Restored, Saved, Lost, Threatened
By Elizabeth McNamara | From Preservation | November/December 2009
Ennis House Built at the base of Los Angeles' Santa Monica Mountains in 1924, Frank Lloyd Wright's Ennis House was severely damaged in the 1994 Northridge quake, and added to the National Trust's 2005 list of America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places. Now, after an approximately $6.5 million stabilization and restoration effort led by the Ennis House Foundation, the Mayan-inspired house is for sale for $15 million. At 6,000 square feet, it is the largest of Wright's four textile-block homes and features the last intact Wright-designed, glass-tile mosaic fireplace. The building still needs an estimated $5 million to $7 million in restoration.
Eustis Street Firehouse Built in 1859 by local architect John Roulestone Hall, this Italianate structure is the oldest firehouse in Boston. Used by the Roxbury Fire Department until 1922, it changed hands several times before it was abandoned in the early 1960s and fell into disrepair. The nonprofit preservation organization Historic Boston plans to restore the brick, granite, and wood firehouse and use the space as its headquarters. Construction will begin next April, and the group plans to move in late next year.
Old City Hall Vacant since 1999, the National Historic Landmark courthouse located blocks from the U.S. Capitol reopened last spring as the new home of the D.C. Court of Appeals. Preservation and design firm Beyer Blinder Belle oversaw the four-year $100 million restoration and expansion of the building, designed by George Hadfield in 1820. Workers restored marble and terrazzo flooring, wainscoting, and the decorative plasterwork long hidden above drop ceilings.
Cornish Memorial AME Zion Church Former slave Sandy Cornish organized the building of this American Gothic church in 1865 as a home for the first black congregation in Key West, Fla. After nearly 150 years, the city appropriated $417,000 for a multiphase renovation project to repair rotten trusses, replace the tin roof, and repaint the clapboard structure. The first phase concluded in June with the restoration of the facade and interior. A second phase, including renovation of the sides, back, and roof, should be completed this fall.
Ross Cemetery A 167-year-old Cherokee burial ground in Park Hill, Okla., is undergoing restoration. The first phase of the project, which cost $60,000, included building a new concrete foundation for the raised burial area, reconstructing the surrounding limestone walls and columns, and straightening and repainting a wrought-iron fence. A second phase costing $120,000 will focus on improving the surrounding area, which already includes Trail of Tears medallions and a granite memorial to the first president of the Cherokee Nation, Chief John Ross. The cemetery is listed on the National Register.
La Ronda This sprawling Mediterranean Revival estate near Bryn Mawr, Pa., stood as a rare example of architect Addison Mizner's work in the Northeast. Earlier this year, the 51-room mansion, dating to 1929, sold for $6 million to a buyer who applied for a demolition permit, then authorized the stripping of the historic mansion. Mizner's grand villa was demolished in October.
Riverview High School With its clean, horizontal planes, exposed steel frame, and generous glazing, Florida's Riverview High School exemplified Modernist architect Paul Rudolph's early Sarasota style. The building was completed in 1958 but underwent drastic alterations in ensuing years, compromising Rudolph's vision and the school's bold form. Vocal opposition from architecture and design communities notwithstanding, Sarasota's school board voted 3-2 in June to raze the structure for a parking lot. The building was demolished over the summer.
Worcester State Hospital Local architect Ward P. Delano designed this 1874 hospital in Worcester, Mass., inspired by Dr. Thomas Story Kirkbride’s theory that first-class facilities would aid in the treatment of the mentally ill. The Victorian Gothic asylum was damaged by fire in 1991, and much of the structure was razed last year to make room for a new state psychiatric complex. The clock tower and administration building (shown above) still stand, but despite their location in a National Register-listed district, both are threatened by neglect. Preservationists hope to save the tower by selling it to an interested buyer.
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