Today the Veterans Administration’s Southern Oregon Rehabilitation Center & Clinics occupies the former Camp White facility in present-day White City, Oregon. It was built in 1942 as a training facility for the U.S. Army’s 91st Infantry, and approximately 40,000 men and women trained at Camp White during World War II.
Only a fraction of the original buildings remain at what would become the V.A. Domiciliary after the war. In April 1946, the United States government put Camp White on permanent inactive status. The following month, it was placed on the surplus list by the War Department.
Shortly thereafter, the Government’s War Assets Administration declared that the surplus buildings, including the storehouse, barracks, mess halls, chapels and the post office, were to be put on the auction block. Additionally, the government decided to auction off the electrical, plumbing, heating, refrigeration systems, stoves, office furniture and even the doors and windows. Many of these items were in short supply following the war.
People came from all over the Pacific Northwest to bid on the surplus items. At one particular auction, the buildings were said to have been sold at a rate of one per minute. In all a total of 1,185 buildings were sold.
It has been said the Rogue Valley took on a rather “olive” look as the buildings found new homes throughout the valley.
Source: Medford Mail Tribune, May 8, 1947, July 27, 1947, p. 1, July 31, 1949 p. 1.
— As It Was is a co-production of Jefferson Public Radio and the Southern Oregon Historical Society. As It Was stories are broadcast weekdays on Jefferson Public Radio and are available online at asitwas.org.