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Fascinating Vintage Photos of Newport News in the 1940s

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.

#1 Shipyard worker (second from right) participates in a musical organization, Newport News, 1940

Shipyard worker (second from right) participates in a musical organization, Newport News, 1940

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#2 The forward deck on a C-3, photographed from the bridge, 1946

The forward deck on a C-3, photographed from the bridge, 1946

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#3 Shipyard employees getting out at 4:00 p.m. Newport News, 1941

Shipyard employees getting out at 4:00 p.m. Newport News, 1941

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#4 Shipyard employees getting out at 4:00 p.m. Newport News, 1941

Shipyard employees getting out at 4:00 p.m. Newport News, 1941

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#5 Shipyards at 4:00 p.m. Newport News, Virginia, 1941

Shipyards at 4:00 p.m. Newport News, Virginia, 1941

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#6 Shipyard workers going home at 4:00 p.m. Newport News, Virginia, 1941

Shipyard workers going home at 4:00 p.m. Newport News, Virginia, 1941

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#7 Shipyards at 4:00 p.m. Newport News, Virginia, 1941

Shipyards at 4:00 p.m. Newport News, Virginia, 1941

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#8 Rooming house in Newport News, Virginia, 1941

Rooming house in Newport News, Virginia, 1941

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#9 Defense housing project being developed by the housing authority of the city of Newport News, Virginia for the shelter of defense workers and families of enlisted personnel, 1941

Defense housing project being developed by the housing authority of the city of Newport News, Virginia for the shelter of defense workers and families of enlisted personnel, 1941

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#10 Workers are leaving the gates of the yard, after their regular shift, 1941

Workers are leaving the gates of the yard, after their regular shift, 1941

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#11 Thousands of tons of lumber and steel are used in the construction of these ways, where American mechanical genius is employed in the production of ships for our new two-ocean navy, 1941

Thousands of tons of lumber and steel are used in the construction of these ways, where American mechanical genius is employed in the production of ships for our new two-ocean navy, 1941

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#12 This is the storage space in the moulding loft where the many templates for ships’ parts are fashioned in wood, 1941

This is the storage space in the moulding loft where the many templates for ships' parts are fashioned in wood, 1941

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#13 These are mold loft workers laying out patterns for various parts of naval vessels under construction, 1941

These are mold loft workers laying out patterns for various parts of naval vessels under construction, 1941

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#14 The Norfolk-Newport News section of Virginia is contributing a large portion of the new tonnage of our rapidly expanding two-ocean Navy, 1941

The Norfolk-Newport News section of Virginia is contributing a large portion of the new tonnage of our rapidly expanding two-ocean Navy, 1941

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#15 Shipbuilding in Newport News. Through the scaffolding may be seen the prow of a battleship under construction, 1941

Shipbuilding in Newport News. Through the scaffolding may be seen the prow of a battleship under construction, 1941

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#16 Thousands of workers contribute thousands of skills in the building of ships for Uncle Sam’s growing Navy. This worker is topping punching holes on a ship’s frame, 1941

Thousands of workers contribute thousands of skills in the building of ships for Uncle Sam's growing Navy. This worker is topping punching holes on a ship's frame, 1941

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#17 Bus depot in Newport News, Virginia, 1941

Bus depot in Newport News, Virginia, 1941

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#18 Boy from North Carolina. Family had just moved to Newport News, Virginia, for work in shipyards, 1941

Boy from North Carolina. Family had just moved to Newport News, Virginia, for work in shipyards, 1941

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#19 Housing in Newport News, Virginia, 1941

Housing in Newport News, Virginia, 1941

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#20 Man and wife from South Carolina. He just got a job in shipyards, moved into this one room apartment, rent eight dollars a week. Newport News, Virginia, 1941

Man and wife from South Carolina. He just got a job in shipyards, moved into this one room apartment, rent eight dollars a week. Newport News, Virginia, 1941

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#21 Men eating at Salvation Army, Newport News, Virginia, 1941

Men eating at Salvation Army, Newport News, Virginia, 1941

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#22 Men eating at Salvation Army. Newport News, Virginia, 1941

Men eating at Salvation Army. Newport News, Virginia, 1941

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#23 Residential section. Parked cars of shipyard workers, Newport News, 1941

Residential section. Parked cars of shipyard workers, Newport News, 1941

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#24 Workers’ cars packed near shipyard. Newport News, Virginia, 1941

Workers' cars packed near shipyard. Newport News, Virginia, 1941

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#25 Parked cars belonging to shipyard employees. Newport News, 1941

Parked cars belonging to shipyard employees. Newport News, 1941

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#26 Workers’ cars packed near shipyard. Newport News, Virginia, 1941

Workers' cars packed near shipyard. Newport News, Virginia, 1941

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#27 Boy from North Carolina whose family had just moved to Newport News for work in shipyards, 1941

