World War II in America was a time when priorities turned to the war, and many things were re-purposed for that reason. Shops and factories created new inventory, people were given different professions, and people were relocated if necessary. This was no different in Missouri. Here are some rare photos that show what living in the state of Missouri during this time looked like.
1. Boatmen's Bank building, Saint Louis, 1941
On, December 23rd, 1941, the bits and pieces of needed war goods exhibit opened in the Boatmen’s Bank building. Parts needed by U.S. Maritime Commission were inspected at the first OPM (Office of Production Management) permanent exhibit where samples of such needed defense equipment and parts are shown to prospective producers. The goods were exhibited by forty-eight holders of large war contracts and by the Army, Navy and the U.S. Maritime Commission, with articles displayed changing as contracts and subcontracts are made.
2. Machine Shop, St. Louis, 1942
A part of the shop in a Midwestern company that converted its machines and trained labor forces from the manufacture of motors and fans to the manufacture of twenty-millimeter shell booster parts.
3. Machine Shop, St. Louis, 1942
To save time in checking threads on a twenty-millimeter shell booster, a plant superintendent built this machine, creating a speedier method of checking thread accuracy. The inventor made the machine out of fan base and a couple pieces of machine steel in a matter of hours. Months would have been necessary to buy a machine of that kind on the market.
4. Camp Crowder, 1942
Private William J. De Groot, receiving from his regimental commander, Colonel Sylvester Nortner, $364.10 in war bonds and stamps, awarded him by a Detroit auto parts manufacturer for an idea which resulted in a production speedup.
5. Chillicothe, 1942
Farmer in town.
6. Chillicothe, 1942
At the American Legion booth for collecting scrap paper.
7. Neosho, 1942
Newton County Courthouse
8. Bates County Relocation Project, 1942
Mrs. Fred Whitesell who moved with the aid of FSA (Farm Security Administration) after their land in Newton County, was bought by the Army for construction of Camp Crowder
9. Aeronautical Chart printing plant, 1944
H. Arnold Karo with Army Air Forces, who was the first chief of the plant.
10. St. Louis Union Station, 1942
The St. Louis Union Station was designed by Theodore Link in the Richardsonian Romanesque style and opened in 1894. In 1985, the station was adaptively reused into a hotel and shopping mall. It is on the National Register and is a National Historic Landmark.
11. Kennett, 1942
Dunklin County Courthouse square in 1942.
12. Dunklin County, 1942
Voting in the primary election at the county courthouse in 1942.
13. Kansas City, 1943
Freight rate men at the freight depot. The schedules on their desks list freight rates to various points in the United States.
14. Kansas City, 1943
Private branch exchange (PBX) operator at her switchboard in the freight depot.
15. Hayti, 1942
Cotton carnival, picnic in 1942.
16. Newton County, 1942
Camp Crowder area. Walter Manz was a farmer whose land was bought up by the Army for construction of Camp Crowder. He moved to town and got a job as project guard. Farmers from the area bought by the Army were given preference in employment.
17. Neosho, 1942
USO (United Service Organizations) building in Neosho.
18. Bates County relocation project, 1942
Daughter-in-law and new baby of the Green family. The Greens were hill farmers in the Ozarks when the Army bought up their land for Camp Crowder construction. With the aid of the FSA (Farm Security Administration), the family will move to a farm in Bates County.
19. Nevada, Missouri 1942
What are some of your family’s experiences during WWII? Any photos or stories you can share? Do any of these photos look familiar or do you have additional insight? Please share in the comments below.