Election Results

Washington-Escobedo Heritage Neighborhood Receives Highest Historic Preservation Award in Arizona

November 5, 2021 at 7:36 am

The Washington-Escobedo Neighborhood Action Committee has been selected to receive the Governor's Heritage Preservation Honor Award, the highest award for historic preservation in the State of Arizona. This award recognizes the efforts of the Washington-Escobedo Neighborhood Action Committee to protect and promote the culture, tradition and people who have defined life in the neighborhood.

The Washington-Escobedo Heritage Neighborhood, with boundaries from Center Street to Mesa Drive and 6th Street to University Drive, had its roots during a time of segregation in the early 1900s that drove the residents of the area to create a close-knit community. It had its own school, Booker T. Washington; its own community center, Washington Activity Center; five churches and its own stores. Much of the residents' lives centered around their neighborhood.

"The character of our city is defined by the diversity of our neighborhoods. Recognizing their history empowers our citizens to create a dynamic and thriving Mesa," said Nana Appiah, City of Mesa Historic Preservation Officer. "This is quite an honor for the Washington-Escobedo Neighborhood Action Committee and well deserved. The Committee members are very passionate about preserving the rich and diverse history of their neighborhood."

Washington-Escobedo was the home and office of Dr. Lucius Alston, the first Black doctor in Mesa. During an era of segregation, Dr. Alston and his wife Velma, a nurse, treated members of the Black, Hispanic and Native American communities who were often turned away by other physicians. The Alston House, where Dr. Alston lived and worked, was acquired by the City of Mesa in 2007 and restored by funding from several sources. In 2012, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

"We are honored to receive this recognition from the state for our historic preservation efforts," said Maria Mancinas, Chair of the Washington-Escobedo Neighborhood Action Committee. "Our efforts to protect and promote our community extend beyond preservation, and it is my hope that our residents, especially the younger ones, will continue telling our stories, continue taking pride in our community and continue working to improve the quality of life in Washington-Escobedo."

The Honor Awards are given each year by the State of Arizona to individuals, organizations and projects in recognition of outstanding achievements in the preservation of Arizona's historic and cultural resources. The award to the Washington-Escobedo Neighborhood Action Committee was recently recognized at a Mesa City Council meeting and presented during the Arizona State Historic Preservation Conference.

The City of Mesa has eight locally designated historic districts and seven districts listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Mesa's Historic Preservation Office works to facilitate public knowledge and promote better awareness of the City's historic past, work with residents and business owners to preserve that history and encourage civic and neighborhood pride so future generations can appreciate and understand Mesa's unique cultural heritage. More information is available at https://www.mesaaz.gov/residents/historic-preservation-office#!/

Contact: Kevin Christopher
(480) 644-4699