A Lexington community center that was once shuttered has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Charles Young Center, named after a freed slave who was the highest-ranking black officer in the military at the time of his death in 1922, was built using federal funds in 1934. The National Register of Historic Places recognizes buildings and other significant historical and cultural resources.
At a news conference Wednesday, Councilman James Brown, who represents the East End of downtown Lexington, said the Charles Young Center and its park have played a significant role in the lives of East End residents. Its placement on the National Register of Historic Places was deserved.
“Colonel Charles Young, the first African-American with that military rank, lived a significant life. And it’s only fitting that the community center that bears his name has also played a significant role in the lives of so many people in our community. It is truly an honor to witness this building being added to the National Registry. The center, the park and its history will continue to be an inspirational landmark for east end residents and all of Lexington.”
Young was born into slavery in Mays Lick in 1864, according to the city. His family was freed after his father escaped to Ohio and joined the United States Colored Troops. Young attended West Point and graduated in 1889, the third black man to graduate from the prestigious military college. The Charles Young Center on East Third Street closed in 2008 but eventually re-opened in 2012. Plans at one point called for the center to be demolished to make way for a new road but neighborhood residents protested and saved the building from demolition.