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Can a World War II black officers club be revived? (Deadline nears, what’s needed to save building?)
Sierra Vista Herald/Bisbee Review ^ | Laura Ory

Posted on 03/01/2009 7:28:00 AM PST by SandRat

FORT HUACHUCA — There’s some graffiti on the wall, the ceiling has been torn down and the only inhabitants seem to be rodents since the fate of a historic black officers club was to be torn down.


Dave Perryman, left, restoration coordinator for the Mountain View Colored Officers Club project, talks Friday with contractors and engineers inside the club on Fort Huachuca. (Beatrice Richardson-Herald/Review)

“At one time, it must have been marvelous,” Jan Sheller said after walking through the building and its many rooms on Friday afternoon.


Contractors and members of the Southwest Association of Buffalo Soldiers walk in front of the Mountain View Colored Officers Club on Fort Huachuca to talk about the club’s restoration project on Friday. (Beatrice Richardson-Herald/Review)

Contractors and engineers were at the site of the Mountain View Colored Officers Club on Friday to look at what would be needed to make it marvelous again.


Jan Sheller, left, corresponding secretary of the Southwest Association of Buffalo Soldiers on Fort Huachuca, and Bob Flemming, an association restoration committee team member, look at writings on the wall from former soldiers during the walk-through of the club. (Beatrice Richardson-Herald/Review)

The Southwest Association of Buffalo Soldiers has leased the building since 2006 with the goal of restoring the only club ever built specifically for black officers in the Army.


A view into the ball room at the black officers club on Fort Huachuca. (Beatrice Richardson-Herald/Review)

But the association members are feeling the pressure as they prepare for a meeting with officials in April to report on their progress.

Association President Joan Way asked contractors and other professionals to help the group find out what is needed to restore the 17,300-square-foot building.

Ricky Robinson, project manager for Castro Electric, was one of the people checking the former club out.

“I’m looking at what it’s gonna take to make this thing live again,” he said.

He plans to talk to suppliers and see what he can get donated to the project, from wire to lights.

“It’s gonna need a lot of stuff to bring it to code. … I think it’s very doable,” Robinson said.

Albert Gomez and David Bane of Sulphur Springs Valley Electric Cooperative were there to lend expertise on energy efficiency measures by looking at the buildings insulation needs and windows.

The cost to provide electricity to the building is unknown at this point.

“It all depends on what’s done,” Gomez said.

The floors are almost completely without insulation, which would be a drain on electricity.

“They’re in the position to go back and insulate that,” Bane said.

Polyurethane would be effective. “It’s just not cheap,” he added.

Outside, the building’s condition is better but deteriorating, as state Rep. Pat Fleming, D-District 25 and an association member, saw on Friday.

“Look how flimsy that is,” she said after seeing the weathered boards that have warped and cracked.

In 2004, the estimated costs to stabilize the building and preserve exterior were about $430,000.

Today, the Southwest Association of Buffalo Soldiers is aiming to raise $1.5 million to $2 million for the project, said Dave Perryman, preservation coordinator and vice president of the association.

Under the terms of the lease, the group had been tasked to make substantial progress in rehabilitating the building by October 2011.

The deadline approaches, but the group can meet it, Perryman said.

The focus now is on getting a feasibility study completed so the association can begin putting contractors to work, hopefully pro bono. The group also hopes to get as many materials donated as possible.

Unfortunately, it’s a tough time for many of the people whose help they need, said Gary Gervais of Blue Oak Builders, the general contractor for the project.

“A lot of contractors I know are out of business,” he said.

In addition to the restoration, the association members envision it as a historical center and research hub.

“I think the opportunities are obviously there,” Fleming said.

People across the nation have recognized the national significance, historical importance and value of the project, Perryman added.

“We support the efforts of the Southwest Association of Buffalo Soldiers to restore this historic building. We will continue to work cooperatively with them,” said Tanja Linton, a Fort Huachuca spokeswoman.

