To cope with the influx of soldiers and their families moving to Gainesville and Cooke County to work and train at Camp Howze, the City of Gainesville needed to find a place for these families to move and they needed to do it fast. One project that was proposed as a solution was to create a “pop-up” housing project to accommodate these new citizens. This housing project was thus given the moniker of “Howzeville”.
The initial plan was to hastily build 312 housing units, both furnished and unfurnished. These 312 units consisted of 94 one-bedroom units, 127 two-bedroom units, and 60 three-bedroom units. Only 173 of 312 units were furnished. Soldiers and their families began to call Howzeville home as they moved in long before construction on the housing project came to a close. Their rent was based on the salary of the soldiers and in the case of civilian workers, their rent was deducted from their paycheck. Housing preference first went to government employees such as employees of the War Department, and secondly to non-government employees, such as those who worked within the Camp Exchange.
Howzeville boasted its own amenities as if it were a fully functioning small town or village. For example, a brand new grocery store was opened to serve The Camp Howze Howzeville’s residents. It was housed within the Howzeville community center and was given the simple name, The Camp Howze Grocery Store. Soldiers and their families were given identification cards to facilitate their shopping and purchasing at this store. The influx of residents led to the opening of Howzeville’s very own bank, a branch of the First National Bank of Dallas. Many local businesses saw a massive increase in profits due to the new residents of Howzeville and Gainesville.
Howzeville was quickly abandoned once the war was won and Camp Howze was decommissioned. Most residents did not choose to remain in Gainesville and returned to wherever they originally called home. Many of the local businesses closed the additional locations and branches they opened to serve these new residents and others saw massive decreases in their earnings. Gainesville’s population saw a massive decrease and the remaining materials from Howzeville were quickly repurposed to new projects around the North Texas area.