History & MOAH:CEDAR

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The Cedar Center for the Arts is a historic building complex approaching 100 years old, made up of several buildings on the southwest corner of Cedar Avenue and Lancaster Boulevard. It is made up of several buildings including the old sheriff’s station and jail, the Memorial Hall, arts classrooms, MOAH:CEDAR galleries, and the 606 building. The use of the Cedar Avenue Historic District site for community purposes has a history extending from 1910 onward, with major use taking place from 1938 to 1962.

The Cedar Avenue Complex was originally built in 1923 to serve as a library, justice court, sheriff’s station, jail and civic center. The small 1923 holding jail still stands today in its original capacity, now serving as a storage space.

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In December of 1937, a devastating fire destroyed large portions of the Cedar Avenue Complex including the library and justice court.

The Cedar Avenue Complex was rebuilt following the devastating fire of the year prior with construction finishing in October 1938. It is this rebuild that incorporated the Art Deco style exterior we see today, designed by Edward Brett. 

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During World War II, the Cedar Avenue Complex served as the center for Red Cross wartime food and clothing drives

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1961 marks the end of Cedar’s use as a sheriff station and jail after the construction of a larger facility to serve as the new Antelope Valley Civic Center, located on the corner of 10th St. West and Avenue J.

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In 1993, the Cedar Avenue Complex was put on the National Register of Historic Places. A year later, in 1994, it was designated as a California Historic Landmark.

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In 2014, extensive renovations restored the historic building complex. These updates were done in a way to preserve the building’s original character while also helping to reinforce and maintain its unique architectural features and style. Since 2014, it has served as a community and arts center, now designated as the Cedar Center for the Arts.

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In July of 1952, a strong earthquake centered in Kern County caused severe damage to the nearby water tower and surrounding area.

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1937
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1923
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1938
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1942
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1952
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1961
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1993
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2014
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