April 18, 2014
Oroville Mercury Register
Richvale Service Men Are Honored at Chico Dinner
RICHVALE – Seven ex-servicemen were honored at a dinner at the Southern in Chico Sunday
by relatives. The boys honored were Chester and Tommie Carlson, Donald Rystrom, George
Slusser, Arthur Evans, Oliver Hillberg and Herbert Arens. An eighth member of the family
group was to have been Otis Mercer of Oroville but he was unable to attend. The table
was centered with a beautifully decorated cake bearing “Welcome Home”. Thirty-six were
seated at the table. Close relatives, besides wives of the men, were the families of
Clarence Carlson, Henry Rystom. E.J. Slusser, C.C. Meikle, Clarence Samuelson, Jack
Easley and Leroy Swanson. Mervin Parsons returned Sunday from Portland to be inducted
into the service of the United States Army. He had been singing bass with the Westmont
College choir on a short tour. He is now at Camp Beale.
Oroville Mercury Register
Airport Barracks May Help Solve GI Housing Problem
Possible further relief from the acute housing shortage for veterans and their families
was seen today when investigation disclosed that army barracks near the Oroville Airport
had been declared surplus. Inspection of the buildings and equipment showed that there
are 17 large buildings, 100 by 20 feet, each capable of housing two couples or one large
family. The board of supervisors was expected to appoint a man today to head the federal
housing authority in Butte County. The veterans housing group met Friday night at Chico
under the chairmanship of Maynard McPherrin, where a decision was taken to send a delegate
to Sacramento this week to investigate the status of the barracks near the airport.
The Federal Housing Authority meets this week at Sacramento, according to Sackett E.
Booth, member of the housing for lower Butte County and it is with this group that the
new appointee would meet. Located two and one-tenth miles from Oroville on Oroville
Lateral (Now Oro Dam West) the barracks lie in a shady grove of pine and oaks. Water,
electricity, hot and cold showers, telephones, and some cooking facilities exist in
several of the buildings. Many are already partitioned into rooms, both large and small.
Two couples live in one barrack now. Mr. and Mrs. D. W. Ratikan and Mr. and Mrs. Frank
Whyte are employed by the army engineers to act as caretakers. Inspection of their home
showed that much can be done to create a comfortable and livable home from a barrack.
The buildings and the land are federally owned, having been purchased by the army during
the war. The army air force, which used the base, have declared the premises as surplus
and have turned them over to the Army Engineers. In several instances in Northern California
similar installations have already been transferred to the Federal Public Housing Administration
for use as a veterans housing. It was thought that similar steps could be taken here.
The Butte county housing authority will hold a meeting Friday evening at Chico to discuss
immediate steps leading to acquisition the base, according to McPherrin. McPherrin said
that he would telegraph to C.R. Riepe at Sacramento, who is in charge of all surplus
army buildings in California, to request information on how to proceed to obtain the
buildings here. While Oroville’s housing project on Broderick street will provide 29
apartments for veterans when it is constructed, 47 applications for apartments are on
file with Otis Mercer, veterans service officer here. Included in the application are
those of three high school teachers who will not be able to come here to teach until
housing is available, Mercer said. Booth said today that he favored immediate action
to acquire the facilities. Mercer added that the majority of veterans’ families are
now either living with their parents or are living in high-priced hotel accommodations
far beyond their financial ability. Announcement was expected Saturday morning from
McPherrin as to steps planned by the housing group.
Those above Richvale men served their (Our) country well. They all went “Over There”
and came home, although some from the Richvale area did not come home. Donald Rystrom
is the only one I had the pleasure to meet. He showed me where two planes I had been
searching for crashed in a rice field out by his dad’s field, back in 1944. He also
arranged for me to ride on his son’s, Rice Harvester quite a thrill for me. 16 million
men came home from the War which created a big house shortage. I’ve known of those old
barracks back in that grove of trees not far from Rudy Creek, which died when the dam
was built. I wonder if any are still owned by Veterans or if Veterans ever did buy them.
In 1865 another Great American, President Abraham Lincoln, died while in the service
of his Country, April 14th which was last Monday.