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Austin Treasures: Online Exhibits from the Austin History Center Austin Treasures Home Austin History Center Home

graphic: Uncle Sam Red Points and Ration Cards: Life in Austin during World War II graphic: Let's go USA
Exhibit Overview
Home Away From Home Doing Our Part
For the Duration
Military Installations
Photograph of U.S. Service men leaving Bowen Bus Station
Home Away From Home
Serving Our Country
Elnora Douglass
Victory at Long Last
The Bowen Bus Station, at 708 Brazos, and the Kerrville Bus Company, at 118 E. 10th, were the chief means of transportation for the majority of soldiers who came to Austin for their weekend entertainment.
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"Transportation into Austin on weekends was a major problem. The problem was caused by such a great number of soldiers being turned loose on Saturdays at the same time….It was also aggravated by the fact that tire rationing was so strict that the arrival of many buses was delayed because of flats. As many as 20,000 to 22,000 soldiers would make the trip to Austin on these weekends….Theoretically, each bus was placed about a mile apart, but it did not work out that way, because these troops were turned out all at once. Consequently, the lineup at the bus station was often more than a quarter of a mile long."
History of Camp Swift, 1962
Photograph of group of men and women at a U.S.O. social event As a part of the City War Recreation Program, the Servicemen's Information Center in the Driskill Hotel served as a clearing house for recreation projects offered by local service agencies and religious institutions. The USO club, located at 111 East 5th Street, was one of the most popular sources of entertainment.
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Sign advertising the Servicemen's Information Center at the Driskill Hotel Sign advertising the Servicemen's Information Center at the Driskill Hotel.
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Photograph of young man in uniform with a young woman in conversation over soft drinks
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Advertisement in periodical Gossip asking Austin citizens to entertain U.S. Service men stationed in the area Local residents were encouraged to open their homes to visiting military personnel through ads such as this one appearing in the June 8, 1942 Gossip.
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Cover of brochure advertising the U.S.O. or United Service Organization USO brochure outlining facilities and activities offered to military personnel.
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Information letter from the Defense Recreation Council to the Austin Junior Hostesses Information letter dated July 20,1942 from the Defense Recreation Council to Austin Junior Hostesses.
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Photograph of young African American soldiers visiting with several young women around a table In 1944, members of the Negro War Recreation Council greeted incoming black soldiers at the bus station provided for black personnel in the City Market on East Avenue. In keeping with the social conventions of the time, the City War Recreation Program maintained separate facilities and programs for the estimated 1,500 black servicemen who visited Austin each weekend. In response to black civic leaders' pleas for more space, the Austin City Council funded a new service center in Rosewood Park. Dedicated in honor of Pearl Harbor hero Mr. Doris Miller on April 10, 1944, the combination gymnasium-auditorium continues to serve the Austin community today.
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Photograph of exterior of the Negro War Recreation Council building Negro War Recreation Council building.
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