Fort Huachuca will save officers' club used by Black soldiers during WWII
Fort Huachuca announced Thursday it will rehabilitate a building that served as the Black officers' club at the southern Arizona Army installation during World War II.
- The Mountain View Officers' Club was previously slated for demolition and sat empty for over two decades.
What's happening: Fort Huachuca leaders signed an agreement last month to transform the building into a Range Operations Synchronization Center.
- The rehabilitation plan also calls for an exhibit chronicling the Black World War II military experience, according to a press release.
Why it matters: The clubhouse was placed on the National Register for its historically significant connection with Army segregation policies.
- Only one other Black officer's club dating back to World War II, Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri, is still standing.
Flashback: The building was constructed in 1942 by Del Webb — the famous Arizona developer known for designing Sun City.
- It was part of a large-scale building effort at the military installation to house troops from the all-Black 92nd and 93rd Infantry Divisions, according to the Tucson Historic Preservation Foundation.
- From 1892-1946, Fort Huachuca had the most Black soldiers of any military installation nationwide, according to the African American Cultural Heritage Fund.
- More than 30,000 Black soldiers trained at Fort Huachuca between 1941-1945, before they were deployed to the European Theater, per the Army.
How it worked: Mountain View Officers' Club was a duplicate of the Lakeside Officers’ Club for white soldiers at the fort.
- It was the social and recreational hub for Black soldiers. Art shows, concerts, plays and other performances were held there.
- "The black officers really weren't happy about having a separate club," Army garrison spokesperson Tanja Linton told The Arizona Daily Star in 2019.
After the war and 1948 racial integration of the military, the building was converted into a performing arts theater and used for entertainment purposes until 1998.
- The Army had planned to bulldoze it shortly thereafter but was met with pushback from preservationists and has been working with those groups on a long-term solution since 2011.
What's next: Fort Huachuca has submitted the project for Army funding consideration and plans to begin rehabilitation soon.
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