Officially known by the Army as Building 66050 when built in 1942. It was called the Mountain View Officers Club and the Colored Officers Club and is now known as the Mountain View Colored Officers Club, to preserve the historical context of the segregation that existed when it was originally built.

Perryman said the building is one of just a few World War II era buildings left on Fort Huachuca, and the only one not currently scheduled to be demolished.

Sheller, the association’s correspondence secretary, hopes the group can restore the building and keep it from the same fate as many other World War II era facilities.

“By tearing things down, we are losing some of our history,” she said.

Herald/Review reporter Laura Ory can be reached at 515-4683 or by e-mail at laura.ory@svherald.com.

ON THE NET

• Web site for the Southwest Association of Buffalo Soldiers in Sierra Vista:

http://swabuffalosoldiers.com/


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Foreign Affairs; US: Arizona
KEYWORDS: blackhistory; buffalosoldiers; huachuca; preservation; wwii

1 posted on 03/01/2009 7:28:01 AM PST by SandRat
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To: SandRat

Like who cares. Is this important?


2 posted on 03/01/2009 7:31:23 AM PST by freekitty (Give me back my conservative vote.)
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To: SandRat

Don’t we already have enough RACIST issues with the blacks? Maybe Jesse and Al should pay for this divisive project?


3 posted on 03/01/2009 7:35:45 AM PST by EagleUSA
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To: freekitty

It is important to the buffalo soldiers and to the history on the base


4 posted on 03/01/2009 7:36:02 AM PST by mylife (The Roar Of The Masses Could Be Farts)
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To: freekitty
You would think that black people would be inspired to contribute a little something to get this place fixed up and a remembrance for those officers who fought in WWII.

I'm afraid what we will hear next is the shrill complaints of them accusing the whites of racism because whites allegedly don't care about a black historic place.

5 posted on 03/01/2009 7:36:52 AM PST by 3catsanadog (I plan to give the new President the same respect and dignity the other side gave Bush.)
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history of the base


6 posted on 03/01/2009 7:36:58 AM PST by mylife (The Roar Of The Masses Could Be Farts)
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To: SandRat

McCain and Kyle didnt slip an earmark in the stimulus package for this?


7 posted on 03/01/2009 7:39:27 AM PST by mylife (The Roar Of The Masses Could Be Farts)
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To: SandRat

Another monument to the asininity of racial segregation.


8 posted on 03/01/2009 7:40:48 AM PST by Turret Gunner A20 (“In politics , stupidity is no handicap.” Napoleon)
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To: SandRat

The pictures seem to show only white people working to restore the club.


9 posted on 03/01/2009 7:41:13 AM PST by ladyjane
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To: All
Well.. we've just concluded another “Black-History” Month.

We've heard presentations from all sorts of big name politicos, activist groups, and Hollywood types on this subject.

You know what? Not one of these big name politicos, activist groups, or Hollywood types has given one cent, one moment of their time to this project; not even Loud Mouth Spike Lee who claims to know so much about the 92nd & 93rd Divs, these Divs were trained here.

Everything that has been done has been done locally and it seems none of these important types can be bothered (and they've been contacted) to help.

Please FReepers get the word out on this story.

Rattle some cages if you can. The Southwest Association of Buffalo Soldiers in Sierra Vista needs some help.

Forgive me I'm a little bit upset that no big names have deigned it important enough to give their time to.

10 posted on 03/01/2009 7:48:44 AM PST by SandRat (Duty, Honor, Country! What else needs said?)
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To: mylife

Nope


11 posted on 03/01/2009 7:49:33 AM PST by SandRat (Duty, Honor, Country! What else needs said?)
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To: freekitty
Like who cares. Is this important?

Yes. Black soldiers volunteered to defend our country even when it didn't defend them very well. People like the Buffalo Soldiers, the Tuskeegee Airmen, and the USCT are important role models. It would have been easy for these men to be victims or to take a separatist attitude, but they didn't. They ignored it and got on with serving the country.

I have seen many interviews with Tuskeegee Airmen. I find them to be some of the finest people in the world. Reporters try to veer them off onto racial issues, and they generally want to talk about their record defending those bombers.

