PHOENIX – Arizona State Parks and Trails has received $500,000 in capital grant funding from the National Park Service’s African-American Civil Rights Fund to rehabilitate the Mountain View Officers’ Club (MVOC) at Fort Huachuca.
The MVOC is located in southeastern Arizona and the State Historic Preservation Office, a division of Arizona State Parks and Trails, has been involved in a long-standing effort to preserve and protect this World War II-era African-American officers’ club. It is one of only two such documented buildings in the U.S. Army.
“This is the only site in Arizona to receive this grant funding,” said Governor Doug Ducey. “Being able to restore key elements of this state treasure is a vital part of preserving and protecting Arizona’s history.”
“This grant provides the much needed seed funding that will serve as an important catalyst to the rehabilitation of this significant building,” said Arizona State Parks and Trails State Historic Preservation Officer Kathryn Leonard.
“Without this funding from the National Park Service, none of this would be possible,” said Arizona State Parks and Trails Executive Director Sue Black. “We will transform the vacant Mountain View Officers’ Club into a vibrant community events center. This reflects the success of public private partnerships for the preservation of Arizona’s heritage and further demonstrates the value of historic buildings as an economic driver in rural communities.”
As one of the last-remaining structures of its kind anywhere in the United States, the MVOC is central to understanding the complex history of the segregated African-American military experience and large-scale war mobilization efforts inside the country. During World War II, Fort Huachuca was the largest training facility for African-American soldiers, housing an estimated 25,000 troops at its peak, with more than 1,400 temporary buildings constructed for the cause. The MVOC building, which has been vacant since 1998, is one of only a few buildings that survive from this period.
"Fort Huachuca is committed to continued involvement in planning and carrying out the adaptive reuse of this historic building and feel the proposed project has potential to directly benefit the U.S. Army mission," said Col. Whit Wright, garrison commander, Fort Huachuca, Arizona.
Renewed interest in the Mountain View Officers’ Club is the result of local preservation efforts, an intensive federal consultation process (Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act) and the creation of a broad-based coalition backing a single, innovative reuse plan. Early actions by Arizona preservation partners and the Southwest Association of Buffalo Soldiers resulted in the exploration of new, compatible uses for the building that would engage the broader Sierra Vista community. Recent efforts spearheaded by the National Trust for Preservation and local partners Arizona Preservation Foundation and Tucson Preservation Foundation have focused on plans to transform, through adaptive reuse, this significant building into a new use as a community and events center for both the Fort and broader Sierra Vista community. The Mountain View Officers’ Club building was listed as one of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places in 2013 and designated a National Treasure by the National Trust in 2014.
“We envision a country where everyone can see themselves, and their heritage, in our collective story and our cultural landscape,” said Stephanie K. Meeks, president and CEO of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. “We applaud today’s funding announcement by the U.S. Department of the Interior and the National Park Service to further preserve important places of Civil Rights struggle, conscience and achievement, and we encourage more of this across our nation. This funding will allow for the rehabilitation and reuse of the Mountain View Officers’ Club—answering the local need for a new multipurpose facility and keeping alive an important chapter of our military history for future generations.”
For information about all 35 Arizona State Parks and Natural Areas, the Trails and Off-Highway Vehicle Programs and State Historic Preservation Office call 1-877-MY-PARKS or visit AZStateParks.com.