December 20, 1952: Kerosene Flats Housing Area Replaced with Newer Units

  • Published
  • Air Force Flight Test Center

The first duplex residences in Housing Area “C” were completed and assigned to base personnel. As personnel vacated “Kerosene Flats,” the WWII temporary housing constructed at the old town of Muroc, the now-substandard living quarters were demolished. The older facility, constructed in 1943, had consisted of 150 apartments and three dormitories.

Back to the mid 1940s when living on Edwards Air Force Base by no means met today’s expectations! Temporary wartime housing was nicknamed Kerosene Flats due to the strong odor of kerosene used for heating and cooking. Families also endured extreme desert heat, blowing sand, and even free-range cattle that, every now and then, would poke their horns through a wall! Life in Kerosene Flats also came with access to nearby facilities such as a chapel, bowling center, library and service club. Kerosene Flats was demolished in the mid 1950s. 

Prior to the Military Housing Privatization Initiative that took place in Fiscal Year 1996, several privatization efforts were undertaken by the DoD – Wherry and Capehart acts in the late 1940s through to the 1950s – to provide family housing for our military members. Following World War II, military service members faced severe family housing shortages with several factors contributing to this shortage: increased number of personnel required to maintain the post-World War II permanent US military establishment; number of families increased due to higher ranks of enlisted personnel allowed to serve accompanied by families; and, personnel serving in the Air Force supported increasingly sophisticated weapon systems. In 1949, the Air Force inventory contained 17,954 family housing units with 6,397 deemed substandard; in comparison, Air Force estimated that 121,000 family housing units were required to house its personnel. 


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