Federal Circle

Title

Federal Circle

Subject

[no text]

Description

Federal Circle, along with Commonwealth Circle, was an area developed at the university directly after the Second World War to accommodate veteran students and their families. It was located along Lincoln Avenue, on the site of the former R.O.T.C. cavalry field. Federal Circle was comprised of five houses: Berkshire, Hampshire, Middlesex, Plymouth and Suffolk, which were named after counties in Massachusetts. The images show the exterior and interior of Hampshire House, and of Suffolk House as it was being constructed.

In 1944, the G.I. Bill was passed for returning World War II veterans that provided a variety of benefits, including money for college tuition. By the end of 1945 the university’s fraternity houses were completely full as were the dormitories, and additional facilities were needed to house returning veterans and their families the following term. The enrollment during this time was approximately 1,000 students and 220 soldiers. The university expected an enrollment of 2,000 students in the fall of 1946, and needed additional housing for 800 students. The plan was to rapidly build eight dormitory and apartment buildings which would house 50 married and 224 single veterans for a cost of $400,000. The buildings in Federal Circle were constructed with plain concrete and brick, and in general lacked historic style and architectural details because the immediate need for housing took precedent over aesthetic value. Although they were hastily built, these buildings were stolid and not meant for temporary housing as Commonwealth Circle was.

Before completion, there were several nicknames given to the plain concrete buildings such as “Shackville,” “Pneumonia Row,” and “the Chicken Coops,” but an article from 1946 described the new students as being delighted by the housing. The apartments were fully furnished and provided bedding, towels, and other necessities. Don Cadigan ’39 was in charge of Veteran Housing on campus and saw to it that the size of the veteran’s family was taken into consideration when given assignments, as the apartments ranged in size.

Almost two decades later, the problem of housing again emerged at the university. The baby boomers that were born after World War II were about to enter college and housing was needed to meet this new wave of students. Plans were put in place for a much bigger and more permanent cluster of housing, known today as Southwest. Plymouth and Suffolk houses were demolished to make room for the new construction on campus, and Federal Circle itself vanished from memory as the remaining buildings receded into the background, overlooked by thousands of students on their way to class.

Creator

[no text]

Source

UMass Special Collections and University Archives

Publisher

[no text]

Date

[no text]

Contributor

[no text]

Rights

[no text]

Relation

[no text]

Format

[no text]

Language

[no text]

Type

[no text]

Identifier

RG150-0003310, RG150-0004511, RG150-0005537, RG150-0005538

Coverage

[no text]

Original Format

[no text]

Physical Dimensions

[no text]

Files

RG150-0003310.png
RG150-0004511.png
RG150-0005537.png
RG150-0005538.png
Date Added
November 17, 2012
Collection
Southwest Campus & Commonwealth Avenue
Item Type
Still Image
Citation
“Federal Circle
,” Lost UMass, accessed November 24, 2017, http://lostumass.omeka.net/items/show/62.