Greenbelt Community Building, 15 Crescent Road, Greenbelt, Prince George's County, MD
Significance: The Greenbelt Community Building is a focal point of activity for this important, early planned community. It was first used as a combination community meeting hall and school building and later exclusively as a school. Greenbelt is a product of the Great Depression of the 1930s. It is a cooperative planned community, conceived and constructed by the Resettlement Administration, an outgrowth of Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal idealism. Greenbelt was an early experiment in social and economic welfare. The intent was to provide affordable rental housing for low- to moderate-income groups in an environment that encouraged self help through a cooperative living program, as well as provide jobs (construction) for those on relief. The Greenbelt Community Building is architecturally significant as a good surviving example of the 1920s-1930s Art Deco/Art Moderne styles. Its sleek, streamlined form, with minimal architectural ornamentation, exemplifies the styling of the period. Furthermore, the artistic depression-era bas relief sculptures which line the facade are both architecturally and historically significant. Carved by Works Progress Administration (WPA) artist Lenore Thomas, they reflect the social and economic concerns of the post-depression era, an interest in the common man and the pursuit of democratic ideals. They are both optimistic and forward-looking.
Survey number: HABS MD-979
Building/structure dates: 1937 Initial Construction
Building/structure dates: 1968 Subsequent Work