NATIONAL TRUST FOR HISTORIC PRESERVATION NAMES THE MOUNTAIN VIEW BLACK OFFICERS’ CLUB, FORT HUACHUCA, ARIZ., TO ITS 2013 LIST OF AMERICA’S 11 MOST ENDANGERED HISTORIC PLACES®
Posted June 19, 2013 | Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-588-6141
Today, the National Trust for Historic Preservation named the Mountain View Black Officers’ Club in Fort Huachuca, Ariz. to its 2013 list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places. This annual list spotlights important examples of the nation’s architectural, cultural and natural heritage that are at risk of destruction or irreparable damage. More than 240 sites have been on the list over its 26-year history, and in that time, only a handful of listed sites have been lost.
Mountain View Black Officers’ Club was built in 1942 and is one of the most significant remaining examples of a World War II-era military service club in the United States built specifically for African-American servicemen and women. The club was created in response to “separate but equal” laws of the era. The Army undertook a large-scale effort at Fort Huachuca to build barracks, hospitals, maintenance structures, offices, warehouses and recreational facilities, all of which were segregated and in many cases built in duplicate. During its operation, the Mountain View Black Officers’ club hosted top performers and dignitaries such as Lena Horne, Dinah Shore and Joe Louis.
The Mountain View Black Officers’ Club faces demolition because the U.S. Army has threatened to place it on an active disposal list. The Club has been listed on Arizona Preservation Foundation’s 2012 Most Endangered Historic Places List, the state level registry and recommended for the National Register by the Arizona State Historic Preservation Office and the Tucson Historic Preservation Foundation.
“Mountain View Black Officers’ Club should be preserved and added to the National Register of Historic Places as a nationally significant example of World War II-era segregated military service clubs, built specifically for African-American soldiers,” said Stephanie Meeks, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. “We hope the Army will reuse this important piece of America’s history so we may learn from and honor the African-Americans who fought for our country on foreign lands but were not considered truly “equal” in their own homeland.”
Retired General Julius Parker has been working to save the club and believes it to be an integral part of American history. “To some, the Mountain View Officers’ Club is an old splintered WWII building that has no relevance in our society, but to me it is an integral part of the history of the United States Army and America,” said Ret. Gen. Parker. “The preservation of this structure …will acknowledge the fact that, even during the darkest days of this country's racial evolution, Blacks remained loyal to this country and continued to support and defend the Constitution of the United States.”
“At the time the 92nd Division was started, there were no black officers with a rank higher than 2nd Lieutenant,” explained John Connor, former technical sergeant with the 92nd Division and visitor of Mountain View Black Officers’ club. “The opening of the Black Officers’ Club was in response to Black Officers trying to enter the regular Officers’ Club on the Post. There was a feeling of relief that we did not have to fight (verbally) with the white officers who were against us joining the Army in the first place.”
Members of the public are invited to learn more about what they can do to support these 11 historic places and hundreds of other endangered sites at www.PreservationNation.org/places.
The 2013 list of America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places (in alphabetical order):
Abyssinian Meeting House – Portland, Maine. The Meeting House was the spiritual center of life for generations of African Americans in Portland, but it needs an influx of funding to keep that story alive for generations to come.
Astrodome – Houston, Texas. As the world's first domed indoor, air conditioned stadium, the 18-story multi-purpose Houston Astrodome was once dubbed the "Eighth Wonder of the World" but now needs a viable reuse plan to avoid demolition.
Chinatown House - Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. Once a general store and residence for a community of approximately fifty Chinese American laborers, the house is one of last remaining tangible connections to the history of the Chinese American community that helped build modern-day Rancho Cucamonga.
Gay Head Lighthouse - Aquinnah, Mass. The first lighthouse built on Martha’s Vineyard, Gay Head Lighthouse is in immediate danger of toppling over the edge of the Gay Head Cliffs, a consequence of a century of erosion and the direct impact of climate change.
Historic Rural Schoolhouses of Montana – Statewide. Montana boasts more historic one- and two-room schoolhouses still in use than any other state, but these schools are at risk as the state’s population shifts to urban centers
James River - James City County, Va. Jamestown, America’s first permanent English settlement, was founded along the banks of the James River in 1607. The river and landscape are threatened by a proposed transmission line project that would compromise the scenic integrity of this historic area.
Kake Cannery - Kake, Alaska. Kake Cannery played a key role in the development of the Alaskan salmon-canning industry during the first half of the 20th century, but immediate action is needed to stabilize the structural systems of the existing buildings.
Mountain View Black Officers’ Club – Fort Huachuca, Ariz. One of the most significant examples of a military service club in the United States built specifically for African-American officers, the Mountain View Black Officer’s Club faces demolition by the U.S. Army, which has blocked efforts to list the property in the National Register of Historic Places.
San Jose Church - Old San Juan, Puerto Rico. Built in 1532, San Jose Church is of the few remaining Spanish Gothic architecture structures in the Western Hemisphere. Empty for 13 years, it is threatened by deterioration and structural damage
Village of Mariemont - Cincinnati, Ohio. The Village of Mariemont has been an inspiration for a generation of planners, but it is now threatened by a proposed transportation project, which would permanently scar the careful designs that make this place so unique.
Worldport Terminal at JFK Airport – Jamaica, New York. The distinctive flying-saucer-shaped Worldport Terminal at New York’s JFK Airport has been a symbol of the Jet Age since it first opened in 1960, but now sits empty and unused, waiting for a creative reuse plan.
Follow us on Twitter at @presnation and join the conversation using the hashtag #11Most
America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places has identified more than 240 threatened one-of-a-kind historic treasures since 1988. Whether these sites are urban districts or rural landscapes, Native American landmarks or 20th-century sports arenas, entire communities or single buildings, the list spotlights historic places across America that are threatened by neglect, insufficient funds, inappropriate development or insensitive public policy. The designation has been a powerful tool for raising awareness and rallying resources to save endangered sites from every region of the country. At times, that attention has garnered public support to quickly rescue a treasured landmark; while in other instances, it has been the impetus of a long battle to save an important piece of our history.