Saturday, May 21, 2022

Episode 26 - Three Cheers for Trailer Town!

Staged photo of a woman checking her cooking
pot inside a camper trailer. Date unknown.

Welcome to the supplemental post for Episode 26 of the Victory Kitchen Podcast! In this episode we talked about the housing plight of Americans before and during WWII and the cramped housing situations that they dealt with. This in turn affected many housewives and the way that they were able to cook. This included the use of two burner stoves, hot plates, portable ovens, and other small appliances.

Edgewater Park trailer camp near the Ford bomber plant.
Ypsilanti, Michigan. August 1941.

Guests of trailer park playing Chinese checkers outside their trailer home.
Sarasota trailer park, Sarasota, Florida.
January 1941. (Office of War Information)

Mr. and Mrs. Wicks. Mr. Wicks is employed at the
Ford bomber plant near Ypsilanti. They are from Flint, Michigan.
They share a tent and a trailer with another family and
single man in Edgewater Park near the bomber plant. August 1941.

Son of Mr. Nichols, defense worker from Cass City, Michigan now living
in a trailer at Edgewater Park near Ypsilanti, Michigan.
Mr. Nichols works in the Ford bomber plant. August 1941.

A big thank you to my good friend Kelsey Lonie for sharing this Maclean's article with me!

Maclean's Magazine June 1, 1943
(Canada)

This is being advertised as a comfy "home away from home" vacation get away, but the reality is that many people used camper trailers like this as temporary and semi-permanent housing during the war. 
Schult Camper Trailer ad
Life magazine
July 28, 1941


Trailer Town - Three Cheers
Woman's Home Companion
July 1942

This image is part of the article "Boom Town: San Diego"
Life magazine
July 28, 1941

I mentioned this article from the August 17, 1942 Life magazine about Detroit housing. The images are definitely worth taking a look at.

Life
August 17, 1942

Life
August 17, 1942





Oak Ridge, Tennessee 
A big thanks to Jesse Williams for his interview and for providing the following photographs.


One of the flat top Oak Ridge houses that was relocated to someone's 
land after being purchased from the government after the war.

Jesse was able to salvage the kitchen from this flat top that was being torn down

The kitchen inside the flat top housing unit



The following original photographs from Oak Ridge were taken by Ed Westcott, the only person allowed to have a camera inside the top secret city. See my resources below for a link to a page all about his work. A huge thank you to Jesse Williams for sharing these photos with me! Some of these, especially the ones of the trailers and trailer camps, are more difficult to find.


The Guest House (later called The Alexander Inn)
Photo by Ed Westcott

"Colored" hutment area, taken from Y-12 water tower 
looking North. Note that it says "temporary housing"
by Ed Westcott
1944

Gamble Valley Trailer Camp, 1945
Gamble Valley Super Market is in the foreground on the left
by Ed Westcott
 

Midtown Trailer Camp
by Ed Westcott

Trailer, 1945
by Ed Westcott

Trailer Interior Living Room, 1945
by Ed Westcott

Trailer Interior Bedroom & Kitchen, 1945
by Ed Westcott

Midtown Trailer Park Family
"Wm. B. Christopher" playing dominos
(notice the photo of the serviceman in the back)
by Ed Westcott


Cookbook Feature: 
Double-Quick Cooking for Part-Time Homemakers
by Ida Bailey Allen, 1943

The recipe I tried was the Cake Crumb Pudding. It can alternatively use cookie crumbs. I really enjoyed the cake version. You can use any cake. I used a wartime recipe for Creole Spice Cake which you can find on my account on Instagram. I think a wartime chocolate cake would lend itself really well to this recipe too. I served it along with some delicious British Devon custard (Ambrosia brand - imported). Any egg-based custard would taste great with this pudding dish. 

As noted in my episode, I recommend making this recipe using a wartime cake or cookie recipe. Modern cake and cookie recipes use far too much sugar and fats and using them for this pudding recipe would change the consistency and overall end result. 









RESOURCES

WEBSITES:

New York’s Dirty Little Secret: Apartment Kitchens

1940s Portable Oven

African American Hutments

Oak Ridge Alphabet Housing

Voices of the Manhattan Project: Kattie Strickland

The Photography of Ed Westcott

Sojourner Truth Project



BOOKS/MAGAZINES:

The Girls of Atomic City by Denise Kiernan

Woman’s Home Companion. July 1942.



Maclean's Magazine. June 1, 1943. 

Double-Quick Cooking for the Part-Time Homemaker by Ida Bailey Allen. M. Barrows & Company, New York. 1943.

Cooking Behind the Fence: Recipes and recollections from the Oak Ridge ‘43 Club. Oak Ridge Heritage & Preservation Association, 2013.

Suds in Your Eye by Mary Laswell, 1946. (This book has a great companion cookbook called One-Armed Cookery also by Mary Laswell.) 

A Tower of Steel by Josephine Lawrence, 1943.

Since You Went Away by Margaret Buell Wilder, 1944.

IMAGES:

Mr. and Mrs. Wicks. Mr. Wicks is employed at the Ford bomber plant near Ypsilanti. They are from Flint, Michigan. They share a tent and a trailer with another family and single man in Edgewater Park near the bomber plant. August 1941.

Son of Mr. Nichols, defense worker from Cass City, Michigan now living in a trailer at Edgewater Park near Ypsilanti, Michigan. Mr. Nichols works in the Ford bomber plant. August 1941.

Edgewater Park trailer camp near the Ford bomber plant. Ypsilanti, Michigan. August 1941.

Guests of trailer park playing Chinese checkers outside their trailer home. Sarasota trailer park, Sarasota, Florida. January 1941. (Office of War Information)

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Episode 26 - Three Cheers for Trailer Town!

Staged photo of a woman checking her cooking pot inside a camper trailer. Date unknown. Welcome to the supplemental post for Episode 26 of t...