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National Trust Announces 11 Most Endangered Places

June 14, 2007

by James Murdock


Boots Motel along Route 66 in Carthage, Missouri
Photo: Courtesy Jim Ross/National Trust for Historic Preservation

 

The National Trust for Historic Preservation released its 2007 list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Places today. It includes everything from individual buildings, such as the abandoned Brookline, Massachusetts, residence of the 19th century architect H.H. Richardson, to entire landscapes threatened by the construction of new power transmission lines in seven Mid-Atlantic states. Since initiating the list of Endangered Places in 1988, the Trust has successfully worked to save 52 percent of sites from destruction.

A few of the places on this year’s list also appeared on the World Monuments Fund’s 2008 Watch List of 100 Most Endangered Sites, released last week. They include historic structures along Route 66, and internment camps that the U.S. government used to hold Japanese citizens during the Second World War—Topaz, Utah, in the case of the World Monuments Fund, and the Minidoka camp in Jerome County, Idaho, in the case of the National Trust.

“The sites on this year’s list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places embody the diversity and complexity of America’s story, and the variety of threats that endanger it,” Richard Moe, the National Trust’s president said in a statement accompanying today’s announcement. “The places on this year’s list span the continent and encompass the breadth of the American experience. Each one is enormously important to our understanding of who we are as a nation and a people.” The complete text of the list follows below.

 

 

The 2007 list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places:

Brooklyn’s Industrial Waterfront, New York
Once a booming 19th century industrial waterfront supported by generations of immigrants, Brooklyn’s heritage is at risk as historic dockyards and factories are being demolished by developers anxious to cash in on the area’s newly hip status.

El Camino Real National Historic Trail, New Mexico
The earliest Euro-American trade route in the United States, the El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro, known for its austere physical beauty, rural solitude and remote isolation, is threatened by a $225 million commercial Spaceport, a venture planned adjacent to one of the most pristine and sacred segments of the Trail.

H.H. Richardson House, Brookline, Massachusetts
The last home and studio of famed 19th-century American architect Henry Hobson (H.H.) Richardson—the creator of Boston’s much loved landmark Trinity Church—is vacant and vulnerable to demolition unless a preservation-minded buyer comes forth to rescue the legacy of the man who created the “Richardsonian Romanesque” style.

Hialeah Park, Hialeah, Florida
The drop dead glamorous 1925 racetrack known for its stunning Mediterranean architecture and pink flamingos, Hialeah Park—frequented by celebrities such as Winston Churchill, Harry Truman, and Seabiscuit—is threatened with a planned 3,760-unit condo and apartment complex with nearly 1 million square feet of retail and 200,000 square feet of office space, which would destroy much of the storied park.

Historic Places in Power Line Corridors
Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Delaware
Seven states, many of them in the Mid- Atlantic region, are waging battles to protect everything that’s irreplaceable about their communities as massive 150-foot-tall, 75-foot-wide power lines are planned that will blight historic landscapes and usurp private property rights. Proposed lines would cut through private land, publicly held open space, neighborhoods, historic sites, historic districts, and magnificent viewsheds.

Historic Structures in Mark Twain National Forest, Missouri
Established by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1939, the 1.5-million-acre Mark Twain National Forest is known for rocky bluffs, pastoral views and historical sites which speak to the region’s rich heritage, from intact 19th-century frontier farmsteads to New Deal-era fire lookouts and ranger stations. Today, due to U.S. Forest Service budget limitations, many properties are vacant, unsecured, deteriorating, and threatened with demolition.

Historic Route 66 Motels, Illinois to California
Affectionately called “The Mother Road,” Route 66 is known for quirky roadside attractions and unique mom-and-pop motels, constructed between the late 1920s and late 1950s and often clad in neon. In recent years, Route 66 motels in hot real-estate markets have been torn down at record rates, while in cold real estate markets, motels languish and are being reclaimed by the forces of nature.

Minidoka Internment National Monument, Jerome County, Idaho
From 1942 to 1945, thousands of Nikkei—Japanese-American citizens and immigrants of Japanese ancestry—were sent to south central Idaho to live in camps under armed guard at the Minidoka Relocation Center. Now a National Monument, the site, which once contained more than 600 buildings, offers scant visitor services or interpretive information. But it is routinely looted of artifacts and threatened by insensitive local land-use planning, including the proposed siting of a massive animal feed operation just over a mile away.

Philip Simmons Workshop and Home, Charleston, South Carolina
Beloved master blacksmith Philip Simmons has spent the better part of 80 years adorning his hometown with intricate ornamental ironwork—gates, fences, stair rails, and window grills—but with no plans to preserve his home and studio, the legacy of this 95-year-old artisan is in jeopardy.

Pinon Canyon, Colorado
In Southeastern Colorado, under uninterrupted blue skies, Pinon Canyon is an area of scenic buttes, river valleys, family ranches, and historic and archeological sites that span 11,500 years. The area is threatened by the U.S. Army’s plans to expand its maneuver training ground by as much as 408,000 acres, a move that could lead to forced condemnation of private lands and damage or destroy historic Santa Fe Trail monuments, ranches, as well as historic and prehistoric archeological sites.

Stewart’s Point Rancheria, Sonoma County, California
The Kashia Pomo Native American tribe has inhabited this Northern California land for thousands of years. But because a federal program to protect tribal historic resources is seriously under-funded, the Kashia, like many tribes, is losing its sacred and historic sites to looters, vandals, and the elements.

 

 

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