Friday, May 29, 2009

11 Most Endangered Historic Places

The National Trust for Historic Preservation (NTHP) has announced its list of Endangered Historic Place. NTHP president, Richard Moe, says, "These 11 sites highlight many critical issues, including the importance of preserving architectural icons of the recent past and preservation as one of the most effective forms of sustainable development. Places like these help tell all of our stories, and losing them not only erases a piece of our heritage, it also represents a threat to our planet."

This year's designated sites are:

Frank LLoyd Wright's Unity Temple, Oak Park, Ill.
Wright’s design was unprecedented in 1905, with its cubist theme and poured concrete construction. Says Moe: "A century after its completion, Frank Lloyd Wright's temple is at a critical crossroads. If the building's structural integrity and interior damage are not addressed, this Modern icon will be lost to future generations."
The Hangar for the Enola Gay, Wendover Airfield, Utah
"The National Trust for Historic Preservation's ‘most endangered' designation for the Enola Gay Hangar highlights the critical need to preserve sites associated with the Manhattan Project," says Moe. "Though they evoke a unique, emotionally charged response, the sites associated with the Manhattan Project are part of America's story, and we look forward to the day when the public can visit Wendover and the Enola Gay Hangar as part of a Manhattan Project National Historical Park."
Memorial Bridge, between Portsmouth, NH and Kittery, ME
Memorial Bridge is "an engineering marvel and a landmark of transportation history … the oldest operational lift bridge in the eastern United States, [it] represents a key link in the great Eastern coastal route," says Moe. "Because federal and state-funded infrastructure projects across the nation have been identified as a priority by the Obama Administration, we now have an opportunity to reshape bridge preservation practices in the United States. Memorial Bridge is the poster child for all we stand to lose by erasing these cultural and engineering landmarks."
The Human Services Center, Yankton, SD
The Human Services Center in Yankton, S.D., a prairie hospital formerly known as the South Dakota Hospital for the Insane, is the oldest public institution in the state. In1890 Dr. Leonard Mead implemented his groundbreaking idea of creating an environment that would be therapeutically beneficial for patients instead of the sterile, fear-provoking asylums of the day. Buildings were added to include neo-Classical, Art Deco, and Italianate styles. Eleven of its structures are to be torn down. "This is an unparalleled collection of buildings," says Moe. "Dr. Mead's vision of a beautiful, soul-nourishing environment doesn't have to end just because the State of South Dakota wants to dispose of the Yankton campus."
Miami Marine Stadium
Miami Marine Stadium in Virginia Key, Fla., a cantilevered, cast-concrete stadium damaged by Hurricane Andrew, deterioration, vandalism, and neglect. Miami Marine Stadium is both a South Florida landmark and an icon of Modern design. Moe explains: "There was a time—not long ago—when the ultimate Miami experience was a night at Miami Marine Stadium. This magnificent stadium is an icon of the Modern movement and an important piece of Miami heritage and history, and we can't afford to lose it."
Mount Taylor, New Mexico
Mount Taylor in New Mexico, is a sacred site for American Indian tribes whose cultural and archaeological resources are threatened by uranium mining. The mountain was originally named for President Zachary Taylor. Says Moe: "We can't allow an antiquated mining law—one that has no merit today—to forever scar a place that has tremendous historical and cultural significance to thousands of Americans."
Ames Shovel Shops, Easton, Mass.
Ames Shovel Shops, was a 19th-century industrial village in Easton, Mass. "The shovels manufactured by the Ames family powered, enriched, and defended America,” says Moe. "This is a remarkable example of a manufacturing complex that has survived intact for 150 years."
The cast-iron architecture of Galveston, Texas
Dorchester Academy, Midway, GA
Dorchester Academy in Midway, Ga., was founded in 1868 as a school for freed slaves. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. wrote and practiced portions of his "I Have a Dream" speech at Dorchester Academy. “The story of Dorchester Academy is not widely known, but it's a story that deserves to be told,” Moe says. “In addition to its highly significant role as a school for generations of African-American students, Dorchester played a seminal role in the great social movements of our nation's history."
Lana'i City, Hawaii
Lāna’i City, Hawaii, known as "Pineapple Isle," is a site of plantation homes built in the 1920s. "Lāna‘i City is a jewel, the last remaining intact plantation town in Hawaii," says Moe. "Its remote location protected the city from the intense development pressures seen in other parts of the state, and, as a result, it's been a haven for visitors anxious to experience an authentic and natural slice of paradise.”
The Century Plaza Hotel, Los Angeles
The Century Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles was built in the mid-’60s and designed by Minoru Yamasaki, the architect of the World Trade Center. "How is the demolition of a 40-year-old, fully functioning building environmentally responsible?" asks Moe. "In a state known for its environmental stewardship and strong focus on sustainable development, it boggles the imagination to think a developer could propose tearing down a newly renovated, thriving hotel—a landmark of Modern architecture—and replace it with new construction. Because historic preservation inherently involves the conservation of energy and natural resources, it has always been the greenest form of development."

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