The National Trust’s List of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places

Posted on June 8, 2012

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The United States is rich with history thanks to our ancestors, but it’s up to us today to preserve the physical remains of our past.  The National Trust for Historic Preservation put together an list of the 11 most endangered historic sites in the United States. So whether it’s the past or the future that you’re looking at, Market Maps can help with an antique or current wall map.  Check out our selection today at www.marketmaps.com.  

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**Images and text below is reblogged from the National Trust for Historic Preservation

1. Village of Zoar, Zoar, OH

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The Village of Zoar was founded in 1817 by a group of separatists who fled Germany in search of religious freedom. Not only does Zoar help to tell the story of immigration to the United States, it illustrates the history of settlement throughout this region. As part of a multi-year study of alternatives for solving the Zoar levee problem, the Army Corps is following a review process that requires federal agencies to consider the effects of their activities on historic properties. Through the process, the Army Corps should seek alternatives that will protect Zoar.

 

2. Joe Frazier’s Gym

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Inside this modest, three-story brick building, Joe Frazier – a gold medal winner at the 1964 Olympics and later Heavyweight Champion of the World – trained for his victorious bout against Muhammad Ali. Today, the converted warehouse where Smokin’ Joe perfected his punch is home to a discount furniture store and two floors of vacant space. Despite growing interest in commemorating Frazier’s life (he died in 2011), the gym is unprotected; it enjoys no formal historic designation at the local or national level.

3. Bridges of Yosemite Valley, Yosemite, CA 

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In 1864, Yosemite became the nation’s first park devoted to the protection of natural scenery. Today, nearly four million visitors a year journey to its spectacular centerpiece, the seven-mile-long Yosemite Valley, framed by the world-famous Half Dome, El Capitan, and Yosemite Falls. A Merced River Management Plan should protect the river while preserving its iconic and historic bridges.

4. Historic Courthouses of Texas. State of Texas

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Texas courthouses helped establish a unique identity for each of the state’s counties, and 234 of the state’s 244 county-owned historic courthouses are still in active government use. Unfortunately, many – including some of the oldest and most architecturally distinguished – have fallen into disrepair due to inadequate funding and maintenance.

5. Princeton Battlefield, Princeton, NJ

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On these New Jersey fields, George Washington rallied his forces to defeat British troops, a crucial turning point in the Revolutionary War. A portion of the battle site, however, faces significant threats, including a 15-unit housing development for faculty of the Institute for Advanced Study. As proposed, the project would radically alter the integrity of a rare, intact battlefield.

Waged 235 years ago, the battle at Princeton transformed prospects for the American Revolution. Not only did Washington’s success inspire countless soldiers to renew their commissions, it reinvigorated support for the sometimes desperate Colonial effort .The story of our country’s fight for independence is incomplete without a fully preserved Princeton Battlefield.

6. Malcom X – Ella Little-Collins House, Boston, Massachusetts

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Built in 1874, this modest structure is the last known surviving boyhood home of Malcolm X. He shared the house with his half sister, Ella Little-Collins, whose son is the current owner. Largely vacant for over 30 years, plans are in development to rehabilitate and reuse the deteriorating property. In partnership with Historic Boston, Rodnell Collins dreams of preserving Malcolm X’s legacy by transforming the house into living quarters for graduate students who are studying African American history, social justice, or civil rights.

7. Terminal Island, Los Angeles

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In recent years, the Port of Los Angeles has neglected historic buildings at Terminal Island – a pattern that plagues industrial sites around the country. A plan introduced in 2011 calls for the demolition of more structures and fails to endorse the idea of adaptive reuse. Local preservationists fear this plan could be the model for an even larger plan that would permit more needless destruction.

8. Sweet Auburn Historic District, Atlanta, Georgia

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The historic district dominated by Auburn Avenue, once known as “the richest Negro street in the world,” spiraled into decline in the 1980s. In 1992, the National Trust added Sweet Auburn to its list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places. Although the residential portion of the Sweet Auburn Historic District has enjoyed a distinct turnaround – thanks largely to the efforts of the Historic District Development Corporation – the commercial area concentrated on Auburn Avenue has not fared as well. Without a preservation-focused revitalization plan, deterioration and inappropriate development may gravely impact its historic character

9. Ellis Island, New York Harbor, NY and NJ, New York

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Part of the Ellis Island National Monument, this mostly unused complex of buildings near the restored Immigration Museum once comprised the largest U.S. Public Health Service institution in the country. Today, few Americans realize that portions of Ellis Island are un-restored and off limits to visitors. The National Park Service stabilized the hospital structures here a decade ago, but millions of dollars still must be raised to rehabilitate the interiors of these historic buildings.

10. Historic Post Office Buildings, Nationwide

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Local post office buildings have traditionally played an essential role in the lives of millions of Americans. Many are architecturally distinctive, prominently located, and cherished as civic icons in communities across the country. Unless the U.S. Postal Service establishes a clear, consistent process that follows federal preservation law when considering disposal of these buildings, a significant part of the nation’s architectural heritage will be at risk.

11.Theodore Roosevelt’s Elkhorn Ranch, Billings County, North Dakota

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Theodore Roosevelt hunted, ran cattle, and explored this expansive ranch in the rugged North Dakota Badlands in the late 19th century. It was here that the 26th president of the United States developed a deep appreciation for the American West and for conservation. Unfortunately, the serenity of the ranch, which lies on both sides of the Little Missouri River, is threatened by a proposed new road that would introduce a visual disruption, as well as traffic, noise, and dust.

 

As early as the 1880s, Roosevelt witnessed the environmental degradation in the Badlands wrought by overgrazing and overhunting, an experience that led directly to the development of his influential conservation beliefs. Today, incompatible road development imperils the Elkhorn Ranch landscape. Similar development threatens countless historic places on public lands across the country.


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