Background of the MVCOC
During World WarII, nearly 50,000 Black soldiers trained at Fort Huachuca. Most of the soldiers were assigned to the 92nd and 93rd Infantry Divisions. They were training for deployment overseas. These men were training for combat.
Over 80% the officers in the two divisions were Black. To house the two divisions, plus supporting troops. The Army built wood frame buildings. Racial segregation policies at the time required the Army to build two Officers Clubs. Mountain View for Black Officers and Lakeside for White Officers.
The Mountain View Club, specifically for Black Officers, was the only such club built from the group-up in the history of the U.S. Army. On Labor Day l942, the Mountain View 0fficers` Club opened its doors with special entertainment During World WarII.
On Labor Day l942, the Mountain View 0fficers` Club opened its doors with special entertainment. This was a performance of the play “The Cabin in the Sky”, presented by members of troupe of Tucson actors: "This was truly a gala occasion, as well as momentous, and even to current writing there still is favorable talk about that festive occasion. Lt. Pryor was put in charge of the Mountain View Club and he did a grand job from first to last" (Old Blue Helmet, February 5, 1943).
Following its dedication and grand opening, countless shows took place at the Mountain View Club. Some of the most famous entertainers of the time appeared at Mountain View. Among them were Lena Horne, Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Dinah Shore, and Joe Louis Heavyweight Boxing Champion.
Today, The building is one of the few remaining examples of the World WarII era cantonment at Fort Huachuca, a small city was constructed in an amazingly short amount of time. American mobilization for the war was accomplished rapidly, particularly at posts such as Fort Huachuca. Like other buildings constructed for the Army during World WarII, Building 66050 was a temporary structure, and followed a standard design used at Army installations throughout the country.
The Southwest Association of Buffalo Soldiers join in a Memorandum of Agreement with Fort Huachuca. This spares the building from planned demolition, giving the Association time to raise money to renovate the building.
The goal is for Mountain View to become a Historical Research Center focusing on Black men and women in military history. The historic time frame is 1866 -1951. Mountain View will be a living testament to all those men and women who served their country well, despite the indignities of prejudice and racism suffered while serving in a segregated Army. Building 66050 has a story worth telling.
Constructed in 1942 for a total cost of $78,648, Building 66050 was originally termed the "Colored Officers` Club," or the "Mountain View Officers' Club" (Fort Huachuca 195l).
Building 66050 is a two-story, wood-frame, temporary building resting on concrete pier foundations. This utilitarian building, with little to no ornamentation, measures 90 by l2 feet and is 23 feet high. Wall cladding is horizontal wood siding.
Many windows originally graced the first and second stories. Most of these were wood, double-hung sash-type windows, with 8 over 8 lights. Nineteen of the original windows are still visible (18 with 8 over 8 lights and l with 6 over 6 lights) with the remainder covered over at some point in the past. Six modern storm windows have been added.
The building originally had several entryways, most of which were simple, single-panel wood doors; several have since been covered over. The main entrance to the building is located on the south side and was originally a double door made of wood.
The roof of the building is a simple gable style, with eaves built around the exterior of the first and second stories. The second story is smaller in dimension than the first, leaving a gap between the two roofs. In addition, an attic was included in the building and marked with eaves on the exterior; an effect that created the appearance of a three story building. A brick chimney, located on the north side of the building, was included in the original construction. A wing, measuring 40 by 75 feet and 15 feet high, was added to the east end of the building in 1953.
The building originally looked quite similar to other buildings within the cantonment, with the same wood siding, eaves, and windows. It was obviously constructed in conjunction with these barracks, offices, and other buildings, and is clearly an element of the cantonment area. Although the building has undergone some alterations over the years, it has largely retained its original appearance. In 1953 a wing was added to the club to provide space for a hobby shop, which increased the size of the building by approximately 1,177 square feet. Sometime in the 1960s, the building was renumbered T-7045 and was classified as an NCO club. By this time, Army integration had been ordered, and the club was now serving both white and black soldiers. In the early l960s, it was still known as the Mountain View Club and was used as an NCO open mess. At that time, the club had large dining room, cocktail lounge and bar, and a large banquet hall.
Few alterations were made to the building through the l960s, with the exception of the construction of the patio on the north side of the building in 1960. The building was renovated in l97l and again in l973. The latter renovation was responsible for the stage configuration that is seen in the building today. It is also likely that the second-story windows were covered during this work. In 1983, the building was renovated again.
