History of San Lorenzo, California


Bibliography: Second Half of the 20th Century to Present

The most significant development in San Lorenzo's history in the second half of the 20th Century was the construction of San Lorenzo Village. The first phase of construction, begun early in World War II, was under contract to the U.S. Navy as part of a gigantic effort nationwide to build housing for the families of military servicemen as well as workers in defense industries.



  • Albrecht, Donald, ed. World War II and the American Dream: How Wartime Building Changed a Nation, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1995 (published in conjunction with an exhibit at the National Building Museum, Washington, D.C.).

    America's entry into WWII intensified the pre-war critical need for more housing and transformed American cities in three ways: the widespread application of modern community planning, the location of war industries, and internal migration. In addition, development of large tracts of housing fundamentally changed the design, construction, and sale of houses into an integrated, assembly-line enterprise that delivered affordable housing to a much larger population.

  • Hope, Andrew. "Evaluating the Historical Significance of San Lorenzo Village" (link to PDF file). CRM Journal, summer 2005.

    While alterations to individual houses are inevitable, the historical significance of San Lorenzo Village lies as much in its overall planning as in the architectural qualities of the individual buildings.

  • Johnson, Marilynn. The Second Gold Rush: Oakland and the East Bay in Word War II, University of California Press, 1993.

    The San Francisco Bay Area became one of the nation's largest shipbuilding centers to meet the demands of World War II. The shipyards and other defense industries attracted hundreds of thousands of job-seekers, still reeling from the Great Depression of the 1930s. This wartime migration, including large numbers of blacks from the South, permanently transformed the East Bay. With the end of the war, racism was a major factor complicating the urgent need to build permanent communities for war migrants, most of whom chose to stay in the East Bay.

  • Nash, Gerald. The American West Transformed: The Impact of the Second World War, Indiana University Press, 1985 (reprinted 1990 University of Nebraska Press).

  • Tract Housing in California 1945-1973: A Context for National Register Evaluation, California Department of Transportation, 2011. (Available in a 21 MB PDF file at CalTrans: Standard Environmental References.)


[Updated Nov. 23, 2017]