Editor's note: This is the 51st in a series of articles recalling vanished Huntington landmarks.
HUNTINGTON With the end of World War II in 1945, enrollment at Marshall College exploded as returning veterans flocked to the campus, using their education benefits under the federal GI Bill.
Members of the faculty found the returning veterans to be far more mature and studious than pre-war Marshall students. Little interested in the frills of campus life, they were intent on earning their degrees as quickly as possible and getting on with their lives. Many graduated in three years, more than justifying the government's investment in their education.
But the surge in post-war enrollment created a tremendous student housing shortage, made even more critical by the fact that many of the returning vets were married, meaning they had to find housing not just for themselves but also for their families. One result was that numerous campus area garages and other structures were turned into makeshift rental apartments. But that still left hundreds of vets without housing.
Marshall appealed to the federal government for help, and the Federal Housing Administration responded by sending war surplus pre-fabricated military housing that was erected on Donald Court in the city's Enslow Park neighborhood.
The government also sent Marshall dozens of house trailers for use as student housing. Set up on the intramural field adjacent to the Lab School at the eastern end of the campus, the trailer complex was dubbed Green Village. The name was a great deal prettier than the ugly-looking trailers themselves. Like the Donald Court units, the trailers were military surplus.
The enrollment boom also left Marshall woefully short of classrooms. Again, Uncle Sam stepped in to help. A former U.S. Navy barracks in Norfolk, Va., was dismantled, shipped to Huntington and reassembled next to Old Main. When it was erected in 1947, the former barracks officially known as Old Main Annex was described as a "temporary" structure. In fact, it would be used for classes for the next 20 years, until the construction of Smith Hall in 1967.
To read more articles from this series, go to www.herald-dispatch.com. Click on "News," then "Lost Huntington" series.