New Mexico New Deal Sites November 2018 - Photo #115 - Albuquerque Heights Community Center

Photo: 11 November 2018; Black & white photos from [2].
WWII dance at Heights
WWII dance at The Heights
The Heights Community Center, 823 Buena Vista SE in Albuquerque. "This New Deal project done by NYA in 1938 is still serving its original purpose to provide the community with space for a variety of services and many happy hours of enjoyment."[1]

"Heights Community Center was the first community recreation center in the city and has served generations of Albuquerque residents. It was constructed between 1938 and 1942 as a National Youth Administration Project, one of several New Deal programs active in Albuquerque during the Great Depression. NYA projects were intended to give youth thorough vocational training and revive their interest in education. At the time, it was considered the largest NYA project in the country. Much of the work for the center was carried out by volunteers using donated or salvaged materials. Several different civic groups in the Heights thought up the idea of a community center, and had land available and raised about $100, but not enough to secure the funding needed to make the center a reality. The NYA had been organized and was looking for a first project, and brought $20,000 to the project, but it wasn't enough for the cost of materials for construction. So, the boys working through the NYA program made adobes on site, and many other materials were scrounged from schools being torn down around that time. Since its opening, the center has been a popular location for community events. During World War II, servicemen stationed in Albuquerque for training flocked to dances at the center. Folk, square, and swing dancing groups still actively use the center's wooden dance floor, which many consider the best in the area. As a Landmark, the wooden dance floor, in addition to all of the southwestern detailing, will always remain intact.

The Heights about 1940 "It was modeled after an historic Spanish courtyard house type, features an inner courtyard ringed by a portal with rough-hewn log columns, heavy beams, corbel brackets and vigas. Southwestern design details can also be found along the front fašade and throughout the building's interior, particularly in the ballroom, which includes corner fireplaces, bancos, and exposed vigas, as well as the wooden dance floor."[2]

  1. Kathryn A. Flynn, Public Art and Architecture in New Mexico 1933-1943, Sunstone Press (2012), p.31.
  2. Heights Community Center, City of Albuquerque Historic Landmarks website, accessed 27 November 2018.
  3. National Youth Administration (NYA) (1935), Living New Deal website, accessed 25 November 2018.