Restored, Saved, Threatened, Lost
By Elizabeth McNamara | From Preservation | September/October 2011
Handy Chapel This simple brick-and-wood chapel in Grand Junction, Colo., was built in 1892 as a place of worship, and became a way station for African American travelers turned away from nearby inns and hotels. Now, with a dwindling congregation, the National Register-listed building suffers from a failing roof, boarded-up windows and doors, and deteriorating floors. An estimated $300,000 is needed to restore the chapel and bring it into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Colorado Preservation, which placed the chapel on its annual Most Endangered Places list this year, hopes to help raise funds to complete a full-scale restoration of the sanctuary and adjacent Chapel House.
Jefferson Pools An aging Thomas Jefferson took the waters in the Warm Springs, Va., bathhouse that now bears his name. Constructed in 1761 and complemented by a women's bathhouse added later, the building and its neighbor are fed by springs that continuously refresh the thermal pools. Today, floors in the structures sag from dampness and wear, shingles are missing from the roofs, and beams and posts have deteriorated. The current owner, KSL Resorts, announced the potential sale of The Homestead Resort, which manages the pools, in February. Preservationists fear the National Register-listed structures will deteriorate beyond repair if maintenance continues to be deferred. They hope to find a buyer to restore the site.
Cedar Square West Designed by Ralph Rapson, widely considered the most influential Minnesota architect of the 20th century, this housing complex was constructed in Minneapolis between 1971 and 1973. Noted for its Brutalist towers and recognized as a nationally significant example of urban redevelopment, the complex—now home to more than 4,500 residents—was placed on the National Register last year. That same year, demolition rumors began to circulate. But a group of investors partnered with the city in April to finance what has become the largest HUD-supported restoration in the country. The $132 million project is scheduled to be completed in December 2012.
Phillis Wheatley Elementary Designed in 1954 by architect Charles Colbert as a segregated school for black students, the Phillis Wheatley Elementary School was considered one of the most innovative examples of modern architecture in New Orleans. A cantilevered steel truss structure with a shaded play area beneath classrooms, the school was widely praised for its use of space. Local officials shuttered Wheatley Elementary following Hurricane Katrina, even though it had suffered only minor storm damage. An 11th-hour effort to save the building failed, and it was razed in June.
Juana Briones House In 1844, Juana Briones y Tapia de Miranda purchased a 4,400-acre ranch near present-day Palo Alto, Calif.—a rare achievement for a woman at that time. She retained title to the property after California joined the Union in 1850. Beginning in the early 1900s, the core of the vernacular ranch house was significantly renovated and altered. In recent decades, the structure sat vacant and deteriorating despite local landmark status. After a demolition permit was filed by new owners, the National Trust named the site to its 2010 list of America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places. An appeals court ultimately concluded that the permit was valid, and crews demolished the house in June.
MVCMA Tabernacle Built in 1879, the tabernacle remains the centerpiece of the Martha's Vineyard Camp-Meeting Association, a nonprofit religious group established in the mid-19th century. In 2000, the tabernacle was designated an Official Project of Save America's Treasures, a public-private partnership between the National Trust and the National Park Service. Beginning in 2002, the wrought-iron structure, designed by J.W. Hoyt, underwent a $2.5 million restoration that focused on structural integrity and refurbishment of the interiors. But today, the tabernacle's corrugated cement roof is leaking. Association members need an additional $1 million to replace the failing roof and complete exterior restoration.
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