New York City has one spot on the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s annual 11 Most Endangered Historic Places list: South Street Seaport. This morning’s announcement was done through Google Hangout on Air and the session was introduced by Germonique R. Ulmer, Vice President of Public Affairs for the National Trust. As Ulmer states, the list includes places that are “special and historic places facing a serious threat of demolition or extinction.” In the 28 years of publishing this list, only 3% of featured sites have been lost–a significant accomplishment for the National Trust, who views the 11 Most Endangered as their signature tool to galvanize support.
This year’s list tells the story of American history across a diverse list of sites, from the early maritime industry of the United States, to the early Civil Rights struggles, to an iconic national park.
Without further ado, meet the threatened sites in the United States this year, with descriptions from the National Trust:
South Street Seaport (New York City)
The battle for South Street Seaport, both manmade and natural, has been raging for many years. Hurricane Sandy laid waste to the area, new plans and new players like the Howard Hughes Corporation are making residents and preservationists uneasy. Of concern to the National Trust is the risk to the architecture. As they write:
The South Street Seaport features some of the oldest architecture in New York City. The Seaport’s restored 19th-century commercial buildings transport visitors back in time, evoking the commercial trade of that era…
While the Seaport is a locally designated historic district, and is separately listed on the National Register of Historic Places, it is currently under threat due to a series of development proposals that would disrupt the look, feel and low-scale historic character of the Seaport.
The National Trust calls out threats to the Grand Canyon, a United States National Park and a World Heritage Site, from development proposals that include uranium mining and tourist resorts that may disrupt an underground aquifer and block vistas in this place that was a sacred site for numerous Native American tribes.
The Factory (West Hollywood, California)
From the National Trust: “The Factory housed the pioneering Mitchell Camera Corporation for decades, and after serving a variety of other uses, reopened in 1974 as Studio One, an influential disco for gay men…Today, The Factory, one of the last remaining industrial buildings in West Hollywood built specifically for the technical aspects of the film industry, is threatened with demolition. A large-scale hotel project would route a pedestrian “paseo” or walkway directly through a portion of the site on which The Factory now sits. This route could easily be realigned to spare this landmark from the wrecking ball.”
Chautauqua Ampitheater (Chautauqua, New York)
The Chautauqua Amphitheater is a National Historic Landmark with a history that goes back 122 years but the Chautauqua Institution plans to demolish this storied location for a new building. As the Trust writes,
Chautauqua transformed American life as the first multi-use retreat in the U.S. that is an arts colony, music festival, village square and summer encampment all in one, spawning dozens of “daughter” Chautauquas throughout the U.S. Chautauqua programs have explored important religious, social and political issues of the day; engaged individuals and families in response to these issues; and fostered excellence in the appreciation, performance and teaching of the arts.
Carrollton Courthouse (New Orleans)
The Carrollton Courthouse is located outside the French Quarter and was once the seat of government for Jefferson Parish until the City of Carrolton was incorporated into New Orleans. The Courthouse was designed by notable New Orleans’ architect Henry Howard and survived and earlier demolition threat in the 1950s, when it was transformed into a public school. As Benjamin Franklin High School, it was the the first New Orleans public high school to racially integrate in 1963.
The Orleans Parish School Board plans to sell it, without preservation safeguards in place, leaving the building open to possible demolition.
Little Havana (Miami, Florida)
The National Trust writes, “Miami’s Little Havana is the most well-known Cuban American enclave in the United States and a symbol of the American melting pot.” It’s currently experiencing a threat of upzoning without protection for the historic building types, which include local variations of iconic American styles such as the bungalow, the walk-up apartment and the courtyard apartment. The National Trust fears that these threats may dramatically alter the self-sustaining, walkable community.
Old U.S. Mint (San Francisco, CA)
The United States Mint in San Francisco, affectionately known as the Granite Lady, stands today as a result of the California Gold Rush. It was one of few buildings to survive the 1908 earthquake. Its ornamented interior and stately exterior is deteriorating as it lays fallow.
As the Trust writes, “As one of the West’s most significant historic buildings and a powerful reminder of San Francisco’s boomtown legacy, a restored and reactivated Old U.S. Mint should be part of the legacy of the current economic boom. Instead, as glistening new construction rises all around, the Old Mint stands shuttered, deteriorating, and at risk of being forgotten.”
Forth Worth Stock Yards (Forth Worth, Texas)
The Forth Worth Stock Yard was a key fixture that transformed Forth Worth from a frontier community into an economic center that also spurred the development of several western states. The National Trust writes that that “Today, the area attracts more than three million visitors annually, and its historic architecture, streetscapes and cultural identity are economic drivers for heritage tourism and local businesses. The stockyards are threatened by plans to implement a nearly one billion square-foot, $175 million redevelopment project in the Historic District.”
East Point Historic Civic Block (Georgia)
From the National Trust: “The East Point Historic Civic Block is a rare cohesive example of civic architecture. Located at the heart of the predominantly African American community of East Point, Georgia the block has not only born witness to decades of the community’s history, but speaks to the city’s Depression era experience and to the Roosevelt Administration’s determination that New Deal programs be crafted for the American public. The four iconic historic properties are suffering a potential fate of demolition by neglect.”
A.G. Gaston Motel (Birmingham, Alabama)
From the National Trust: “The A.G. Gaston Motel represents the ingenuity and vitality of the African-American community in the city of Birmingham. Built as a place of luxury for minorities during the days of segregation, the Gaston stood at the center of several significant chapters of the Civil Rights movement. Now vacant for more than twenty years, the motel is badly deteriorating. Forward-thinking preservation and reuse planning can ensure this place lives on for the benefit of future generations of Americans.”
Oak Flat (Superior, Arizona)
From the National Trust: “Oak Flat is a sacred site to the San Carlos Apache and other Native American tribes. A land exchange that was included in the National Defense Authorization Act of 2015 would open the site up to mining. Protected in the past by Presidents Eisenhower and Nixon, Oak Flat houses many cultural resources including archaeological, historical, and gathering sites.