Aerial View of Vanport Ciety, c. 1942
OrHi 56002
Vanport was called "The Miracle City," and the circumstances behind its founding were quite extraordinary. Henry Kaiser was importing so many workers from the eastern United States and the South to work in his shipyards that he chartered special trains to carry them directly to the Portland area. Because there was insufficient housing available in the city, new housing had to be created in a matter of months. Kaiser's solution was to build his own city in the flood plain of the Columbia River. People began moving into Vanport on December 12, 1942, and it came to be the second largest city in Oregon, with 35,000 people, a movie theater, five schools, a library, a police station and even a college. The city was destroyed in the Flood of 1948.
Related Documents & Websites
  • Vanport Construction (Center for Columbia River History)
  • Vanport Flood & Racial Change in Portland
  • Vanport City, c. 1943
  • Kaiser & Oregon Shipyards, c. 1943
  • Nightshift Workers at Portland Shipbuilding, 1943
  • Sona Murphy Welds at Portland Shipbuilding, 1943
  • War Production
  • The Nation's Largest Wartime Housing Project
  • Women in the Work Force
  • Defense Industry Child Care
  • University Park Community Center: History of Vanport
  • Vanport Conspiracy Rumors and Social Relations in Portland, 1940-1950 (Oregon Historical Quarterly 99: 134-163)
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Wartime Portland
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Gubernatorial History in Oregon
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African American History in Oregon