Looking back: Trailerville

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Courtesy of EWU Archives, SPC 007-0583-11-14-01

By Dylan Harris, Copy Editor

Walkways made of neatly-laid bricks. Impressive buildings, old and new, surrounded by grass as green as the many trees above. A library so visually appealing that students actually want to go study. OK, maybe not.

Still, it’s hard for today’s students to look around and imagine 75 aluminum trailers positioned right in the heart of campus. But from 1946 to 1957, a community referred to as Trailerville was a staple of Eastern Washington College of Education, now known as EWU.

Trailerville was EWCE President Walter Isle’s solution to a housing shortage for men and married couples following the end of World War II. Enrollment numbers skyrocketed after the war, primarily due to the abundance of servicemen who had returned home. There was only one men’s dormitory, meaning there was a desperate need for more housing.

President Isle obtained 75 trailers to use as extra housing for hundreds of military veterans and their families. The school provided water, lights and heat. Rent for one of those trailers was $15 a month. Though part of the EWCE community, Trailerville had become a community in and of itself.

Trailerville was shut down in 1957. EWCE needed the space for new buildings. Trailerville, a housing option unlike any other at EWU, provided a home for many men who risked it all for the sake of their country.

*All historical information was gathered from the EWU Archives and Special Collections website and resources created by Charles Mutschler, PhD, EWU Archivist.