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Verdeland Park memorial dedication Saturday, Oct. 3
Article Published 09/30/2015
Layton City officials will unveil a plaque dedicated to the men, women, and children who were the first residents of the United States Federal Housing Project that was known as Verdeland Park on Saturday October 3, 10 a.m.
This special event is free and open to the public and will take place at the Heritage Museum of Layton, 403 North Wasatch Drive, just south of the Ed Kenley Amphitheater.
In 1943, with war raging in Europe and the Pacific, hundreds of civilian workers came to Layton to work in the Defense Industry at Hill Field and the Navy Supply Depot in Clearfield. Since there was very little local housing for these workers, the Federal Government set aside 85 acres in Layton for a government housing project. Between January of 1942 and January of 1943 four hundred housing units were assembled in Layton. The prefabricated buildings were built in California and then sent to Utah by rail and assembled in what is now Layton Commons Park, the site of the Layton City offices, and the grounds of Layton High School.
At the time Verdeland Park was built, Layton City had a population of about 960 citizens. By the end of 1943, 1,440 residents were living in Verdeland Park thus doubling the population of Layton City.
Residents of Verdeland Park worked at Hill Field and the Navy Supply Depot, and since many of the heads of the households were serving in the military many of the workers who lived in Verdeland Park were women. Residents worked three shifts at Hill Field and a park building, M-7, was set aside as the first day care center in northern Utah. A graduate of the University of Utah was hired to supervise the center and the mothers living in the park assisted in taking care of the children.
Verdeland Park Elementary School was opened in September of 1943. The first faculty included Ronald Wiscombe, principal; with teachers Dorothy Adams, Martha Evans, Burt Trimble, Mary Ware, and Barbara Watts.
In 1963, Verdeland Park Elementary School became the first school in Davis County to have an integrated faculty when Mrs. Ruby T. Price was hired as a first grade Diversity Teacher. Hundreds of Layton children attended Verdeland Park Elementary School. Many went on to attend North Davis Junior High School, Central Davis Junior High School, and Davis High. When Verdeland Park was dismantled, the elementary school was closed and students moved to other area schools.
Following World War II, Layton City was given the opportunity to purchase the 85 acres of Verdeland Park from the Federal Government. The city ran the park as rental units for over fifteen years. In 1962, $5,000 was appropriated by Layton City and a committee appointed to develop a comprehensive plan for the disposition of Verdeland Park. Current Layton residents Haven J. Barlow and Harris Adams were part of that committee. Layton City sold 28 acres of the Park to the Davis County School District as a site for Layton High School. Eventually the houses were dismantled and sold for an average price of about $270 each.
Today, Layton City has its Municipal Center, Surf ‘n Swim, the Heritage Museum of Layton, the Ed Kenley Amphitheater and a wonderful green space where Verdeland Park used to sit. Consequently, Layton City residents felt it time to memorialize those who lived, worked, and played in Verdeland Park with a special memorial.