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Fascinating Historical Photos of Vancouver, WA in the 1940s

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.

#1 A view of both the old and new Clark County Courthouse, 1941

A view of both the old and new Clark County Courthouse, 1941

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#2 Vancouver substation transformers, 1940

Vancouver substation transformers, 1940

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#3 Vancouver substation construction, 1940

Vancouver substation construction, 1940

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#4 Catholic Church, Vancouver, 1945

Catholic Church, Vancouver, 1945

Three automobiles are parked on the street above image lower edge, and one is completely visible from the side.

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#5 Kaiser Company, Inc., Vancouver, 1942

Kaiser Company, Inc., Vancouver, 1942

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#6 Ship, Kaiser Shipyards, Vancouver, 1944

Ship, Kaiser Shipyards, Vancouver, 1944

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#7 Aerial view of Kaiser Shipyards at Vancouver, 1942

Aerial view of Kaiser Shipyards at Vancouver, 1942

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#8 Kaiser Company shipyards, Vancouver, 1942

Kaiser Company shipyards, Vancouver, 1942

Aerial photograph of the shipbuilding yards of the Kaiser Company, Inc., at Vancouver, WA. The Columbia River is in lower part photo. McLoughlin Heights, a public housing project constructed during WW II is in upper part of photo. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Jun 18, 1942.

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#9 Fruit Valley Homes – Vancouver, 1948

Fruit Valley Homes - Vancouver, 1948

Aerial black and white view of 1948 flooding of the Fruit Valley Homes, a housing development in Vancouver. Water covers the ground around most of the houses, and partially submerges some.

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#10 4 Miles North of Vancouver, Washington on Pacific Hiway “99”, 1940

4 Miles North of Vancouver, Washington on Pacific Hiway "99", 1940

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#11 Area B Looking NW V.H.A. Construction Area, 1942

Area B Looking NW V.H.A. Construction Area, 1942

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#12 Veterans Administration Hospital in Vancouver, 1946

Veterans Administration Hospital in Vancouver, 1946

It was built by the United States Army as a temporary hospital to serve the wounded service men of World War II. At that time it was known as Barnes Army Hospital.

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#13 The exterior of an unidentified building, 1948

The exterior of an unidentified building, 1948

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#14 Burton Homes off Burton Road and 4th Plain Boulevard, East of Andresen Road, 1944.

Burton Homes off Burton Road and 4th Plain Boulevard, East of Andresen Road, 1944.

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#15 City Hall, Vancouver, 1947

City Hall, Vancouver, 1947

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#16 4th and Esther Street, Vancouver, 1940s

4th and Esther Street, Vancouver, 1940s

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#17 A family-owned rock business, 1940s

A family-owned rock business, 1940s

Three men and one woman stand next to two horse-drawn carts and two early automobiles inside a dead-end ally bordered with clap-board sided buildings and one stone wall.

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#18 Relief of the Buckskin Brigade featured on the court house in Vancouver, 1940s

Relief of the Buckskin Brigade featured on the court house in Vancouver, 1940s

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#19 Tennis courts surrounded by cars and buildings at the Kaiser Hospital Facility in Vancouver, 1940s

Tennis courts surrounded by cars and buildings at the Kaiser Hospital Facility in Vancouver, 1940s

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#20 The residence of D.F. Schuele located at 8th and Esther Street in Vancouver. 714 Esther Street, 1940s

The residence of D.F. Schuele located at 8th and Esther Street in Vancouver. 714 Esther Street, 1940s

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#21 Men working on the demolition of a home. Vancouver Housing Authority, 1940s

Men working on the demolition of a home. Vancouver Housing Authority, 1940s

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#22 The exterior of the Elks lodge on 10th and Main Street in Vancouver, 1940s

The exterior of the Elks lodge on 10th and Main Street in Vancouver, 1940s

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#23 Eureka Store, 1946

Eureka Store, 1946

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#24 The exterior of the Faith Foundation Nursing Home in Vancouver, Washington, 1940s

The exterior of the Faith Foundation Nursing Home in Vancouver, Washington, 1940s

