Thursday, January 19, 2006

Group seeks national listing for former Ft. Huachuca black officers club

[Source: Bill Hess, Sierra Vista Herald] -- The path to saving the black officers club on Fort Huachuca is getting smoother, according to a man leading an effort to protect it. Harlan Bradford, chairman of the Southwest Association of Buffalo Soldiers' project to save the World War II facility, also said his organization is hoping Building 66050 will be designated one of "America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places" by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. He said the building being listed would be a great help in saving the facility. Last year, SWABS tried to have the building listed on the National Trust's list, but did not make it. "We were told we were close," Bradford said.

The building was the only club specifically constructed for black officers during World War II, when America's armed forces were segregated. A number of black stars visited the fort and performed at the club.

Bradford said a check for $10,700 also was sent to the U.S Army Corps of Engineers to process a lease for the abandoned structure, which initially was scheduled to be demolished. The Corps of Engineers is waiting on some additional information from fort officials and it is hoped by the end of the year the lease will be in hand so work on the structure can begin, he said. "We are hoping to have access to the building by the end of the year," he said.

But there is no resting this year because progress must continue, said Bradford, who is the association's chairman of the Mountain View Black Officers Rehabilitation Project. With the help of some University on Arizona departments, the group is looking for a general management plan that will include business, marketing, and fund-raising, Bradford said. The UA College of Architecture also has graduate students preparing a rendering and elevation documents. "Progress made in the past two years has been phenomenal," he said. "We will focus on fund-raising in 2006." [Note: To read the full article, click here. Photo source: Southwest Association of Buffalo Soldiers.]