Northern Arizona University: Cottage City (demolished) – Flagstaff AZ


The New Deal provided the funds to build a large group of cottages for student housing – known as “Cottage City” – at what was then Arizona Teachers’ College.   The Public Works Administration (PWA) made a grant of $57,900 and the state of Arizona added $20,000 to build 50 2-room cottages.  Construction was done in 1939 by 60 Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) enrollees (no doubt from the Mt. Elden camp). 

The units were small at 25×14 feet, built with rock walls and cement floors, plus running water.  There were three additional buildings for laundry and showers. More cottages were added later (probably of wood construction).   Two rows of cottages were arranged in a U-shape on land across Knoles Drive from the Cline Library towards the University Union Field House – roughly, parking lot P16 on today’s maps.

Cottage City housed the families of workers at the Navajo Ordnance Deport west of Flagstaff during World War II.  After the war, the cottages were remodeled with toilets and showers for graduate students and young faculty.  Some of them were demolished with the building of the Field House in the 1960s, but the majority lasted until the mid-1980s.

[NB: the photo of a woman & baby in front of a wood cottage in the university archives is labeled as 1939 when it is almost certainly postwar, c. 1947]

Source notes

Lee Drickamer, Northern Arizona University: Buildings as History, unpublished book manuscript, Special Collections, Cline Library, NAU, Flagstaff AZ, 2008.

Platt Cline, Mountain Town: Flagstaff's First Century. Flagstaff AZ: Northland Publishing Company, 1994, p. 308.

Project originally submitted by Richard Walker on April 22, 2022.

We welcome contributions of additional information on any New Deal project site.


Location Info

Parking Lot P16
Flagstaff, AZ 86001

Coordinates: 35.1895295, -111.6567557

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