NATIONAL TRUST FOR HISTORIC PRESERVATION NAMES THE PALISADES TO ITS 2014 LIST OF AMERICA’S 11 MOST ENDANGERED HISTORIC PLACES®

Today, the National Trust for Historic Preservation named The Palisades to its 2014 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 250 sites have been on the list over its 27-year history, and in that time, only a handful of listed sites have been lost.

The Palisades has been cherished by people from New York, New Jersey and across the nation for generations. A variety of people -- from those enjoying sunsets in Bronx parks, to patrons of the museum at the Cloisters, to workers in the office towers of Midtown West – often speak of the way that the carefully-preserved site relieves the pressure of city life, and makes the New York metro area more special.

“The Palisades is one of the few remaining pristine landscapes in the New York metro area,” said Stephanie Meeks, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. “These cliffs on the lower west bank of the Hudson River offer a treasured viewshed for millions living in and traveling through the region. If commercial development interrupts the treeline and the viewshed is broken, the damage cannot be reversed. We hope that LG will work with the community to find a horizontal building design that will not negatively impact the landscape.

In the past, Native Americans tribes, including the Sanhikan, Hackensack, Raritan, and Tappan nations used the cliffs as shelter and protection for centuries. When new quarries and other development atop the cliffs threatened to degrade the landscape in the late 19th century, the Palisades became the focus of some of the country’s earliest conservation and protection efforts.

Vistas of the Palisades are under threat as zoning changes now allow for increased building heights along the ridge. LG Electronics has proposed building an eight story, 143 foot high office building that would spoil the scenic view of the New Jersey cliffs along the Hudson River. The eight-story tower would be more than four times the former height limit of 35 feet. If construction of the LG tower goes forward, it would represent the first breach of the viewshed in the 100-year history of protecting the Palisades north of the George Washington Bridge.

In May, 2014, the National Trust for Historic Preservation named the Palisades as one of its National Treasures making a long-term commitment to finding a preservation solution. As the Presenting Partner of the National Treasures program, American Express has pledged $2 million to help promote and enable the preservation of these cultural and historic places.

Members of the public are invited to learn more about the 2014 America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places and hundreds of other endangered sites at www.PreservationNation.org/places.

The 2014 list of America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places (in alphabetical order):

Battle Mountain Sanitarium –Hot Springs, South Dakota. Battle Mountain Sanitarium has provided medical care to veterans in the region for more than a century, and is one of the few properties owned by the Department of Veterans Affairs to be designated a National Historic Landmark. Today, the VA is moving forward with a proposal to abandon the facility.

Bay Harbor’s East Island – Miami-Dade County, Florida. Bay Harbor’s East Island’s collection of Miami Modern buildings are threatened with demolition by development proposals.

Chattanooga State Office Building – Chattanooga, Tennessee. The Chattanooga State Office Building, a midcentury landmark in the heart of downtown, is threatened with demolition by its new owner.

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Spring House – Tallahassee, Florida. Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and constructed in 1954, Spring House is the only built private residence designed by Wright in the state of Florida, and its novel “hemicycle” form of is one very few surviving homes that Wright designed in this style. Weather and the ravages of time have deteriorated the building.

Historic Wintersburg – Huntington Beach, California. Historic Wintersburg is a Japanese American pioneer property that tells the story of Japanese American immigrants in Southern California, and is now threatened by demolition.

Mokuaikaua Church – Kailua Village, Kona, Hawaii. Mokuaikaua Church, completed in 1837, is Hawaii’s first Christian Church and is at risk from both earthquake damage and natural wear and tear.

Music Hall – Cincinnati, Ohio. A National Historic Landmark, Music Hall has played a significant role in the cultural fabric of Cincinnati since it was built in 1878. Today, it is deteriorating and in need of extensive repairs.

The Palisades – Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey. Several generations have cherished the scenic Palisades cliffs along the Hudson River. The LG Corporation plans to build an office tower along the cliffs in New Jersey, forever altering the landscape.

Palladium Building – St. Louis, Missouri. The Palladium Building housed a nightclub in the 1940s that—although restricted to a whites-only clientele—played a prominent role in the development of African American music.  The Palladium now faces an uncertain future because it is not protected by local or national historic designations.

Shockoe Bottom – Richmond, Virginia. Once a center of slave trade in America, Shockoe Bottom was home to Solomon Northup’s jail in "12 Years a Slave” and contains numerous underground artifacts. The site is threatened by potential development of a minor league baseball stadium.

Union Terminal – Cincinnati, Ohio. Union Terminal, an iconic symbol of Cincinnati and a world-class example of Art Deco architecture, is suffering from deterioration and is in need of extensive repairs.

Watch Status:
Federal Historic Tax Credit – Nationwide. The Federal Historic Tax Credit, a proven tool to encourage preservation across the country, is currently threatened by tax reform on Capitol Hill.

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America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places has identified more than 250 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.
PreservationNation.org