The Vancouver shipyard produced 140 ships and two drydocks during World War II. The War brought a massive influx of new residents. The Vancouver Housing Authority was established to help house the thousands of people from around the country who poured into Clark County. The authority has constructed six significant housing developments: Fruit Valley, Burton Homes, Bagley Downs, Fourth Plain Village, Ogden Meadows, and McLoughlin Heights. McLoughlin Heights was the largest housing project west of the Mississippi during wartime. Douglas Elwood Caples, also Vancouver’s city attorney, served as the housing authority’s secretary. The housing authority, under Caples guidelines, did not discriminate in housing allocation, just as the federal government forbade discrimination in hiring.
Vancouver’s African American population grew from 18 in 1940 to nearly 9,000 in 1945. At the end of World War II, the housing authority acquired an $80,000 mortgage and purchased the McLoughlin Heights project, which it dismantled so that new neighborhoods could be built. McLoughlin Heights was annexed into Vancouver on New Year’s Eve, 1949. One by one, the other wartime developments were also integrated into the city.
Here are fascinating vintage photos that show Vancouver in the 1940s.