Sunset Village / Quonset Hut Register

Collection Overview

Title: Sunset Village / Quonset Hut Register

Record Series: 05/08/01 [Box 6]

Record Group:

05/08/01 Residence Administration Collection

Creator: Unknown

Date: 1946-1948

Extent: 1 box (0.21 linear feet)

Repository: Special Collections & University Archives at Rod Library, University of Northern Iowa

Language: Materials entirely in English.

Information for Users

Accessing the Collection:

No restrictions. Materials are open for research.

Sensitive Materials Statement:

Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy or similar laws, and the Iowa Open Records Law (see Iowa Code § 22.7). Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the University of Northern Iowa assumes no responsibility.

Preferred Citation: [Identification of item], in the [Series Title] #[series number], [folder number or title when applicable], [Collection Name], Rod Library, University of Northern Iowa.

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Historical Note

Sunset Village and its quonset huts were built in 1946 following the end of World War II, with the main goal to provide housing for veterans and their families. The Iowa State Teachers College (later UNI) “acquired 45 quonset huts from the Regional Federal Public Housing Authority and then expended $40,000 to put in sewer, water, and other utilities.” The quonset huts were shipped from Oregon and were located on Highway 57 across from campus, at the end of College Street. Each hut could accommodate two families and military families were given first priority.

The huts were ready for occupants in October 1946 and by Fall 1947, units could accommodate 114 students, with all but 18 reserved for veterans. The village continued to grow, with the possibility of housing 138 families in the 72 quonset and barrack-style huts. Rent initially ranged from $20-$33 per month and later, was $25/month and $40/month. These rates were cheaper than those at South Courts mobile homes and Hillside Courts. According to William Lang, “the quonset huts of Sunset Village provided cheap but substandard housing for veterans’ families…” Indeed, there were a few problems with the quonsets, including inadequate heating and their overall issue as a fire hazard.

The university announced in Summer 1970 that the Sunset Village units would be gradually phased out as vacancies occurred. In Fall 1971, with Hillside Courts nearing completion, Sunset Village residents were given the option of moving to the new apartments or staying in Sunset Village until Spring 1972. Sunset Village officially closed in August 1972 after which the university attempted to sell the buildings. Ultimately, only three were sold, with some kept for a number of years as storage space and art studios. The remainder of the buildings were razed.

Scope and Content

This collection consists of a 152 page bound notebook, dating from 1946-1948. It consists of entries noting when specific people and their families moved in and/or out; whether the unit was furnished; occasional notes about damage (see page 6); and street names for units, such as E. Navy St., E. Marine St., and E. Army St.


Box 1:

  • Folder 1: register book, 1946-1947


Processing Information

Collection processed and finding aid written by Archival Processor Tessa Wakefield, December 2019.