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1942 USO Bldg. Convention Center
A Home Away from Home: The Hawthorne 1942 USO Building

            Nevada had its share of USO centers, most of which operated in existing buildings.  Only in Las Vegas and Hawthorne were buildings constructed expressly to house USO activities.  The Las Vegas USO has long since been demolished, but the Hawthorne building remains, continuing to serve the community as a convention center.  Because it is an important symbol of the historic role of the military in the small town, Hawthorne’s role in the nation’s war effort, and as one of a mere handful of remaining USO buildings, the Hawthorne USO building was listed in the National Register of Historic Places.  …
          …The Hawthorne Depot was the principle naval ammunition plant on the west coast following the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, creating a need for its expansion.  Between 1941 and 1944, the Depot was enlarged to include housing and support facilities for workers and their families. … By November 1941, Hawthorne was receiving benefits under the Defense Public Works Act in the form of a $45,000 grant for the USO building.
            Even before the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, there were plans for a USO building in Hawthorne.  The small town was beset with servicemen and civilian workers as the winds of war were blowing over Europe.  Announcement of a community center to serve the needs of Hawthorne and the influx of wartime workers came on September 30, 1941. The formal opening of the Hawthorne USO facility occurred Saturday, January 31, 1942, with a dance called the President’s Ball. 
            At its peak, the Hawthorne USO had three professional workers and as many as 10,000 visitors per month.  Over the course of the war, the Hawthorne USO saw much action, including dances, receptions, banquets, awards ceremonies, music, movies, and dramatic performances, boxing matches, and meetings of various groups and organizations.  The building was used by servicemen, civilian war production workers, infants and toddlers, school children,…, the Red Cross, …, the Council of Churches, and many others.  The facility served the community as much as it served the military, and nearly every aspect of Hawthorne society passed through its doors from 1942 through 1945.  Following the war the building reverted to the county … to be used as a community and recreation center, a role it continues to play today.
            Throughout the war years, the Hawthorne USO fulfilled the mission of the organization, to be a “home away from home” for U.S. servicemen and war workers.  The Hawthorne USO building was constructed expressly for that purpose; one of only two built in Nevada, and the only one to remain.  The Hawthorne USO is an important symbol of the historic role of the military in the small town, and Hawthorne's role in the nation’s war effort.  The Hawthorne USO is currently undergoing a historical restoration of the stage, ballroom, and two dressing rooms.  The project is expected to be completed in May 2011, in time for Armed Forces Day.
 Mella Rothwell Harmon

RENT THIS 1942 USO

Seats 299 People, Cathedral wood Truss Ceilings. Restored 1942 Auditorium / Ballroom. Full stage and pass thru Kitchen with Fireplace in Lobby. Hardwood Floors through out.


Finishing in May 2012 there was a Historic Restoration of the inside of the Auditorium & Lobby which was designed by RAFI Architecture & Design of Las Vegas. The work included managing and directing the reconstruction and upgrading of those 2 areas of the historic structure to comply with current codes. The project's construction documents were specifically created to be understood and used by local workers inexperienced in dealing with complex structural and historic preservation technicalities. The work was directed by Dr. Robert Fielden, NCARB, FAIA, a RAFI principal.