Springfield Housing Project – Royal Barry Wills, Jan 28, 1942

springfield defense housing project 1942During World War II, there were serious material shortage — rationing — and little home construction. Except for: Defense housing — housing for employees working in the defense industry. My main man Royal Barry Wills — the most influential residential architect of the 20th century, whom most Americans have never heard of — designed one such housing project — in Springfield, Mass., in 1942.  I recently scored some press materials.

Materials include these these credits:

Defense Housing Project
Springfield, Mass., 19023
Royal Barry Wills, Architect, Boston, Mass.
Hayden, Harding & Buchanan, Engineers. — Hallam L. Movius, Landscape Architect

And the news release says:

Royal Barry Wills


On January 27, 1942, bids are to be received on the new Defense Housing Job of 300 dwelling units to be located on St. James Avenue, Hobart and Carew Streets, Springfield, Massachusetts, according to Royal Barry Wills, of Boston, the Architect of this Project.

There are 90 buildings, 30 of 1-story and 60 of 2-story design. The 10story houses accommodate two families and the 2-story houses accommodate four. All of the buildings are part brick — some with brick ends and some with brick fronts. This combination of brick and wood construction gives an interesting architectural treatment.

This particular Project will be well landscaped and surrounded by pleasant lawns and play areas, with a Playing Field at the end of the Project, and an Administration Building for community functions. Smaller children will have a Play Yard and a Play Pool, where they may enjoy supervised play.

The interiors of the dwelling units are all arranged with the latest equipment, using electric refrigerators, gas ranges and oil head. The dwellings all have living-room, kitchen and bath, and one, two or three bedrooms.

January 22, 1942

I got excited,  so I sent a note to my contacts at Royal Barry Wills Associates, Inc., which is still rockin’ the architectural design, in Boston, Mass. I heard back from Richard, Royal’s son, who runs the firm. He said:

Hi Pam:
Great find on the Springfield Housing project.
That’s about all Dad had going during that time plus
A few apartment renovations
That is when he wrote some of his books.

Best:  Richard

I love learning more about Royal Barry Wills!

  1. Walt says:

    Would love to know more about this project and others that Royal Mary Wills participated. I owned one of his houses in Nantucket.

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