The National Trust for Historic Preservation has just released its 2013 list of the most endangered historic places in the U.S.
The sites on the list range from Houston’s Astrodome to a New England lighthouse to a tiny church in Maine that was once a stop on the Underground Railroad—and all of these places are in danger of somehow being compromised or destroyed.
Many of the buildings are of great cultural value, but without changes to public policy and adequate funding, these national treasures could quickly disappear.
THE JAMES RIVER, JAMES COUNTY, VA: Jamestown, America's first permanent European settlement, sprung up along the James River in 1607 and historians want to preserve the scenic integrity of the area. An electric company is proposing to erect an 8-mile-long transmission line which could potentially include 17 towers and would ruin the historic area's landscape.
RANCHO CUCAMONGA CHINATOWN HOUSE, RANCHO CUCAMONGA, CALIF.: A city landmark since 1985, this two-story California lodge was part boarding house and part general store, and once housed nearly 50 Chinese American laborers. Historians and Chinese heritage groups alike are fighting to save the building from demolition.
ABYSSINIAN MEETING HOUSE, PORTLAND, MAINE: This house of worship is the third oldest-standing African-American meeting house in the U.S. It once served as a stop on the Underground Railroad as well as a school and a community centre.
MOUNTAIN VIEW BLACK OFFICERS' CLUB, FORT HUACHUCA, ARIZ: This now-defunct military service club was built specifically for African-American officers. It will likely face demolition as it has not been able to make its way onto the National Register of Historic Places.
GAY HEAD LIGHTHOUSE, MARTHA'S VINEYARD, MASS.: This historic lighthouse is in immediate danger of falling into the Atlantic ocean: The land it was built on is eroding at a rapid rate of 2 feet per year. Gay Head was the first lighthouse to ever be built on Martha's Vineyard and is the only lighthouse with a history of Native American Lighthouse keepers.
SAN JOSÉ CHURCH, SAN JOSÉ, PUERTO RICO: Built by the Spanish in 1532, this church remained open until 2000 and is a rare remaining example of Spanish Gothic architecture in the Western Hemisphere. Deterioration and structural damage have weakened the church over time, and its future is unclear.
PLANNED COMMUNITY OF MARIEMONT, OHIO: Designed between 1921 and 1925 by John Nolen, a famed community planner and landscape architect of the time, this Ohio village is nothing short of picturesque. Its elegant layout has made it one of America's most impressive examples of town planning, but a major new transportation project could mean that an elevated highway would cut across its southern border and potentially disrupt the design of the town.
HISTORIC RURAL SCHOOLHOUSES OF MONTANA: Montana is one of the only states to still utilise one-and-two room schoolhouses (at least one historic schoolhouse can be found in each of Montana's 56 counties), but the Trust fears that some historic rural schoolhouses are in danger of extinction. Montana has recently seen a trend towards increased urbanization, and with many families moving towards urban centres these schools have become underused, closed or abandoned.
KAKE CANNERY, KAKE, ALASKA: This large complex of wooden buildings is one of the only canneries in the U.S. that is a National Historic Landmark. The organised Village of Kake, located in remote Southeast Alaska, holds the complex in trust as of now. The cannery was key in developing the Alaskan salmon-canning industry during the first half of the 20th century, but many of the buildings are dilapidated and two have collapsed, and the rest will likely follow if action is not taken.
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