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The National Register of Historic Places is the official list of the Nation”s historic places worthy of preservation. Authorized by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, the National Park Service”s National Register of Historic Places is part of a national program to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate, and protect America”s historic and archeological resources.

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“The George Washington Carver Library and Auditorium was constructed in 1929 (with additions in 1950 and 1986) as the “”Colored Branch of the San Antonio Library and Auditorium.”” The building stands at the southeast corner of North Hackberry and Center Streets on San Antonio”s near-east side. The facility was constructed on the site of the old Colored Recreation Center, opened in 1919 as a cooperative venture of War Camp Community Service and the Colored Library Association. The Recreation Center became a popular gathering place for soldiers returning from World War I and local residents who were denied access to other facilities. The City of San Antonio purchased the property in 1925, and opened a branch of the public library here. A 1928 bond issue provided funds to construct a new library and auditorium on the site. The building, designed by local architects Carl Von Seutter and Malcolm Simons, opened in 1930. Until desegregation, the library and auditorium remained a vital educational and social gathering place for the African American community. The auditorium was renowned for appearances by leading African American performers including Louis “”Satchmo”” Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington, and Count Basie.

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Leading political and religious speakers also appeared here, and social clubs held dances, initiations, and meetings. After the library closed in 1973, the building was renovated as a performing arts and meeting facility, continuing its role as a venue for artistic programming and community discussion. The building closed in 2000 for renovation and is scheduled to reopen in early 2004. The Carver Community Cultural Center is significant under Criterion A (local level) in the areas of Black Heritage and Performing Arts as a gathering place for San Antonio”s African American community during the period of segregation, and a facility that remains a community meeting place and venue for multi-ethnic programming. It is also significant under Criterion C in the area of architecture as a good example of an Art Deco public building that retains its integrity in spite of remodeling and additions. The period of significance extends from 1929 until 1954, the year that the Supreme Court declared segregation unconstitutional and the City of San Antonio integrated its public facilities. Criteria Consideration G (properties that have achieved significance within the last fifty years) applies, as the building continued to function as a segregated library through 1954. The building is exceptionally significant as a prominent and well-preserved physical reminder of segregation in San Antonio, Texas.” Any Associated Files

Weekly List Search Page Properties are listed in the National Register of Historic Places under four criteria: A, B, C, and D. For information on what these criterion are and how they are applied, please see our Bulletin on How to Apply the National Register Criteria

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