On June 11, 1941, President Roosevelt approved funds for the erection of 450 units of housing for defense industry workers in Richmond, California, pursuant to the "Lanham Act." Richmond was the first city in the US chosen for a Defense Department project. Over time, other worker housing was built and Richmond still has original wartime housing in both the Atchison Village and Nystrom Village developments, with Atchison Village remaining as a designated intact historic site.
Built in 1941 by the U.S. government to house the vanguard of an influx of workers for the burgeoning Kaiser shipyards, the modest 450-unit complex was hailed at the time as a cutting-edge example of worker housing designed following the tenets of the "city beautiful" and "garden city" movements. Atchison Village, built across the street from the former location of the Atchison Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad depot and yards, was designed with winding streets, spacious yards, simple one and two story wood duplexes and four plexes and a community center and park.
Today it is still a living part of the park, and a viable and a well-planned community. In 1956, it became one of the first housing cooperatives in the US, and residents bought their homes from the Atchison Village Mutual Homes Corporation for as little as $273.