Out of the Past

Newark Post - - LOCAL NEWS -

Novem­ber-De­cem­ber 1941: Coun­cil could see world un­rest reach­ing Amer­ica. In Novem­ber, salaries of es­sen­tial per­son­nel were raised for the “du­ra­tion of the na­tional emer­gency.”

The De­fense Hous­ing Ad­min­is­tra­tion (a fed­eral en­tity) wanted to build a large num­ber of low-cost hous­ing units in Ne­wark. Coun­cil re­sponded with a res­o­lu­tion against the plan, say­ing cur­rent wa­ter, sewer and school ca­pac­i­ties were barely able to meet cur­rent needs.

Fed­eral of­fi­cials, adamant about build­ing hous­ing in Ne­wark, looked at the area of Cor­bit Street and New Lon­don Road, but coun­cil and res­i­dents were unan­i­mously op­posed. Af­ter much dis­cus­sion, the of­fi­cials told coun­cil to select a site and mail their se­lec­tion to Wash­ing­ton, D.C., for ap­proval.

Ne­wark lost the fight, and Ge­orge Read Vil­lage was built within in a year or so to house war work­ers, par­tic­u­larly those work­ing in mu­ni­tions plant in Elkton, Md.

Ini­tially, work­ers at Con­ti­nen­tal-Di­a­mond Fi­bre and Na­tional Vul­can­ized Fi­bre in Ne­wark were ex­cluded from rent­ing those houses, as they were not con­sid­ered “es­sen­tial war work­ers” at the time. Writ­ten protests to Delaware’s sen­a­tors in Wash­ing­ton, D.C., got a few units re­leased for lo­cal work­ers. The two plants quickly be­came man­u­fac­tur­ers of many es­sen­tial prod­ucts for the war ef­forts and ran 24 hours a day un­til war’s end.

In other city busi­ness, the garbage col­lec­tor’s pay was raised to $125 per month. The Sol­diers’ Christ­mas Fund got a $25 do­na­tion from coun­cil. A cit­i­zen’s com­plaint was filed against a po­lice of­fi­cer, and Chief Cun­ning­ham was or­dered to in­ves­ti­gate.

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