temporary University of Washington student housing rushed to order after World War II. Unlike last week’s housing, these dorms are for singles, not marrieds. (Any notion that the two genders could live under the same on-campus roof was then still decades away.)

Appearing first in The Seattle Times for Wednesday, Jan. 30, 1946, this press photo was captioned, “First of 24 new housing units, these dormitories are shown being settled on their new foundations on the UW campus between Engineering Hall and Frosh Pond.” Last Sunday’s “units” for the married vets, at Lake Union Village, were shipped by rail from Richland, Benton County. These were readily barged from Renton, up the Cedar River and Lake Washington to the edge of campus, from where they were hauled on trailers to here.

Judging from a 1946 aerial photograph, the two units seen here to the rear have found their proper footprints, while the unit in the foreground still awaits its last move. The units can be easily counted in the same aerial. Squeezed as they were between the permanent brick Guggenheim, Johnson and Physics halls, they successfully disrupted the collegiate Gothic feel of the university’s campus. Thankfully, the five dorms were temporary, although through their mere seven years of use, the prefabricated dorms were named with the rather grand regional tags of Chelan, Rainier, Olympia, Cascade and Baker halls.

Pacific NW readers are invited to explore online the 1946 campus with its temporary dormitory crush. The noted aerial is generously featured near the top of the blog that is regularly listed at the end of this feature: . There you will also readily find the timely narrative noted and quoted last week, Richard Berner’s “Seattle Transformed,” our city’s history through World War II and well into the Cold War.

Check out Paul Dorpat and Jean Sherrard’s blog at www.pauldorpat.com.



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