Remembering Washington Courts
An undated document from the Utica Municipal Housing Authority states:
"Utica prides itself upon having completed the first State-aided housing project outside of the metropolitan area, Washington Courts. This project houses 146 families. The project was constructed in 1944 as a war defense housing development, but in 1948 was turned into a low income unit. No appreciable tenant turnover is noted at the project and a long waiting list is maintained" (Municipal Housing Authority of the City of Utica, New York, document apparently dated between July, 1949 and June of 1950, Oneida County Historical Society Archives.)
During the Depression and WWII, few homes were built in Utica. That, together with the influx of workers for new munitions plants and return of soldiers from overseas caused a housing shortage. The Municipal Housing Authority cleared sub-standard housing on Whitesboro Street between Seneca and Hoyt Streets to build Washington Courts.
Tenants began to move in right after construction was completed. There were no sidewalks. People came from different parts of the city, and men who were commuting from outside of the city were able to move their families to Utica. Washington Courts soon became home.