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The 440-acre Resettlement Administration worker community was sponsored by Hampton Institute, built in 1934-1937 and financed by the New Deal Subsistence Homestead Project, planned and designed by Howard University's Hilyard R. Robinson (1899-1986), supervising architect, with Louis B. Walton (1889-1973), consulting architect. Jesse R. Otis, also an African American, acted as program supervisor.
“Aberdeen Gardens was established by Pres. Franklin Delano Roosevelt's New Deal in 1934 as a model for housing following the Great Depression. Of the 55 similar areas in the United States, Aberdeen Gardens is especially significant because it is the only intact community built by blacks for blacks, many of whom were Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock defense workers. The original architectural plans, designed by Hilyard Robinson, included a school, multi-purpose building unit, community center, and tracts for 158 homes. The community center was never built, but several small stores occupied the shopping center across from Aberdeen School. Every prefurnished home was brick with an attached garage, indoor plumbing, a furnace, a porch, a very large yard, and a chicken coop.” Initially, most of the Aberdeen Gardens residents were families of shipyard workers. As of August 2017, there are no more chicken coops (that last one disappeared some time after 1994).