Mesa Recognizes History Of Washington-Escobedo Neighborhood
Mesa’s Washington-Escobedo neighborhood has a history that stretches back to the days of African-American segregation in the early 1900s. It has since grown to include a large Hispanic population.
This week the Mesa voted to formally recognize that history and named Washington-Escobedo its first Heritage Neighborhood.
The program requires neighborhoods to be at least 50 years old and submit documentation about the area’s unique history. Heritage designation has fewer restrictions than a historical designation, which requires more architectural preservation.
Maria Mancinas has been a resident of the neighborhood for more than 30 years, but it wasn’t until she started researching the Heritage application that she learned about the area’s history as an enclave for African-Americans. For example, it was once home to the city’s first black doctor.
“Even though it’s a small area, these were people with faith and hope,” Mancinas said.
Mancinas said the recognition is part of the neighborhood's overall plan to increase the quality of life for its residents.
The Heritage designation doesn’t come with any guaranteed funding or building restrictions, but it could make city grants available to the neighborhood.
Mesa will install new street signs that recognize Washington-Escobedo’s Heritage status.
Mancinas said she hopes it will bring a greater awareness of the area’s history, especially as Mesa continues to grow.
“So my children, my children’s children and other neighbor’s children continue to tell the stories and continue improving the quality of life,” Mancinas said.