It is very important to elevate these fine men to their proper place instead of allowing the elevation of the race hustlers and politicians to dominate. One is about serving honorably and changing things through honorable action, the other is about complaining and agitating.
12 posted on 03/01/2009 7:50:29 AM PST by Arkinsaw
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To: ladyjane

Bad choice of photos by the paper.


13 posted on 03/01/2009 7:51:02 AM PST by SandRat (Duty, Honor, Country! What else needs said?)
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To: Arkinsaw

Well said. Thank you for speaking some sense.


14 posted on 03/01/2009 7:52:22 AM PST by thefrankbaum (Ad maiorem Dei gloriam)
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To: SandRat

Tear the damn thing down just to piss some people off.


15 posted on 03/01/2009 7:52:42 AM PST by Piquaboy
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To: SandRat

I may be off base but...

Are we not supposed to leave this racist crap behind us? The more we focus on the bad of the past, the more ammunition the racists have to beat whitey with.

I am for preserving history. Lets save this building because it was a WWII club for Officers who were Black not because it was for Blacks who were Officers. Granted the Army treated it the other way around at the time. My feelings are that this perpetuates the race pimps and gives them more power.


16 posted on 03/01/2009 8:04:06 AM PST by pennyfarmer (Shiite Muslim named Bob.)
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To: Arkinsaw


17 posted on 03/01/2009 8:12:46 AM PST by SandRat (Duty, Honor, Country! What else needs said?)
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To: SandRat

The buck don’t go as far as it used to. Let’s see if the heart does.

This is history, not just black history. I am not black, but I am an American.


18 posted on 03/01/2009 8:28:02 AM PST by wizr ( Now, look what they've done, Stanley!)
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To: SandRat

I hope it gets remodeled! I would visit it! Wonder if they could get some people like Sean Penn or other African American actors involved so that they could hold Hollywood Fundraisers for this Project.


19 posted on 03/01/2009 8:32:33 AM PST by acoulterfan
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To: acoulterfan

They’ve tried and these self-important pontificators are not interested. Even the National NAACP turned them done.


20 posted on 03/01/2009 8:39:45 AM PST by SandRat (Duty, Honor, Country! What else needs said?)
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To: acoulterfan

Better yet, somebody call Tye Pennington. He Knows how to get things done.


21 posted on 03/01/2009 8:41:41 AM PST by SandRat (Duty, Honor, Country! What else needs said?)
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To: Arkinsaw

bump


22 posted on 03/01/2009 8:46:25 AM PST by onedoug
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To: Arkinsaw

+ eleventy billion.

These men served on the front lines of something very, very big, and very few could understand.

Guys like Jackie Robinson (yes, THAT Jackie Robinson), who served his country and, as an officer, was court-martialed for challenging the racism of a white NCO.

Not made-up heroes like Sharpton and his ilk.
TRUE HEROES.
They deserve the honor.
They deserve this monument.

I’m very proud that it was The Army (My Army) that took the lead in integrating the services.


23 posted on 03/01/2009 9:16:52 AM PST by SJSAMPLE
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To: pennyfarmer

“Those who forget the past ...”

It’s important because it was a BLACK officer’s club.
Now, such a thing is inconceivable.

People need to know, and they need to remember.


24 posted on 03/01/2009 9:18:04 AM PST by SJSAMPLE
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To: freekitty
Because it's history

American History

25 posted on 03/01/2009 9:23:52 AM PST by Charlespg
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To: SandRat; informavoracious; larose; RJR_fan; Prospero; Conservative Vermont Vet; ...

History ping!


26 posted on 11/22/2009 12:19:02 PM PST by narses ("These are the days when the Christian is expected to praise every creed except his own.")
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To: acoulterfan

They’ tried and they want nothing of it. It’s not controversial enough I guess.


27 posted on 11/22/2009 1:28:37 PM PST by SandRat (Duty, Honor, Country! What else needs said?)
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