On June 19, 2013 Mountain View Black Officers Club was placed on the National Trust for Historic Preservation 2013 list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places.
In 1941, the United States (U.S.) government began a fast-paced mobilization towards another world war. Numerous military installations throughout the U.S. were expanded in order to house and train troops needed for the war effort. One of these installations was Fort Huachuca in Sierra Vista, Arizona. In 1942, the U.S. Army began a large-scale building effort at Fort Huachuca to house additional troops from the “all-black” 92nd and 93rd Infantry Divisions. The Army contracted private developers to build barracks, hospitals, maintenance structures, offices, warehouses, and recreational facilities; all of which were segregated and in many cases built in duplicate. The location for these buildings became known as the New Cantonment Area—an area south and east of the 1880s-era historic development of the post. Construction within the New Cantonment Area included the newly formed and segregated Mountain View Officers’ Club for African American soldiers and Lakeside Officers’ Club for Anglo American soldiers. The club, built by Del Web in 1942 remains the only service club still standing at Fort Huachuca. Moreover, Mountain View Officers’ Club remains the only extant example of a military service club in the United States built specifically for African American servicemen and women.
When Mountain View’s doors opened on Labor Day 1942, it became the social and recreational center for the post’s African American servicemen and women. Numerous dances, plays, musical performances, weddings, and art shows were held at the club. One of the more notable events that occurred at Mountain View was an exhibit of paintings by African American artists—an event that helped solidify Mountain View as the social center for African Americans stationed at Fort Huachuca. The event was widely attended by high-ranking army officials and civilians, and was an integrated event for members of both African American and Anglo American communities. Other notable events included performances by Lena Horne, Dinah Shore, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, and Pearl Bailey, as well as a boxing exhibition by heavyweight boxer (and U.S. Army Sergeant) Joe Louis (Bischoff 1998b).
During World War II, Fort Huachuca was home to 45,000 troops, at least 14,000 of which were African American. Following the war, on October 15, 1945, the fort was placed on inactive status and its population shrank to just 300. At the same time the 92nd and 93rd were disbanded. Less than 10 years later, Fort Huachuca was reactivated on February 1, 1954, at which time it began serving as the Army’s Electronic Proving Ground. Following reactivation of Fort Huachuca and racial integration of the U.S. Army, Mountain View was converted to a Performing Arts Theater. Mountain View remained an entertainment center at Fort Huachuca until the late 1990s when it was officially vacated.
In 2012 the Tucson Historic Preservation Foundation prepared a nomination for listing in the National Register of Historic Places. In March 2012 the nomination was reviewed by the Arizona Historic Sites Review Committee, listed on the Arizona Register of Historic Places and formally recommended for inclusion in the National Register. On February 22, 2013, Carol Shull, keeper of the National Register determined Mountain View Officers’ Club eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places. This determination invalidates the Fort’s assertion that the building was not eligible because of lost integrity.
In June 2013 THPF amended the nomination to include Keeper Shull’s recommendations. The updated nomination can be downloaded below.
On June 19, 2013 Mountain View Black Officers Club was placed on the National Trust for Historic Preservation 2013 list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places. Between 2014 and 2017 THPF has served as a designated Section 106 Consulting Party to Fort Huachuca helping to guide the long term plan for the property.
In 2017 the Officers Club was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Tucson Historic Preservation continues to work with partners including Fort Huachuca, the National Trust for Historic Places, the Community Foundation of Arizona, the Arizona Preservation Foundation and the South West Association of Buffalo Soldiers and Poster Frost Mirto to develop a long term preservation plan and adaptive reuse strategy.