Greenbelt Community Building, 15 Crescent Road, Greenbelt, Prince George's County, MD
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15 Crescent Road, Greenbelt, MD
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Documentation compiled after 1933.
Survey number HABS MD-979
Building/structure dates: 1937 initial construction
Building/structure dates: 1968 subsequent work
Significance: The Greenbelt Community Building is a focal point of activity for this important, early planned community. It was first used as a combination community meeting hall and school building and later exclusively as a school. Greenbelt is a product of the Great Depression of the 1930s. It is a cooperative planned community, conceived and constructed by the Resettlement Administration, an outgrowth of Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal idealism. Greenbelt was an early experiment in social and economic welfare. The intent was to provide affordable rental housing for low- to moderate-income groups in an environment that encouraged self help through a cooperative living program, as well as provide jobs (construction) for those on relief. The Greenbelt Community Building is architecturally significant as a good surviving example of the 1920s-1930s Art Deco/Art Moderne styles. Its sleek, streamlined form, with minimal architectural ornamentation, exemplifies the styling of the period. Furthermore, the artistic depression-era bas relief sculptures which line the facade are both architecturally and historically significant. Carved by Works Progress Administration (WPA) artist Lenore Thomas, they reflect the social and economic concerns of the post-depression era, an interest in the common man and the pursuit of democratic ideals. They are both optimistic and forward-looking.
Boucher, Jack E., Photographer
Lavoie, Catherine C., Historian
Historic American Buildings Survey (Library of Congress)
1. SOUTH (FRONT) ELEVATION, WITH SCALE
2. SOUTH (FRONT) ELEVATION, WITHOUT SCALE
3. VIEW, SOUTH FRONT FROM SOUTHWEST
4. GENERAL PERSPECTIVE VIEW, FROM SOUTHEAST
5. VIEW, WEST ENTRANCE, WITH BAS RELIEF
6. DETAIL VIEW, BAS RELIEF IN DOOR
9. VIEW, CENTER SECTION OF SEGMENTED FACADE, SOUTH (FRONT), BAS RELIEF 'INSURE DOMESTIC TRANQUILITY'
10. SOUTH (FRONT) ELEVATION, BAS RELIEF 'TO FORM A MORE PERFECT UNION'
11. SOUTH (FRONT) ELEVATION, BAS RELIEF 'ESTABLISH JUSTICE'
12. SOUTH (FRONT) ELEVATION, BAS RELIEF 'PROVIDE FOR THE COMMON DEFENSE'
13. SOUTH (FRONT) ELEVATION, BAS RELIEF 'PROMOTE THE GENERAL WELFARE'
14. INTERIOR VIEW, EAST-WEST CORRIDOR SEEN THROUGH EAST SIDE ENTRY (NOTE GLASS BLOCK TRANSOM PROVIDING LIGHT INTO CORRIDOR)
VIEW OF LIMESTONE BAS RELIEF "PROMOTE THE GENERAL WELFARE" ON SOUTH ELEVATION. RESHOOT OF MD-979-13 AFTER REMOVAL OF RAILING.
General view looking from the southeast (duplicate of HABS No. MD-979-4)
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