From 1910 to the 1970s, the site on which Crispus Attucks Park sits today belonged to the Chesapeake & Potomac Telephone Company, which operated a telephone switching station and cable yard there. C&P closed down operations on the property in the late 1960s, leaving behind an abandoned 8,275 square foot building and a 1.06 acre cement and asphalt pad strewn with industrial cables and spindles. The site sat neglected for nearly a decade, until neighbors began a campaign to convince C&P to convey the building and land to the neighborhood so it could be used as a community center and training facility for neighborhood youth. The campaign succeeded, and in 1977 the community group incorporated as "NUV-1," a 501c3 nonprofit named after the four streets that border the property: North Capitol Street NW, U Street NW, V Street NW, and 1st Street NW. Inspired by this story of collective community action and vision, the George Hyman Construction Company renovated the building at no charge, using scores of volunteers from the community for much of the work.
In 1978, the community center began operation as Crispus Attucks Park of the Arts, and NUV-1 saw its final name change, to the Crispus Attucks Development Corporation (CADC). Activities were initially funded by renting out the building for weekend social events, but soon the center began receiving annual funding from the DC Department of Parks and Recreation. The center's programs were targeted largely to youth, and included classes in visual arts, photography, bicycle repair, music, dramatic arts, auto and home repairs, and crime prevention. The center also administered a summer construction and neighborhood revitalization program. Eventually, historical and fine art objects were put on display inside the building, and the center became CAMPA -- the Crispus Attucks Museum and Park of the Arts.