Exterior of public housing unit to be preserved for Smithsonian

NEWARK - Baxter Terrace was opened in Newark as one of the nation's first public housing facilities back in 1941.

The housing unit was named after the principal of Newark's first black high school, Baxter Terrace. News 12 New Jersey spoke with James Harris, 64, who grew up at Baxter Terrace.

Harris tells News 12 New Jersey, "It was a family community out here when I grew up, people out here took care of each other's kids."

After years of financial and social neglect, Baxter Terrace closed its 500 apartments in 2009. Ninety new mixed-income apartments, known as Baxter Park, will open in June. Most of the old buildings in Baxter Terrace will be torn down by the end of the year.

However, a facade from one of the old buildings will be preserved forever. It's been taken down brick-by-brick, each one catalogued meticulously. It will be reassembled at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington.

Part of Baxter Terrace will debut at the Smithsonian's new African-American History museum in 2015.

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