Auditorium Village, Oakland History Room via 1
Photo taken by William A High. director of audio-visual education at Oakland Unified School District. 3

Auditorium Village Housing Project was a temporary housing project built by the federal government during WWII to house some of the many workers who came to the Bay Area. It was on the land where Laney College now sits, behind the Kaiser Auditorium. It was in use from c.1943 to at least 1957, though some of structures were around until 1962.

It had its own school, Auditorium Village School, in temporary buildings, of course. The project housed as many as 436 families at a time, though by 1957 the number was down to 320. 4 It appears to have had at least one church, Auditorium Village Community Church, led by Rev. Spurgeon J. Mayfield5 The chapel was taken and converted into a tool shed in 1957 8, and the church met in the community center.

It was generally not a great place to live since it was built to be temporary, and supplies were short during and after the war. 6 Streets included Auditorium Circle, Victory Court, and Defense Court. Mostly addresses were referred to by building number and apartment, e.g., Apt. 30A, Building 11C.

Part of the project was demolished in 1962 to build Frank Youell Field. Using a surplus WWII Sherman tank, no less. 2, 7

Links and References

  1. Laney College Archives
  2. The Rise and Fall of Frank Youell Field Oakland Tribune December 12, 1965
  3. South of Lake Merritt - aerial view on calisphere
  4. Village School Closing for Good Oakland Tribune June 9, 1957
  5. Free Chest X-rays Offered for Residents of Two Areas Oakland Tribune August 7, 1955
  6. Housing Chief Probes Village Dwellers' Demands Oakland Tribune July 24, 1946
  7. Raider Field Work Ahead of Schedule Oakland Tribune December 12, 1961
  8. Friends Plan Dinner for Pastor Oakland Tribune February 6, 1963