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#25 People inspect the damage caused by a fire at a army goods store in Vancouver, Washington, 1940

People inspect the damage caused by a fire at a army goods store in Vancouver, Washington, 1940

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#26 The aftermath of a house fire in Vancouver, 1940

The aftermath of a house fire in Vancouver, 1940

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#27 Fire truck on the streets of Vancouver, 1940

Fire truck on the streets of Vancouver, 1940

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#28 Men stand around a fire truck with a ladder parked near the train station in Vancouver, 1940

Men stand around a fire truck with a ladder parked near the train station in Vancouver, 1940

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#29 First St. Joseph’s Hospital, 1940s

First St. Joseph's Hospital, 1940s

Foundation house used as the first St. Joseph's Hospital. Moved to Academy grounds from the original site at the Barracks.

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#30 Exterior of Fisher’s Landing school, Vancouver, 1940s

Exterior of Fisher's Landing school, Vancouver, 1940s

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#31 Fort Vancouver High School, 1940s

Fort Vancouver High School, 1940s

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#32 Fort Vancouver Officer’s Row, 1948

Fort Vancouver Officer's Row, 1948

A building on Officer's Row in Fort Vancouver with trees and flowers growing around the front porch post 1948.

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#33 Fort Vancouver Officer’s Row, 1948

Fort Vancouver Officer's Row, 1948

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#34 A dog team is photographed outside of St. Matthew’s Hospital in Fairbanks, 1940s

A dog team is photographed outside of St. Matthew's Hospital in Fairbanks, 1940s

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#35 Housing in the Fruit Valley area of Vancouver, 1945

Housing in the Fruit Valley area of Vancouver, 1945

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#36 Construction is carried out on the visitor center at the Fort Vancouver National Site, 1940s

Construction is carried out on the visitor center at the Fort Vancouver National Site, 1940s

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#37 Headquarters Building, Vancouver Barracks, 1940s

Headquarters Building, Vancouver Barracks, 1940s

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#38 The Henrichsen home located on 16th Street between Broadway and Main Streets, 1940s

The Henrichsen home located on 16th Street between Broadway and Main Streets, 1940s

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#39 Homes and a Warehouse on West 10th Street, 1940s

Homes and a Warehouse on West 10th Street, 1940s

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#40 Single span of the Interstate Bridge in 1948.

Single span of the Interstate Bridge in 1948.

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#41 The General Store at the Kaiser Shipyard in Vancouver, Washington, 1948.

The General Store at the Kaiser Shipyard in Vancouver, Washington, 1948.

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#42 Exterior of Lieser Elementary School located on Lieser Road in Vancouver, 1942

Exterior of Lieser Elementary School located on Lieser Road in Vancouver, 1942

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#43 MacArthur Elementary School, 1943

MacArthur Elementary School, 1943

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#44 Male Trapeze Artists, 1947

Male Trapeze Artists, 1947

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#45 The Marine Building in Vancouver, 1942

The Marine Building in Vancouver, 1942

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#46 The Marshall House on Officer’s Row at the Vancouver, 1940s

The Marshall House on Officer's Row at the Vancouver, 1940s

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#47 The exterior of an Masonic Temple in Vancouver, 1940s

The exterior of an Masonic Temple in Vancouver, 1940s

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#48 An area of newly constructed housing in the area of McLoughlin Heights. Vancouver, 1942

An area of newly constructed housing in the area of McLoughlin Heights. Vancouver, 1942

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#49 McLoughlin Heights Commercial Center, 1942

McLoughlin Heights Commercial Center, 1942

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#50 McLoughlin Heights Interjection, 1943

McLoughlin Heights Interjection, 1943

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#51 Old Main St. Vancouver, 1948

Old Main St. Vancouver, 1948

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#52 Opening Ceremonies of the Vancouver Housing Authority, 1940s

Opening Ceremonies of the Vancouver Housing Authority, 1940s

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#53 Two women, one African-American and one Caucasian, hold protest signs outside a Vancouver Housing Authority building, 1940s

Two women, one African-American and one Caucasian, hold protest signs outside a Vancouver Housing Authority building, 1940s

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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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