Greenbelt in Prince George's County, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
The Greenbelt Community Center, originally the Greenbelt Center Elementary School and Community Building, was completed in the autumn of 1937, just in time for Greenbelt’s first occupants. From the beginning, residents also used the buildings for meetings, adult education classes, recreation, clubs and sports teams, a town hall, library, and church services.
Greenbelt’s principle architects, Douglas D. Ellington and Reginald Wadsworth, designed the building in a streamlined Art Deco style. The glass blocks used in the stairwells for light, the streamlined inverted buttresses or cantilevered struts, and the four Indiana Limestone friezes on the facade are decorative elements typical of this style.
As the number of students grew, the building also grew with a new wing added onto the building’s north side (just visible on
In March 1996, this renovated building reopened as a dedicated community center. The building continues to play a central role in the community as a meeting and recreational facility for all age groups including: a nursery school, an adult day-care center, a pottery studio, adult and children’s art studio, private artists’ studios, the Greenbelt Museum’s exhibit room, the Greenbelt News Review’s office, a public access television studio, a summer camp facility, and an auditorium/gymnasium.
A forested green space once surrounded the Community Center. The public library to your immediate left was built in 1970. Originally is was housed in a classroom inside the former school and museum.
(Photo captions on right side of marker) (Caption 1) The sculptor of the friezes, Leonore Thomas, worked on several government projects during the Depression. It took Thomas and an assistant over a year to complete the friezes. The carvings represent the Preamble to the United States Constitution. While working on the friezes, Thomas remarked, “We want to keep the designs bold and simple and sufficiently obvious that, with
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Architecture • Charity & Public Work • Education • Settlements & Settlers. In addition, it is included in the Art Deco series list. A significant historical month for this entry is March 1996.
Location. 39° 0.056′ N, 76° 52.693′ W. Marker is in Greenbelt, Maryland, in Prince George's County. Marker can be reached from the intersection of Crescent Road and Southway. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Greenbelt MD 20770, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Eleanor Roosevelt (within shouting distance of this marker); City of Greenbelt (within shouting distance of this marker); Swimming Pool (about Roosevelt Center (about 600 feet away); Greenbelt Museum (about 700 feet away); Gas Station (approx. 0.2 miles away); Greenbelt Historic District (approx. 0.3 miles away); Greenbelt (approx. 0.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Greenbelt.
Also see . . . In Greenbelt's Town Center, a Fine New Deal. 2000 article by Benjamin Forgey in The Washington Post. (Submitted on September 16, 2007.)
Credits. This page was last revised on September 14, 2020. It was originally submitted on September 12, 2007, by Tom Fuchs of Greenbelt, Maryland. This page has been viewed 1,839 times since then and 22 times this year. Photos: 1. submitted on September 12, 2007, by Tom Fuchs of Greenbelt, Maryland. 2, 3, 4. submitted on January 28, 2008, by Tom Fuchs of Greenbelt, Maryland. 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10. submitted on September 12, 2007, by Tom Fuchs of Greenbelt, Maryland. • J. J. Prats was the editor who published this page.