Boy from North Carolina whose family had just moved to Newport News for work in shipyards, 1941

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#28 Shipyards at Newport News, Virginia, 1941

Shipyards at Newport News, Virginia, 1941

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#29 Shipyards Newport News, Virginia, 1941

Shipyards Newport News, Virginia, 1941

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#30 Back doors in Newport News, Virginia, 1941

Back doors in Newport News, Virginia, 1941

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#31 Newport News, Virginia, 1941

Newport News, Virginia, 1941

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#32 Parked cars of shipyard workers. Newport News, Virginia, 1941

Parked cars of shipyard workers. Newport News, Virginia, 1941

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#33 Cook at Salvation Army. Newport News, Virginia, 1941

Cook at Salvation Army. Newport News, Virginia, 1941

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#34 Newport News, Virginia, 1941

Newport News, Virginia, 1941

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#35 Linemen, Newport News, 1941

Linemen, Newport News, 1941

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#36 Newport News, Virginia, 1941

Newport News, Virginia, 1941

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#37 Newport News, Virginia, 1941

Newport News, Virginia, 1941

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#38 Salvation Army in Newport News, Virginia, 1941

Salvation Army in Newport News, Virginia, 1941

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#39 Salvation Army in Newport News, 1941

Salvation Army in Newport News, 1941

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#40 Parked cars of shipyard workers in Newport News, 1941

Parked cars of shipyard workers in Newport News, 1941

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#41 Parked cars belonging to shipyard employees in Newport News, Virginia, 1941

Parked cars belonging to shipyard employees in Newport News, Virginia, 1941

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#42 A small section of the shipyard, showing an overhead travelling (“Gentry”) crane in the foreground, 19841

A small section of the shipyard, showing an overhead travelling ("Gentry") crane in the foreground, 19841

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#43 General shipyard scene, with ships under construction on ways in the background, 1941

General shipyard scene, with ships under construction on ways in the background, 1941

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#44 Shipyard at Newport News, showing overhead cranes, 1941

Shipyard at Newport News, showing overhead cranes, 1941

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#45 The fitting and repair slips at Newport News, Virginia. The S.S. America can be seen in the background. The ship in the adjacent slip is a tanker, 1941

The fitting and repair slips at Newport News, Virginia. The S.S. America can be seen in the background. The ship in the adjacent slip is a tanker, 1941

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#46 Defense housing, Langley Field, Newport News, Virginia, 1941

Defense housing, Langley Field, Newport News, Virginia, 1941

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

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#47 Defense housing. Ferguson Park, Newport News, 1941

Defense housing. Ferguson Park, Newport News, 1941

A 1200-unit project built by the Navy at a cost of $3,500,882 to house civilian workers employed in the shipbuilding yards. Units have from one to four bedrooms and rentals range from $30 to $35 a month, including up to $3.70 worth of utilities.

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#48 War housing in Langley Field, Newport News, Virginia, 1941

War housing in Langley Field, Newport News, Virginia, 1941

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#49 Shipyard workers at bar. Newport News, Virginia, 1941

Shipyard workers at bar. Newport News, Virginia, 1941

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#50 Shipyard workers leaving their work, 1942

Shipyard workers leaving their work, 1942

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#51 Shipyard worker’s children on their way to school, 1942

Shipyard worker's children on their way to school, 1942

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#52 Shipyard worker shown at his rural home with four of his children, 1942

Shipyard worker shown at his rural home with four of his children, 1942

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#53 Shipyard worker’s daughter, 1942

Shipyard worker's daughter, 1942

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#54 Shipyard worker leaving his rural home for the shipyards with his lunch box, 1942

Shipyard worker leaving his rural home for the shipyards with his lunch box, 1942

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#55 Shipyard worker at his rural home, 1942

Shipyard worker at his rural home, 1942

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#56 Shipyard worker leaving his rural home for the shipyards with his lunch box, 1942

Shipyard worker leaving his rural home for the shipyards with his lunch box, 1942

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#57 Matthew Jones House, Newport News, 1943

Matthew Jones House, Newport News, 1943

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#58 Davis & Kimpton Brickyard, West bank of Warwick River,1943

Davis & Kimpton Brickyard, West bank of Warwick River,1943

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#59 Denbigh Plantation, Spring House, Lukas Creek Road, Newport News, 1943

Denbigh Plantation, Spring House, Lukas Creek Road, Newport News, 1943

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#60 Denbigh Plantation, Milk House, Lukas Creek Road, Newport News, 1943

Denbigh Plantation, Milk House, Lukas Creek Road, Newport News, 1943

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Written by Aung Budhh

Husband + Father + librarian + Poet + Traveler + Proud Buddhist. I love you with the breath, the smiles and the tears of all my life.

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