A plan was proposed in the late 1970s to preserve a portion of the World WarII cantonment area, in recognition of the historical significance of this portion of the post. The plan called for preserving a barracks building (68225), a chapel (67320), a dispensary (683l0), a mess hall (68224), and an administration building (68217). The buildings were to be preserved as a "World WarII Museum complex and proposed as an annex to the Fort Huachuca Museum.
In l996, a Programmatic Memorandum of Agreement (PMOA) was signed by the Department of Defense (DOD). The Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP), and the National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers. These parties jointly agreed that, with some limitations, World WarII temporary buildings could be demolished.
Based on both archival research and building survey and evaluation, it is recommended the Mountain View Officers` Club be renovated by the Southwest Association of Buffalo Soldiers.
Building 66050, constructed at the west end of the immense World WarII cantonment area, reflects its association with the past. It is a historically significant building when viewed within the contexts of World WarII and African-American service in the U.S. military. The building was completed in mid-1942 and used for its original purpose throughout the entire war. Its period of significance, therefore, falls within the 1942-1945 timeframe.
The building is one of the few remaining examples of the World WarII era cantonment at Fort Huachuca. A small city was constructed in an amazingly short amount of time. American mobilization for the war was accomplished rapidly, particularly at posts such as Fort Huachuca. Like other buildings constructed for the Army during World WarII, Building 66050 was a temporary structure, and followed a standard design used at Army installations throughout the country.
More important, however, the building was constructed in response to the Army’s desire to provide healthy recreational outlets for its soldiers. The building served that role in exemplary fashion. It was more than a recreation center. However, and served as social center for African-American officers throughout the war.
At the end of the war in l945, the 92nd and 93rd Divisions were disbanded, and the country demobilized from the intensive war effort, Building 66050 continued to serve as an entertainment center at Fort Huachuca, a role it still served into the 1990s. Its significance, however, derives from its role as a recreation and social center during the war, particularly for African-American soldiers. Integrity largely unchanged from its original construction. Building 66050 retains a high level of integrity. With a period of significance of l942 to l945, Building 66050 looks much the same today as it did during the war. Although several additions and alterations were made to the interior of the building, the exterior is quite similar to its original form. A few intrusive elements have been added, however.
As stated above, based on both archival research and building survey and evaluation, it is recommended that the Mountain View Officers` Club be renovated by the Southwest Association of Buffalo Soldiers.
Regular maintenance and renovation over the past sixty years have successfully brought Building 66050 into the Twenty-First Century. The Mountain View Officers' Club remains in a state of sound structural integrity. There are issues, but few are structural. Most are cosmetic and repair/maintenance level concerns. Utility upgrades (electrical, plumbing, HVAC and communications are to be expected. Installing a modern kitchen is also foreseen.
The Southwest Association of Buffalo Soldiers' stated goal is for the Mountain View Officers` Club to become a Museum and Historical Research Center focusing on Black men and women in military history. The historic time frame is 1866-1951.
In 2007, the architecture and planning firm of Lisec & Biederman, Ltd. prepared conceptual drawings fitting the SWABS intentions. The floor plan shows the proscenium and stage removed. The original ballroom reinstated. At present, the stage structure has been removed, and only part of the proscenium wall still remains. The balance of the floor plan shows existing room used for the museum displays, a library, conference space, offices and a kitchen.
To achieve these goals, the Southwest Association of Buffalo Soldiers must first stabilize Building 66050. Immediate work is needed both inside and outside. The interior requires some carpentry repair work (fix a step, patch a hole in the wall. etc) as well as removal of hanging ceiling grid and scavenged electrical fixtures. A thorough cleaning is also required. The exterior requires a small repair on the roof and tidying up the landscape. Activating utilities (temporary) is also needed. This will facilitate performing cleaning and repair work at the building. Water should be turned on and a 200 amp electric service installed immediately.
Employing design professionals for construction drawings is not needed immediately. That time will come when the cost is justified and money is in hand. In the near future, adequate conceptual designs can by generated from the Lisec & Biederman and Finical & Dumbrowski works. Finical & Dumbrowski have provided a complete set of building plans with specifications and details. It should be noted that these drawings are not suitable for SWABS' foreseeable design requirements.
The Southwest Association of Buffalo Soldiers has defined overall objectives and set achievable goals. The first objective is to breathe life into Building 66050. That objective can be met with funds on hand. The goal is to clean her up, turn on the lights and open the doors.