Skip to comments.Deal reached on lease for Colored Officers Club on fort (Fort Huachuca, AZ)
Posted on 09/10/2006 12:33:13 PM PDT by SandRat
FORT HUACHUCA The terms of a proposed lease for the World War II Colored Officers Club on this Southeastern Arizona Army post have been approved by the Army Corps of Engineers, said one of the organizers trying to save the facility.
It still has to be signed by all parties. Its another milestone. Now there is some light at the end of the tunnel, like a flashlight (beam), said Tom Stoney Sr., president of the Southwest Association of Buffalo Soldiers. More than three years ago, the association signed a memorandum with the fort to halt the wrecking ball that was about to be unleashed to destroy Building 66050, the only club constructed for colored officers. Fort Huachuca was the main training post for two black divisions, the 92nd and 93rd, whose soldiers saw combat in Europe and the South Pacific.
The 15-year lease is broken down into renewable five-year periods. During the first five years, which begins on Oct. 1, $200,000 of rehabilitation of the structure has to take place by March 2008, according to some of the lease language.
Our responsibility is to renovate it, Stoney said of the old club structure that has seen much better days.
The surviving structure is nothing more than a skeleton, with holes in the roof and floor.
The lease notes the original structure consisted of 17,378 square feet, with 3,555 square yards of outside land.
Saying the lease is fairly liberal for what the association can do and the time frame allowed, Stoney said the group and others can no longer sit back and wait.
A number of garrison commanders helped save the club, which was where a number of black entertainers, such as Lena Horne, is one reason to save the historic building, he said.
But the association also is to be applauded for the work they have done, Garrison Commander Col. Jonathan Hunter said. We appreciate the efforts of the Southwest Association of Buffalo Soldiers and their supporters to preserve this unique and very important part of American history, he said. The successful completion of this project will help ensure the history of these great soldiers will be available for study and research and give visitors a better understanding of the contributions and sacrifices of these soldiers who lived and trained at Fort Huachuca.
Stoney said the association really got serious in 2003. With the lease, other planned steps will be easier to take.
The formation of a foundation, which is separate from the association, is being developed and fund-raising will be done, based on a plan developed by the University of Arizonas business college.
The association has paid $10,700 to the federal government to process the lease request, which Stoney said is money well spent.
Anything now pertaining to the facility will be called the Mountain View Colored Officers Club, to reflect to the language used to identify black citizens before, during and after the World War II period. Weve done a lot of hard work, Stoney said. And, there is much more hard work ahead.
herald/Review senior reporter Bill Hess can be reached at 515-4615 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
My mother attended high school there. Her father delivered multiple goods (newspapers, sugar, flour, bread, just about anything he could get his hands on) at Army bases in a wagon pulled by a mule. The mule was trained, so my grandfather could just jump in the back, get the next order ready, and the mule would stop in front of the next house. He'd jump out of the wagon and deliver the stuff, then jump back in the wagon to get the next order ready, and the mule would go to the next house. They ended up in Hawaii Dec. 7, 41, when she was 26. And she said most of those bullet holes they show you in Tombstone (primarily at the Bird Cage Theater) weren't there when she was there.
Bump for the honorable service people of WW II, of all races.