Transitions

Restored, Saved, Threatened, Lost

In Limbo

Grand Army of the Republic Building  This Detroit structure, designed by architect Julius Hess, opened in 1899 as a club for Civil War veterans. After the last member died in 1942, the Richardsonian Romanesque building was turned over to the city's Department of Parks and Recreation, which ran it as a community center until boarding it up in 1982 to cut costs. A Detroit-based creative studio called Mindfield wants to purchase and restore the building, but negotiations with the city have now stalled, and the site's future remains uncertain.  

Threatened

Nevada City Courthouse  The 1864 courthouse in Nevada City, Calif., features a magnificent Art Deco facade, added during the 1930s as part of a Works Progress Administration restoration project. Now, citing problems with parking and the challenge of conducting modern security screenings inside the historic entrance, state officials plan to vacate the building and construct a new courthouse for an estimated $108 million. Civic leaders worry that a new courthouse on a different site will adversely affect the economy of Nevada City's downtown, which relies on courthouse employees and visitors. Preservationists and local residents are working to persuade officials to restore the -historic structure instead.

United States National Arboretum Azaleas  Horticulturist Benjamin Y. Morrison worked for more than 25 years to breed an azalea hardy enough to survive mid-Atlantic winters. By 1947, he had planted approximately 15,000 specimens at the National Arboretum in Washington, D.C. Today, the arboretum attracts about 80,000 visitors each spring who come to see the blooming bushes, which make up one of the world's best and most genetically diverse collections. When arboretum officials recently learned they would lose an annual $110,000 private grant that funded gardeners' salaries, they announced plans to cut down thousands of the azaleas as a cost-saving measure. Local residents have implored the arboretum to reconsider and find new funding to save the prized shrubs.

Lost

Boeing Plant 2  During World War II, this massive plant in Seattle employed as many as 30,000 workers who manufactured thousands of B-17 Flying Fortresses. The facility was so crucial to the war effort that the Army Corps of Engineers camouflaged it, as shown here, protecting it against enemy bombing by building faux streets and houses made of plywood on the roof. Following the war, the factory manufactured B-52s and other aircraft, but after Boeing -halted production in the late 1960s, the site deteriorated. In October, after salvaging historic artifacts, including several -bombers, the company began demolishing Plant 2.

Restored

Hotel Stowell  Built in 1913, this downtown Los Angeles hotel, located in a banking district dubbed the Wall Street of the West, was once home to Charlie Chaplin. Shuttered in 1992, the Gothic Revival and Art Nouveau building reopened in August as the El Dorado Lofts following a $25.7 million restoration that lasted three years. The lobby's columns and walls feature prized tiles produced in the early 1900s by the Pasadena-based Batchelder-Wilson Company.

Newburgh West Shore Train Station  In 1909, architects Whitney Warren and Charles Wetmore designed this depot for Newburgh, N.Y., a few years before completing their most celebrated commission, Grand Central Terminal. Newburgh's station closed in 1958, subsequently enduring multiple fires and decades of neglect. In November, the building reopened after a local businessman purchased the property and restored it as a playhouse and restaurant.

Saved

The old JoJo's Café  Originally built as a residence and grocery store, this 1860 building in the St. Anne's Hill Historic District of Dayton, Ohio, thrived for nearly three-quarters of a century as JoJo's Café, known for its pulled-pork sandwiches. After the building was shuttered in 2008, a group of local residents purchased the property and began restoration work. They plan to reopen the building as a brew pub.  

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