Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant Virtual Museum

Local Impact of the Plant

The Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant has had a significant impact on southern Ohio. This section covers the impact the plant had during the construction phase in the 1950s.

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  Local Impact - Housing
The Waverly Place Housing Development Homes were only available to employees and personnel connected with the plant. They sold for around $11,000.
HOUSING

The Portsmouth Project would result in an influx of people into Pike County and the surrounding communities. Gordon Dean, then Chairman of the AEC, requested that the Housing and Home Finance Agency (HHFA) undertake the responsibility of assuring adequate housing for the permanent project operating personnel.

A total of 1,000 permanent residences, including apartments, duplexes and single-family homes were constructed in Pike, Jackson, Ross, and Scioto Counties under Title 9 of the Defense Housing and Community Facilities and Services Act of 1951. Title 9 provided an attractive mortgage loan insurance commitment to private builders for the construction of rental and sale houses in areas affected by the impact of federal defense installations. Construction on the housing developments in the table below began in 1953.

City Location Number Description
Portsmouth Scioto Terrace  Manor 106 Construction wall commenced October 8, 1953 and the first units were available for occupancy in March, 1954. Rentals finally emerged at $97 per month which included heat, water, range, refrigerator, central TV antenna, and janitor service.
  Forrest Heights 134 Construction got under way August 26, 1953 and the first units were available for occupancy in May, 1954. The gross rent was $88.50 per month which included range, refrigerator, washer, dryer, and grounds maintenance.
Waverly Waverly Heights 115 Construction commenced on May 6, 1953 and the first units were available for occupancy in October, 1953. Interim attempts to arouse interest in purchasing the homes were not satisfactory and ultimately resulted in the conversion of approximately 95 of the houses to rentals. The remainder were sold. No appliances were furnished and the rent remained constant at $75 per month.
  Waverly Estates 115 Construction commenced on June 16, 1953 and the first units were available for occupancy in the fall of 1953. All of the houses were completed as three bedroom units. Rent remained at $85 per month with appliances optional at a charge of $3 per month for a refrigerator and range combination or a washer-dryer combination.
  Waverly Place 75 Construction got under way October 13, 1953. The builder ran into considerable trouble getting utilities into his project. By the end of December, 1954, when Title 9 houses in Waverly were decontrolled, they were not available for occupancy. It is understood that they were finally put on the market around March, 1955. They remained in a sale category at a price of $10,500.
Jackson Jackson Heights 145 Construction commenced on June 16, 1953 and the first units were available for occupancy in March, 1954. No appliances were furnished and rent remained constant at $75 per month and $85 per month.
  Town & Country Homes 10 Two houses were completed and sold. The FHA commitment on the remaining eight was cancelled and these houses were transferred to Waverly Heights and completed along with the initial project.
Chillicothe Western Hills 160 Construction commenced May 26, 1953 with the first units available for occupancy in September, 1953. Gross rent was $87.50 per month, which included water, range, refrigerator, and washer and dryer.
  Chillicothe Manor 140 The builder had considerable difficulty with the City of Chillicothe in regards to utilities. Eventually, arrangements were consummated for the construction of a sewage disposal and water system by the project developer. All of the houses were completed as three bedroom units and construction got under way February 16, 1954.


  Local Impact - Housing
 
A Completed Housing Project
   
In addition to the housing programmed under Title 9 for direct assignment by the Atomic Energy Commission, several major housing projects were initiated by private developers under Title 2 of the Housing Act. Complete information is not available on all housing provided in the area under Title 2.

Title 2 housing included the following private projects in Waverly, Ohio:

  1. Bristol Homes, located just north of Waverly on State Route 335. This project provided 325 rental homes, with rent reportedly starting at $95.00 per month including the use of four major appliances. Construction of this project by the Chipley Realty Company began in May, 1954.
  2. Waverly Estates (Title 2 Project), located adjoining the Title 9 Project. This project provided 240 rental houses. Construction began in May, 1954.
  3. Chipley Realty Company development at Waverly Estates. This project provided 90 Title 2 single family rental units. Construction began in January, 1954.
During this period, the Public Housing Administration (PHA) began to develop temporary housing communities with hundreds of homes and trailers. The sites selected for these communities were on Route 220 south of Waverly and on Route 124, about one mile east of Piketon. PHA was authorized to acquire 80 acres on State Route 220, just south and east of Waverly, to accommodate 250 temporary houses around January 20, 1953. Shortly thereafter, 120 acres of land were acquired on the north side of State Route 124 approximately one mile east of Piketon, to accommodate 150 temporary houses and 350 rental trailers.

Rent for temporary homes cost $56.75, and four and six-sleeper trailer units cost between $44 and $48. Privately owned trailer lots in the four-county area accommodated an estimated 3,700 privately owned trailers at the peak of construction.



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