10 Decades in 10 Months of Evergreen Goodwill: 1940s
The 1940s started off on a positive note in the Seattle area, as the region’s economy began to recover from the Great Depression, but the era dramatically changed after the U.S. entered World War II following the bombing of Pearl Harbor in December 1941 – and Evergreen Goodwill played a critical role in the wartime effort.
During the first half of 1942, Evergreen Goodwill initiated “scrap drives” to assist during the war, collecting tons of paper, magazines, metal scraps, rags and other materials. Scrap metal, specifically was sorted and sent to Boeing for use in manufacturing airplanes.
A few years later, on May 10, 1945, Evergreen Goodwill suffered a tragedy after a fire destroyed the organization’s headquarters and main plant on South Lane Street. In an article published by the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, “leaping flames illuminated the area for blocks around.” Due to the ongoing war and scarcity in supplies, much of the machinery in the plant would be especially difficult to replace.
After a community fundraising effort, Evergreen Goodwill commissioned Seattle architect J Lister Holmes to design a modern, fire-proof building. In October 1946, the 40,000 square foot building – which included a retail store, cafeteria, chapel, and office space – opened to the public and employees and is where the current Evergreen Goodwill administrative building stands today!
Throughout the 1940s, Evergreen Goodwill continued to collect, repair and sell gently used items to fund its Job Training and Education programs. By the end of the decade, the organization operated two nonprofit thrift stores in Seattle, as well as locations in Bremerton, Everett, Kent and Renton.