World War II was arguably one of the most significant pieces of 20th century history. Life during war time on the home front was very busy, as both men and women helped to build the artillery needed to win the war. This home front effort was primarily led by women who became much more involved in manual labor, such as welding and electrical work on items produced in military defense manufacturing plants.
During this time, popular entertainment like the radio, were viewed as an escape outlet allowing Americans a brief recess from the war. Radio became an important aspect of home life, as Sundays were prime listening time.
Housing in Macon became a problem due to the lack of building during the Great Depression. The 1940s brought about new housing construction that still stands tall today in the most unexpected areas of the city.
Defense activities took priority over everything in Macon during WWII. Although Macon’s economy came to a halt in 1930 due to the Great Depression, growth and prosperity would come over the next two decades. Macon’s economy began to stabilize, thanks to an increase in military defense activities. This was due to Macon’s location, climate and their eager business community. In 1941, a drive on what is now Emory Highway, would lead to the booming Camp Wheeler, a large infantry replacement center.
In downtown Macon, the streets were crowded with Maconites and soldiers alike. The Marine Corps Induction and Recruiting Office was located at 403 Cherry Street and the Naval Recruiting Station was located in the Federal Building. In the photo below, WWII soldiers are seen in front of the Catholic Club at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church located at 830 Poplar St. in downtown Macon. Courtesy of Middle Georgia Archives.