Remembering the GI Bulge:
Temporary Housing/Temporary Classrooms

Temporary Classrooms

The "GI Bulge" brought the need for more housing and classrooms. Classroom buildings sprouted behind Crouse College and at other locations around the main campus. This photo shows temporary classrooms behind Crouse College. Others were constructed near Carnegie Library, Bowne Hall, Sims Hall, Slocum Hall and Machinery Hall.

Temporary classrooms

A series of pre-fab metal classroom buildings were shipped in from a California military base after World War II.


  This photograph of the interior (circa 1953) shows the cramped quarters students and faculty shared. An interesting sidelight given today's classroom environment is that smoking was allowed in these metal classrooms.

Thompson Road

In 1948 a new Engineering and research campus was opened on Thompson Road necessitating the bussing of students.


Temporary Housing

Temporary housing peppered the landscape from the site of present-day Manley Fieldhouse to Drumlins. Housing was secured wherever it could be found, and when it couldn't be found it was created from scratch!

Syracuse University Magazine, February 1987, painted a clear picture of the housing situation on campus after World War II. It listed the following quarters for veterans and their families:

  • 175 trailers for married students in an apple orchard at Drumlins

  • 600 military-style housing units ranging from wooden two-family houses to one-story barracks holding 2 to 12 families at the University Farm along East Colvin St., now known as Skytop or Slocum Heights

  • 22 Barracks at Collendale on the north side of Colvin near Lancaster holding 532 students

  • 200 metal buildings rebuilt to house single students and a 500-foot dining hall that could feed 1,000 students at a time sprouted where Manley Field House now sits

  • metal houses for 100 men on the hill on South Crouse Avenue and Irving Avenue

  • 100 metal buildings on campus were converted into 40 classrooms and 20 laboratories, as well as offices and studios

In addition, until the new housing was ready on campus, students lived all over the Greater Syracuse area, including:

  • New York State Fairgrounds
  • Baldwinsville Ordinance Works
  • Army Air Base at Mattydale

Busses transported students to the distant living quarters. The buses, painted blue and orange, were quickly named "Blue Beetles."

Trailer Park at Drumlins

Trailer Park at Drumlins

The trailer park at Drumlins was a village of 175 trailers for married students in a former apple orchard across the street from the present Tecumseh Elementary School.


At Drumlins veterans could shop at the Veterans' Co-op Food Store. Veterans' Co-op Food Store

The clerk in this photo, Frances Marvin, and the customer, Charlotte Gates, were both wives of veteran students at SU. The Archives now has color photographs of the Drumlins Trailer Park. They are a gift from Wesley Peterson, '50.

The Quonseteria

Arguably the most prominent temporary structure was the Quonseteria, a dining hall on Comstock near the corner of Colvin, which was erected in 1947. The name for the structure was coined by Andrew Cisternino of Syracuse who garnered a $10 prize in the competition. The building later became a Food Service bake shop and store room, the Microbiology and Biochemistry Center, and in its waning years was the home of the SU wrestling team. It lasted until the 1980s.