The Jacksonville USO building was completed in early 1942 and is the longest used USO in America. The United Services Organization (USO) had been formed only a year earlier by a request from President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. At the beginning of World War II Roosevelt planned to rely on private organizations to provide on leave recreational facilities for the armed forces. Six organizations formed the USO: the Salvation Army, the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA), Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA), National Catholic Community Services, National Jewish Welfare Board, and the Traveler’s Aid Association. The building was constructed by the Federal Works Agency using appropriations passed as part of the Lanham Act, which included provisions for the construction of 51 USO buildings in 19 states. Of the original 51 USO buildings that were part of this original building campaign and consequently became designated as “Type A,” only three survive. Besides this one in Jacksonville, N.C., the other two are located in Wilmington, N.C., and DeRidder, La. The last in DeRidder was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1992 (Anderson 2004). The Jacksonville USO was formally dedicated April 19, 1942. Two other buildings not specifically built for the USO was used by the African-American Marines and the Marine Corps Women’s Reserve. Both of these centers ceased operation at the end of World War II. The USO was disbanded by Congress in 1947 and officially reactivated in 1952. The ownership of the Jacksonville USO was transferred to Marine Corps Base, Camp Lejeune in 1954. Since that date the base had leased the building to the Jacksonville USO.
Management Plan for United Services Organization (USO) Building
United Services Organization
(from Semper Fi)
The United Services Organization (USO) was formed in 1941 as a joint effort of the Salvation Army, YMCA, YWCA, National Catholic Community Services, National Travelers Aid Association, and the National Jewish Welfare Board to help provide off-duty recreational opportunities for members of the U.S. Armed Forces. The Jacksonville USO building on Anne Street was formally dedicated on 19 April 1942. Aseparate USO for African-American Marines operated during World War II, first on Newberry Street and then on Poplar Street. Members of Marine Corps Women's Reserves, and also female civilian workers at Camp Lejeune, enjoyed a special USO annex established for them on New Bridge Street during the war. The Jacksonville USO is the oldest continuously active USO in the world.
The USO building located on Tallman Street. As many as 12,000 personnel per month visited the facility during World War II.