Off Beat: Vancouver homes headed off to college after WWII

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Most of the Clark College students who start classes today get to live at home while attending college; so do most of the Washington State University Vancouver students who started classes a month ago.

Of course, lots of local students left town when they went to college.

At one point in the histories of both Clark and WSU, however, there were Vancouver homes that left town and went to college. It's a wrinkle that popped up while writing about a World War II Army chapel.

The chapel was part of what once was Camp Hatheway, based right about where Clark College built its current campus in the 1950s.

The Army camp was part of the industrial, military and residential development that ballooned here during WWII.

Things deflated at war's end and Vancouver shifted into peacetime mode. Clark College reopened in 1946 after a two-year hiatus.

Clark borrowed space from Vancouver High School while officials identified a temporary campus at the wartime Ogden Meadows housing development.

The Ogden Meadows site near Fourth Plain and Stapleton roads included 2,000 residential units and other buildings.

Clark used a few buildings, but most were cleared away. Some Clark grads who continued their educations at Washington State might have started their baby boom families in Pullman in those units.

''Many of the apartment buildings were being cut into sections, trundled over the hill, loaded onto barges and towed upriver, according to "A History of Vancouver Public Schools."

They were "reassembled at Washington State College and elsewhere as married student housing."

— Tom Vogt

Off Beat lets members of The Columbian news team step back from our newspaper beats to write the story behind the story, fill in the story or just tell a story.