Resident's view of life in Hanford's trailer camp

May 9, 2012 

Life in the Hanford trailer camp in North Richland wasn't a bed of roses, but some took it in stride, while others just scraped by. Some of the children apparently made their own fun. This letter to the editor gives one family's opinion.

Published in the Tri-City Herald on May 16, 1955
Dear editor:

I read the article in your paper about the gripers in North Richland and it made me sore to think there are so many people in this world who think the government of G.E. or AEC owes them a living.

Everyone knew that when North Richland was planned it was only temporary for this construction because we did when we moved into the camp. Now that the construction is ended they expect G.E. and AEC to build another North Richland camp or have them make someone else invest $100,000 or more to build a camp to suit them.

In the next camp there will be laws which they will have to obey or out they go, and that will be where the shoe will pinch, because there were some who obeyed no laws set down by G.E. or AEC or the commonwealth.

There were play grounds, but did the children play there? No. They played in the bath houses. Broke the stools with big boulders, unrolled toilet tissue (which was free) threw it on the floor or threw the whole roll in the stool, also put boulders in the stool and sand in wash basins and broke open money boxes on the washing machines.

G.E. furnished washers, but in our block and other blocks, people bought washing machines. At one time there were 22 washers in the laundry. You couldn't get to use the G.E. washers because so many were in the way. Some of those who owned washers were using up space, even ran the Bendix empty so they could put rugs in to dye before someone else got it.

We were notified to move out in four days and did we gripe? No, we got a place and moved. And, we do certainly appreciate the nice way we were treated while we were in the camp by G.E. and AEC and the Commonwealth to worry any more about us getting trailer space. It is up to us to take care of ourselves. They were really good to everybody. Even in houses, we got cheap rent.

I don't say everybody, but a few still want G.E. to build another North Richland or see that some one else does. So they (think) will have a canopy over their trailers, sheds on the side, houses or utility boxes as large as a cabin and still do as they please.

If a corporation or a group should build a trailer camp and invest $100,000, they are going to have laws and you can bet your bottom dollar they will be obeyed or out the trailerites will go. Also, they will expect to make a little profit on a large investment, so the renters will pay more than $4.90 a week with everything furnished -- that's for sure. And there will be no big canopies, no big boxes nor sheds on the side of trailers. Utility boxes will all be of one size, which is as it should be to make an attractive and beautiful camp.

I hope if a new camp is built it will be for any one who likes Richland and wants to live in it can. When we retire next year we should love to live in the camp and make it our permanent home. I have lived in Hanford Barracks, in North Richland barracks and in the trailer camp since 1943. So you can see why I love Richland. I hate to hear people gripe about G.E. and AEC all the time. We all never had it so good!

I'm signing this letter, but please withhold my name.

Mrs. Kennewick.

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