The Campus Court Apartments, better known as “Tin City,” were living quarters made for veteran families by the University of Evansville in 1946. While there are no written records about the lives of the women and children who made Tin City their home, it is still possible to learn about how they lived. We can step through time and get a glimpse of what life was like for the women and children by using artifacts that were found while excavating the site and interviews with the former occupants. We can explore the history that lies beneath the ground on the Evansville campus.
Tin City wasn’t the most spectacular place to live, but it was a blessing for the families that did get to live there because it wasn’t very expensive. The apartment was made up of a living room, bathroom, and two bedrooms. The floor was made of concrete, and there was only one gas heater that was used to heat the entire apartment. Thus, it was very hot in the summer and very cold in the winter. Most families had to provide their own furniture, some examples including a fridge, couch, washer, table, etc. The women who lived there thought that the apartments were a very nice place to stay and raise a family, especially after decorating the apartments and making them really feel like a home.
Most of the veterans who occupied the apartments came with wives and families of around 2-4 children, with some women even having more children while living at the apartments. Because of this, most of the children staying in Tin City were very young. The front lawn was the center of socialization for these children. They played together constantly, participating in all forms of activities from building houses in the fields to finding places to dig to riding bikes around the campus.
The tin roofs of the apartments--the reason it received its nickname--are memorable to most of children because of the sound that was made during a rainstorm when they were trying to nap. In short, the communal and social atmosphere of the apartments provided the children of Tin City with a wonderful way grow up, as they were never lacking in playmates.
Image 1: Tin City kids, April 1952.
Image 2: Child Debbie Bachman with her mother.
Bachman. Personal interview by Muriel Anderson.
Beatty, M., & Beatty, M. (June 15, 2004). Personal interview by Lisa Landis and Micki Blue.
Kaiser, A (2005) "Rediscovering Tin City." UE Magazine Winter. 4-5
Lobeck Brass, K. (June 14, 2004). Personal interview by Lisa Landis.
Wambach, J. Personal interview.