Camp Anza

Los Angeles ABC 7 news covers Wakeland Housing’s Camp Anza
Veterans Housing project

Wakeland Housing and Development Corporation’s Home Front at Camp Anza project has caught the attention of ABC7 News, Los Angeles.  Wakeland, with general contractor Sun Country Builders, is rehabilitating a World War II Officers’ Club in Riverside, and building thirty homes which will house disabled veterans and their families.

Historic

 


A Historic Past

Camp Anza was a military camp during World War II and a staging area for the Los Angeles Port of Embarkation. When the United States entered World War II after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, over 600,000 military personnel passed through the Camp over the course of three years. Numerous buildings were constructed, primarily wood army barracks. Other buildings, including a headquarters, an Officers’ Club, a chapel and a laundry facility, were added over time.   The Camp was decommissioned in 1946, and was subsequently subdivided for housing developments. Many of the buildings were demolished.  Some of the barracks were converted into single-family homes on-site, and some were moved, and the buildings that were retained, including the Officers’ Club, were significantly modified.  The use and look of Arlanza, as the Camp Anza area came to be known, changed greatly.

 

A Promising Future

Growing up in the 1960s in the Arlanza neighborhood of Riverside, a boy named Frank Teurlay played in and around the remnants of Camp Anza, and in adulthood, although he had moved away from Riverside, he began to find out all he could about the history of Camp Anza.  In particular, he became driven by the idea of preserving the Officers’ Club, and he approached city representatives, who were persuaded by his vision.  In 2012, the City of Riverside issued an RFP for a project which would include the preservation of the Officers’ Club, and the construction of new housing for disabled veterans and their families.  What could be more appropriate?

 

Home Front at Camp Anza, and the Rehabilitation of the Officers’ Club

After the sale of the Camp Anza complex, and the repurposing or destruction of many of the buildings, the Officers’ Club stayed on, becoming a Moose Lodge for decades.  Eventually, however, the deteriorating building fell out of use.  The RFP for renovation of the building, and for construction of housing for veterans, was won by Wakeland Housing and Development, a non-profit developer of affordable housing throughout California, and the project was named Home Front at Camp Anza.  Sun Country Builders, a general contractor which has specialized in the construction and renovation of affordable multi-family housing since the early 1980s was retained to do the construction work.  Thirty new homes for disabled veterans and their families are being constructed, and every effort is being made to return the Officers’ Club to a condition as original as reasonably possible.  A historic consultant oversees the work and has set demanding standards for preservation.  For instance, Sun Country Builders is carefully reinstalling the original Douglas Fir siding, and the original interior flooring has been saved, and will be re-installed.  New foundations are also being constructed in place, beneath the building.

 

Postscript

Frank Teurlay recently said, “Great movies often have a moment of real darkness, of hopelessness, which gives meaning to the ultimate resolution.  That’s what has happened at Camp Anza.  Helping to bring the Officers’ Club from the brink of demolition to preservation has been a journey of enormous satisfaction.”  It’s also resulted in enormous satisfaction for Sun Country Builders, as we are given the opportunity to contribute to the preservation and to the development of the community.