Soon after the United States declared war, Newport News was designated Hampton Roads Port of Embarkation Headquarters. As the US Army took over the operation of the port from the C & O, embarkation camps and training areas were established in Newport News and Warwick County. These camps were primarily used to process troops going overseas.
Camp Stuart was the largest troop clearinghouse in the United States, located between Small Boat Harbor and Salter’s Creek. The clearinghouse housed 115,000 soldiers during the war. Sixty-seven thousand eight hundred eighty-seven men were processed at Camp Hill, along the James River. It also served as the port’s animal embarkation area. This camp could handle 10,000 animals, with 900 men managing the 33,704 horses and 24,474 mules.
Newport News citizens opened their homes to these servicemen who passed through the port. The influx of soldiers and seamen led to the establishment or expansion of numerous organizations. The YMCA on 32nd Street provided 2,200 baths, slept 2,475 soldiers, and served 6,000 meals a month.
The city became independent of Warwick County in 1952. In 1958, Newport News merged with Warwick and became the city of Newport News, which was incorporated in that same year as Warwick County.
Here are some stunning historical photos that show life in Newport News during the 1940s.
This project built by the Federal Works Agency and the Public Buildings Administration, at a cost of $1,282,000 contains 350 units to house married enlisted personnel employed at the Army Air base. Construction is about ninety percent completed and rentals run about twenty percent of tenant's income