GI Memorial House Museum
905 King St., Kannapolis
HOURS: Memorial Day–first weekend in Oct. first Sun. of month 2–5 p.m., and by appointment
COST: Free; donations accepted
North Carolina, like other states, faced a severe housing shortage when GIs returned home in 1945 following World War II. Charles A. Cannon of the Cannon Mills Company in Kannapolis provided “GI Homes” as a solution. He partnered with a plant that could produce four-room prefabricated homes in volume, shipping them to the site for immediate construction.
In 1945, Cannon built two sample homes on West C Street to determine the demand. The response was overwhelming and a total of 50 homes were ordered for soldiers and their families who worked at the mill. The first 26 homes were completed in 1946 with an additional 24 scheduled for construction. Crews assembled each home in just one day and veterans were charged a modest rental of $5 each two-week pay period.
A total of 100 20-by-24-foot homes were built in the area. Most of the homes were eventually demolished to make way for newer houses or moved from the original site. Kannapolis History Associates bought the last unaltered house still standing in the neighborhood and turned it into a museum filled with furnishings and artifacts from the 1940s and 1950s.
© Jodi Helmer from Moon Charlotte, 1st Edition