Monday, November 26, 2007

Camp Naco preservation continues forward march, makes APF's endangered list

[Source: Ted Morris, Herald/Review] -- Thousands of American troops swarmed here long ago, a response to border friction of a different era. A visible reminder of that turbulent 1911-1923 timeframe — the stucco-walled barracks and officers quarters of Camp Naco — has been placed on the Arizona Preservation Foundation’s 2007 Most Endangered Historic Places list. “All of the properties we have named are important historic landmarks in Arizona, but unfortunately are in grave danger of collapse, demolition, or destruction,” said Vince Murray, president of the Arizona Preservation Foundation board. “It is critical that residents and government officials act now to save these elements of their cultural heritage before it’s too late.” The foundation’s mission is to preserve Arizona’s historical, archaeological, architectural and cultural assets. “Compiled by preservation professionals and historians, the list identifies critically endangered cultural resources of major historical significance to the state,” says the foundation’s Web site.

The endangered-list designation is one of a series of positive developments this year as a broad-based community group has rallied to save the deteriorating buildings that once formed an American stronghold on the U.S.-Mexico border. The community was galvanized by an arson fire that gutted some of the noncommissioned officers quarters on May 21, 2006. Leaders from Huachuca City, Cochise College, University of Arizona South, Turquoise Valley Golf Course, Naco Fire Department and other community organizations formed the Camp Naco Arizona Preservation Committee, or CNAPC. In April, the Center for Desert Archeology in Tucson, led by Bill Doelle, sponsored CNAPC in securing a $17,500 grant from the Southwest Foundation for Education and Historic Preservation to initiate preservation work. In May, more than 50 volunteers participated in a cleanup day at the camp. Most of those helpers were students from Fort Huachuca’s Basic Officer Leadership Course.

In June, the town of Huachuca City was awarded an $80,169 Arizona Heritage Preservation Fund grant written by CNAPC. That grant would provide muscle for intial preservation steps: a building condition assessment, ongoing site cleanup and a nomination to the National Register of Historic Places. Perhaps most critical, the Heritage Preservation Fund grant provided about $17,800 toward 2,200 feet of security fencing that Stan’s Fence Co. of Whetstone will soon install around the historic site. The Huachuca City Town Council awarded the contract to Stan’s on Nov. 8. In October, “Initial asbestos abatement by Environmental Strategies Inc. of Tucson was completed around the two camp barracks quadrangles, clearing the way for the building condition assessment,” said local historian Debby Swartzwelder, a member of the Camp Naco Arizona Preservation Committee.

[Note: To read the full article, click here. Photo source: Ted Morris, Herald/Review.]