Opening in December 1941, the USO Club at Second and Orange in downtown Wilmington was built by the Army Corps of Engineers at a cost of $80,000. Managed by Thalian Association Community Theatre since 1994, the building is now known as the Hannah Block Historic USO Community Arts Center.
The building is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and was renamed to honor one of Wilmington’s most distinguished civic leaders and World War II veterans.
It operated 24 hours a day, seven days a week and served as the off-duty destination of hundreds of thousands of armed forces personnel that trained in the area.
Four charitable organizations affiliated with the USO and a host of volunteers kept it running. At the height of World War II, attendance reached 63,000 per month, with such events as big band dances, plays, music recitals and weekly radio broadcasts featured. Authentic uniforms and art from World War II are on display at the facility.
The City of Wilmington purchased the building when the USO ended its full-time operations. Over the years, the building’s use has evolved so that today, it serves as a major cultural resource for New Hanover County.
Classes are offered in a variety of visual and performing arts disciplines and the building is home to the Orange Street Potters. The building also hosts crews for movies, television shows and commercials. In addition, rehearsal space is provided to local nonprofit theater companies and plays are staged in the auditorium.
For more information visit For more information visit www.wilmingtoncommunityarts.org