The 11 Most Endangered Historic Sites in U.S. Named
The National Trust for Historic Preservation released its 2009 list of the most endangered historic sites in the America yesterday, and it’s a delicate mix of architectural and historical treasures. Some sites have been damaged by hurricanes, others are threatened by developers who seek to tear them down. But all of them have a role in the American experience, from a building which first served as a schoolhouse for freed slaves, to the hangar for the Enola Gay, to Lana’i City, the Dole company town in Hawaii with it’s fruit-hued plantation homes. Check out National Geographic News for a slideshow of the sites and read through the complete list, as released by the Trust, after the jump.
Have you visited these sites? Do you think they should be perserved? Let us know in the comments.
Ames Shovel Shops, Easton, Mass. — The complex, an intact 19th-century industrial village that resembles a New England college campus, is threatened by a plan to demolish several of the site’s historic buildings and radically alter others to pave the way for new mixed-use development.
Cast-Iron Architecture of Galveston, Texas — The assemblage of late 19th-century Greek Revival and Italianate buildings with elaborate cast-iron storefronts in Galveston’s 12-block Strand/Mechanic National Historic Landmark District is one of the largest collections of historic commercial buildings in the country.
Widespread flooding caused by Hurricane Ike in September 2008 caused extensive damage.
Century Plaza Hotel, Los Angeles, Calif. — Opened in 1966, the 19-story curved hotel was designed by Minoru Yamasaki, the architect of New York’s World Trade Center twin towers. Despite a $36 million facelift just over a year ago, the hotel’s new owners now intend to raze the building and replace it with two 600-foot towers.
Dorchester Academy, Midway, Ga. — Founded in 1868 as a school for freed slaves, Dorchester Academy started humbly in a one-room schoolhouse and later gained prominence as a center for voter registration drives during the civil rights movement. The academy’s last remaining building, a 1934 Greek Revival dormitory, is deteriorating and structurally compromised.
Human Services Center, Yankton, S.D. — Founded in 1879 as the South Dakota Hospital for the Insane and once regarded as a model institution of its kind, this campus comprises a collection of neoclassical, Art Deco and Italianate buildings that have stood vacant for years. Despite the site’s potential for innovative reuse and appropriate redevelopment, the State is moving forward with plans to demolish 11 historic buildings on the Yankton campus.
The Manhattan Project’s Enola Gay Hangar, Wendover Airfield, Utah
— The hangar that housed the Enola Gay, the B-29 Superfortress that dropped the world’s first atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan, on August 6, 1945, is, along with other Manhattan Project sites, in a critical state of disrepair.
Memorial Bridge, Portsmouth, N.H. to Kittery, Me. — For more than 85 years, Memorial Bridge, the first major lift bridge in the eastern U.S., has been a sturdy landmark, spanning the Piscataqua River and connecting two coastal towns. But the bridge has suffered from tight budgets and postponed maintenance. Maine and New Hampshire are now considering their options, including its removal.
- Nat Geo Expeditions
Miami Marine Stadium, Virginia Key, Fla. — Completed in 1963, Miami Marine Stadium is both a South Florida landmark and an icon of modern design. Built entirely of poured concrete and featuring a dramatically cantilevered folded-plate roof, the stadium is a sentimental favorite of many Miami residents. After sustaining damage during Hurricane Andrew in 1992, the stadium, a prime target for developers, closed and has since suffered from years of deterioration, vandalism and neglect.
Mount Taylor, near Grants, N.M. — Located in the southwestern corner of New Mexico’s San Mateo Mountains, Mount Taylor, with an elevation of nearly 12,000 feet, is a sacred place for as many as 30 Native American tribes. Currently, the mountain is under threat from exploration and proposals for uranium mining.
Unity Temple, Oak Park, Ill. — Frank Lloyd Wright’s Unity Temple, designed for a Unitarian congregation, is widely acknowledged as a masterpiece of 20th-century architecture. Completed in 1908, the cubist, flat-roofed structure is also one of the earliest public buildings to feature exposed concrete, one of Wright’s signature design elements. Years of water infiltration have compromised the structure, prompting a multi-million-dollar rescue effort that the current congregation cannot afford.
Photograph by Jim Richardson/NGS