Evansville: The World War II Years
World War II changed the face of Evansville, Indiana. In December 1941, the city was still recovering from the Great Depression, yet within three months, a series of blockbuster
announcements transformed the region. Several corporations received major defense contracts to manufacture parts and ammunitions, while two new installations were launched: a shipyard to construct Landing Ship Tanks and a factory to manufacture P-47 airplanes. Industrial employment rose dramatically, producing social, economic, and racial tensions as thousands of newcomers poured into a city that lacked adequate housing and public
facilities. The citizens of Evansville persevered, and most workers stayed following the end of the war. One federal official commented that the city--not just its many defense plants--deserved the coveted Army-Navy "E" (for excellence) award.
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African Americans ammunition April arguably Armory Army Army-Navy Author's Collection award basketball Briggs Indiana Bucyrus-Erie Burdette Park Camp Breckinridge ceremony christening Chrysler Chrysler Plant city's construction Courier and Press crew defense plants downtown effort EMAHS employed employees Evansville Ordnance Evansville Shipyard Evansville's facilities factory far-east side February 14 fighter gas absorption refrigerators gasoline George Koch Henry Schricker housing project Invader Johnson and Company Lincoln High School located Main Street March 24 Mead Johnson Mesker Steel National Navy newcomers October 25 Ohio P-47 Thunderbolt Park peak percent photograph was taken photographed on March picnic produced racial Red Cross Canteen Republic Aviation segregated Servel servicemen Shane Manufacturing Sherman tanks ship shipyard on March shipyard photographs shipyard were photographed shown subcontracting Sunbeam Electric Manufacturing Sunday Courier Sycamore Streets taken on March thown trucks unidentified United for Victory Vanderburgh County wartime welders women workers