Out of the Past
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.