Announcing America's 11 Most Endangered Places

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The National Trust’s 25th annual list includes Sweet Auburn in Atlanta, the birthplace of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and a once-thriving African-American commercial district that continues to be threatened by disinvestment; Joe Frazier’s Gym in Philadelphia, longtime training center for the recently deceased boxing legend and U.S. Olympian which is currently for sale and facing an uncertain future; historic U.S. Post Office buildings threatened by a haphazard disposition process that is causing willing buyers and developers to walk away; the Village of Zoar in Ohio, a beautifully preserved historic town vulnerable to destruction by flooding if a protective levee is removed; and the Ellis Island Hospital Complex in New York, an important part of the original gateway to America for millions of immigrants that is at risk of deterioration.
 
“For 25 years, our list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places has called attention to threatened one-of-a-kind historic treasures throughout the nation and has galvanized local preservationists to help save them,” said Stephanie Meeks, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. “From Ellis Island in New York to Terminal Island in California to the beloved courthouses across the state of Texas, this year’s list reflects the diversity of America, its historic places, and the variety of threats they face. As it has over the past 25 years, we hope this year’s list inspires people to speak out for the important places in their own communities that help to define our nation’s past—and enrich its future.” 

"In Texas, our county courthouses tell an important part of our state’s history. They are centers of community life, sources of local pride, architectural treasures and, in many cases, still functioning as our government buildings," said Mrs. Laura Bush, former First Lady of Texas and the United States and Trustee of the National Trust. "I'm proud of the work George did as Governor, which resulted in the restoration of dozens of courthouses to their former glory. And I'm pleased to see Texas courthouses back on the 11 Most Endangered Places list this year, giving us the extra boost to complete the restoration of these Texas treasures."

The 2012 list of America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places:

sotw_6-6-12_11MostYosemiteBridges of Yosemite Valley, California—A proposed National Park Service management plan for the Merced River, which flows through the heart of Yosemite National Park, would leave three historic Rustic Style bridges in danger of removal despite their significance to the park’s treasured landscape.

sotw_6-6-12_11MostEllisIslandEllis Island Hospital Complex, New York Harbor, New York and New Jersey—Ellis Island was once known as an “Island of Hope” for immigrants who launched new lives in America, but the hospital and support structures on the Island—once comprising the largest U.S. Public Health Service institution in the country—are now dilapidated and threatened by lack of funding.

sotw_6-6-12_11MostPostOfficesHistoric U.S. Post Office Buildings—From coast to coast, historic American post office buildings are facing uncertain futures. Due to the U.S. Postal Services haphazard disposition process, developers and others interested in purchasing and rehabbing these historic buildings end up walking away after failing to get timely or clear answers from the Postal Service.

sotw_6-6-12_11MostJFrazierGymJoe Frazier’s Gym, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania—The gym where boxing legend Joe Frazier trained for his victorious bout against Muhammad Ali is currently for sale, unrecognized and unprotected by local or national preservation designations.

sotw_6-6-12_11MostMalcomXMalcolm X-Ella Little-Collins House, Boston, Massachusetts—Built in 1874, this modest structure is the last known surviving boyhood home of Malcolm X. Largely unused  for over 30 years, plans are in development to rehabilitate and reuse the deteriorating property as living quarters for graduate students who are studying African-American history, social justice, or civil rights.

sotw_6-6-12_11MostPrincetonBattlefieldPrinceton Battlefield, Princeton, New Jersey—Princeton Battlefield, the site of a historic battle that was pivotal in changing the tide of the American Revolution, is threatened by a proposed housing development that would adversely impact the historic landscape.

sotw_6-6-12_11MostSweetAuburnSweet Auburn Historic District, Atlanta, Georgia—Sweet Auburn, a prime example of the flourishing segregated African-American neighborhoods in the South during the Jim Crow era and birthplace of Martin Luther King, Jr., faces disinvestment and inappropriate development along its commercial corridor.

sotw_6-6-12_11MostTerminalIslandTerminal Island, Port of Los Angeles, California—Terminal Island was a major shipbuilding center, the place where America’s tuna-canning industry came of age, the site of the forced removal of nearly 3,000 Japanese-Americans residents in 1942, and now a popular setting for movie and TV productions. This site is threatened by continued neglect due to long-term vacancy of the historic buildings and a proposed plan that limits reuse of the buildings and, in some cases, calls for their demolition.

sotw_6-6-12_11MostTXCourthsesTexas Courthouses—The 244 courthouses in Texas serve as important architectural and historical records of the state’s past. Physical deterioration outpaces the availability of public funds necessary for courthouse restoration and revitalization, and competing needs for limited revenue challenge their future.

sotw_6-6-12_11MostElkhornTheodore Roosevelt’s Elkhorn Ranch, Billings County, North Dakota—As Theodore Roosevelt’s home in the North Dakota Badlands, the Elkhorn Ranch inspired his views on conservation. Today it is threatened by a proposed road and bridge that would forever mar the Elkhorn Ranch landscape and stain Roosevelt’s legacy of conservation.  

sotw_6-6-12_11MostOHZoarVillage of Zoar, Ohio—This 195-year old Village in northeast Ohio was founded in 1817 by religious separatists fleeing Germany. Remarkably intact, the Village is threatened by the potential removal of a levee that could lead to massive flooding or require demolition of much of the town.

America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places has identified more than 230 threatened one-of-a-kind historic treasures since 1988. Whether these sites are urban districts or rural landscapes, Native American landmarks, or 20th-century sports arenas, entire communities or single buildings, the list spotlights historic places across America that are threatened by neglect, insufficient funds, inappropriate development or insensitive public policy. The designation has been a powerful tool for raising awareness and rallying resources to save endangered sites from every region of the country. At times, that attention has garnered public support to quickly rescue a treasured landmark; while in other instances, it has been the impetus of a long battle to save an important piece of our history.

Learn more about what you can do to support these 11 historic places and hundreds of other endangered sites at www.PreservationNation.org/places.