Thursday, November 13, 2008

"Little Kentucky"

We've looked at Fairborn and we've looked at wartime jerry-building, so let's put the to twogether by taking a closer look at one of the wartime "problem housing areas" that is now part of Fairborn.

Wright View is the official name, but it's probably better known as Little Kentucky. This rather large subdivision (and a smaller plat near Five Points) is of uncertain age. Perhaps it was subdivided during the 1920s, or maybe it was platted in repsonse to wartime demand.

In any case this became one of Dayton's suburban slums, building out in to house the wartime population boom.

The pix in the previous post are from unspecified locations surrounding Dayton. Little Kentucky is much better documented as it was the subject of postwar military planning.

The lurid conditions in Little Kentucky were photographed and labled, documenting the consequences of the housing shortage as a justification for land aquisition and new military housing projects.

The plat was not completely built out, but was a mix of various types of housing on fairly large lots. No water. No sewers. No paved streets (everything was gravel or dirt).
The captions are self-explanatory.

Believe it or not Wright View was incoporated as a village, so had "local government" for awhile. This was unsatisfactory to the residents, who voted to de-incoporate. Perhaps one of the rare examples of a suburb giving up munciple government (maybe Centerville should do this?)
Backing off a bit, one can see Skyway just to the west, or to the left. The plat cut into a little woodlot to the right, which is the site of a small trailer park. You can mouse over the pic and click to enlarge, to see some representative housing.

Wright View was eventually incorporated into Fairborn. The streets were paved, utiltiies put in, and the worst housing demolished. As in the other wartime suburban slums conditions have greatly improved, with houses and grounds upgraded and better maintained than during the war.

But since this was pretty much either self-built or one-off construction there is a wide variety of houses. One won't find the uniform rows of crackerboxes of early postwar suburbia.

This house is a good example. Cinderblock, but with the side-lites of glass block around the front door. This must have been somewhat popular as you can find the same detail in parts of Kettering built around the same time.

A quick view of the trailer park up in the woods. This is one of the more hilly parts of Wright View.

Finally, old and new. There was ongoing upgrades and infill housing during the postwar era, so a mix of housing in both age and style in this area, as in this pix, with the postwar ranch in the background.

It should be noted that owner-building predated the war in some parts of the city. Examples would have been Tin Town and Benns' Plat in West Dayton, and prehaps Ridgewood Heights.


The Urbanophile said...

Amazing stuff. I love this series you are running.

Anonymous said...

Your Centerville comment's funny but true. I wonder what Centerville city council people who were in favor of the merger with Washington Township would say about achieving the merger by deincorporating Centerville back into Washington Township.

Jefferey said...

Thanks, Aaron.

One of the points about my blogging on all this is to show there is a lot of variety to suburbia, and some history to the place, if one looks close enough.

The intention is to look a bit beyond the stereotype of suburbia.