Alexander Park, Portsmouth, VA WWII Housing Project


Alexander Park

Alexander Park was war housing developed by the Federal Public Housing Authority in 1942.

The pre-fabricated units were thrown up as a temporary solution to an unprecedented influx of wartime shipyard workers in the early 1940s. They were meant to be taken down.
 After the war, area officials worried about whether the housing units would fall into the hands of a private owner and whether prime land could become a slum. 

 But, in 1956, millionaire philanthropist Fred Beazley purchased the sprawling housing park with a two-pronged plan to help the community. He wanted to offer lower-income families affordable housing and use the rent revenue to fund charitable ventures from youth centers to a military academy.

(The Virginian Pilot dated Sept. 7, 2000)

June 30, 2002 was the deadline for all residents to evacuate the 50 year old housing that was originally meant to be temporary. The units were torn down soon after.


Jim and Tim Houde obtained the following information in March 2005 from the Portsmouth Public Library. 

It is identified as the Housing Plan for Alexander Park . Included in this document is the lease offered
to all tenants along with very detailed rules and regulations. Also, you can read the "Discussion of the engineering problems encountered in designing and constructing the municipal improvements for an 8400-dwelling unit project.

"The original program contemplated a total of 16,700 dwelling units distributed as follows: Newport News, 5200; Norfolk, 6500: and Portsmouth. 5000. Subsequently, this program was revised, and at present there are 3400 dwelling units under construction in Norfolk and vicinity and 5000 in the vicinity of Portsmouth. This article will be confined to the work being done in Norfolk and Portsmouth."

Thank you Jim and Tim  for allowing us to use your work.

Original Alexander Park lease transcribed can be seen at this link.

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