National Trust for Historic Preservation Names Los Angeles’ Terminal Island to its 2012 List of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places®

Annual List Marks 25th Anniversary of Sounding the Alarm for Places at Risk

Today, the National Trust for Historic Preservation named Los Angeles’ Terminal Island to its 2012 list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places.  This annual list spotlights important examples of the nation’s architectural, cultural and natural heritage that are at risk of destruction or irreparable damage. More than 230 sites have been on the list over its 25-year history, and in that time, only a handful of listed sites have been lost.

In 1942, Terminal Island, home to nearly 3,000 Japanese-Americans, played a key role in a tragic chapter of American history.  Japanese-Americans were considered a threat to national security and residents of the island were the first to be forcibly removed from their homes and incarcerated at the internment camp Manzanar.  

Terminal Island also played a vital role during both World War I and World War II as a major shipbuilding center, and was also the place where America’s tuna-canning industry came of age, giving tuna giants like Star-Kist® and Chicken of the Sea® their start. More recently, Terminal Island has taken a star turn as a popular location for movie and television productions, serving as the setting for countless movies, including “Live Free or Die Hard” and the TV franchise “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.”  

In recent years, the Port of Los Angeles has proposed demolishing numerous historic buildings at Terminal Island. In late 2011, the Port of Los Angeles introduced a Master Land Use Plan for Terminal Island with proposed roadway realignments that would lead to additional demolition of several of Terminal Island’s historic buildings. The plan also restricts the use of the island’s historic buildings to port functions only.  Local preservationists—along with the Los Angeles Conservancy and the National Trust—would like to work with the Port to create an updated Port Master Plan that will save the historic buildings and promote their reuse, while ensuring public access and attracting new tenants to the historic Port.

“Terminal Island presents an incredible opportunity to transform a vital piece of America’s industrial past for new uses, while also preserving an important part of our nation’s cultural history,” said Stephanie Meeks, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. “We look forward to working with our partners to ensure that Terminal Island continues to thrive as a center of commerce in Los Angeles, and that its role in American history is preserved for future generations.”

Members of the public are invited to learn more about what they can do to support these 11 historic places and hundreds of other endangered sites at www.PreservationNation.org/places

The 2012 list of America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places (in alphabetical order):

Bridges of Yosemite Valley, Calif. – 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.

Ellis Island Hospital Complex, New York Harbor, N.Y. and N.J. - 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.

Historic 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.

Joe Frazier’s Gym, Philadelphia, Pa. – 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.

Malcolm X-Ella Little-Collins House, Boston, Mass. – 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.

Princeton Battlefield, Princeton, N.J. – 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.

Sweet Auburn Historic District, Atlanta, Ga. – 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.

Terminal Island, Port of Los Angeles, Calif. – 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-American residents in 1942, and is 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.

Texas Courthouses – Texas’ 244 courthouses 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.

Theodore Roosevelt’s Elkhorn Ranch, Billings County, N.D. – 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.  

Village 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.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation will reveal one of the sites a day early to fans of its facebook page: facebook.com/NationalTrustforHistoricPreservation. Follow us on Twitter at @presnation and join the conversation using the hashtag #savingplaces

To download high resolution images of this year’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places in advance of June 6, please contact pr@nthp.org. On or after June 6, visit http://www.preservationnation.org/who-we-are/press-center/ register and download high resolution images and video.

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.

 

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The National Trust for Historic Preservation, a privately funded nonprofit organization, works to save America’s historic places.
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