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Feldman, Jim (Writer) / The buildings of the University of Wisconsin

Trailer parks,   p. 248

Page 248

Fig. 1. The first 91 trailers of the
Randall Trailer Camp, 1945. The
......Monroe Park would later be out of
the picture to the left. Permanent
buildings in the picture the
mechanical engineering building, top
P,                        left, and the state highway laboratory
center right. [Series 26/1, Randall
Trailer Park, x25-1910]
"W lWill AdmitAll Students I t Can Housen". The headline demonstrates the depths o fthe
housing shortage inMadison during the postwar enrollment surge that tripledthe enrollment
o$5 f the University between the spring of 1944 and the fall of 1946. The University's first
response to the overload of returning veterans was the Randall Park Trailer Camp. Later responses
mcluded trailer parks, overnight cabins, houseboats, and permanent housing. Randall Park was the
first "vetsville" on a college campus in the country, and drew national media attention. The State
Emergency Board approved $40,000 to erect the camp on April 11, 1945.
The trailer park was erected in August of 1945, with the installation of 64 standard, 27 "expan-
sive" trailers, four toilet units, and two laundry units. The Randall trailers were leased by the Univer-
sity from the Federal Public Housing Authority for $1 per month. The University set rates of $25 and
$32.50 per month for small and larger trailers respectively in the non-profit camp. These rents paid for
installation and upkeep only. Each trailer had sleeping for four, and a hot plate for cooking. The trailer
camp was restricted to married veterans and their families, 75 per cent of whom had children. The
fact that the trailers did not have running water did not detract from their attractiveness as temporary
housing and as long as temporary housing existed at the University the Randall Park trailers were the
most popul ar  al     rk opened fl in September 1945. In January and February 1946, an addi-
tional 113 trailers were erected to the south of the first camp. This group was called the Monroe
Trailer Camp, and used the old womens field house as a community building. I
When construction of the east wing of engineering was approved in April 195 1, the Randall
trailers had to go. Residents were given priority in the Monroe park, which lasted until 1955. The
trailers were discarded, having deteriorated under heavy use and a low maintenance budget.2
1) Daily Cardinal, May 3, 1946, September 25, 1945; Wisconsin Alumni Magazine, October 1945, November 1946,
December 20, 1945; A History of Housing at the University of Wisconsin, Teicher and Jenkins, p. 48-49; Wisconsin
Magazine of History, Winter 1969-1970 p. 83. Regent's Minutes, August 15, 1946.
2) Regent's Minutes, April 15, 1950, January 10, 1953; Wisconsin Alumni Magazine, March 1953, p. 11.

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