Malcolm X house, Philly gym on list of endangered historic sites
From battlefields to bridges, historic sites across the country are facing demolition, neglect and encroaching developments. The National Trust for Historic Preservation has added 11 more places to the list of the country’s most endangered, including a Revolutionary War battlefield, Malcolm X’s home in Boston and the Philadelphia gym where Joe Frazier once trained.
The trust is a Washington-based nonprofit that seeks to preserve sites of historic significance. Every year, the group identifies a list of buildings and places that it considers most endangered. This is the 25th year of the list. Ten of the 242 sites on the list have been lost since 1988.
Bridges of Yosemite Valley
Location: Yosemite National Park, Calif.
The trust says that a comprehensive management plan for the Merced River, which flows through Yosemite National Park, includes demolishing three bridges built in the late 1920s and early 1930s. The bridges are a key example of the National Park Service’s distinctive rustic style (“Parkitecture”) and are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Ellis Island hospital complex
Location: New York Harbor
Between 1892 and 1954, Ellis Island processed millions of immigrants coming to the United States. The hospital complex was once the largest U.S. Public Health Service institution in the country, but the trust said the National Park Service doesn’t have the money to restore the hospital and quarantine wards.
Historic U.S. Post Office buildings
As the financially strapped U.S. Postal Service continues to downsize, more buildings -- many which are architecturally distinctive -- face uncertain futures. The trust spotlighted the shuttered post office in Geneva, Ill., which remains unused because prospective developers could not get clear answers about restoration from officials, the trust said.
Joe Frazier’s gym
The three-story brick building where heavyweight boxer Joe Frazier trained for victory over Muhammad Ali is now home to a discount furniture store. Although interest in Frazier’s life has grown since his death in 2011, the gym has no official historic designation on the local or national level.
Malcolm X – Ella Little-Collins house
Malcolm X’s last-known childhood home has stood largely unused for the last 30 years. According to the trust, Historic Boston Inc. and the current owner lack the funding to restore the building. The owner and Historic Boston, a nonprofit, hope the refurbished building would be used to house graduate students pursuing African American studies.
Location: Princeton, N.J.
A housing development for the Institute of Advanced Study threatens the battlefield where George Washington and American troops beat the British in a keystone battle of the Revolutionary War.
Sweet Auburn Historic District
This commercial area was a hub of black culture and commerce during the Jim Crow era, but has fallen into disrepair despite its status as a National Historic Landmark. The birthplace of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. still stands on its main street, Auburn Avenue.
Location: Port of Los Angeles
Three tuna canneries and a shipyard that built Navy vessels during World War I and World War II face demolition under a proposed land-use plan. The trust and the Los Angeles Conservancy are fighting to adapt the sites for other uses.
The trust seeks funding to restore more of the state’s 244 county-owned courthouses, which helped each county develop a unique identity as the state formed. Many are still used. When the trust last listed the courthouses in 1998, then-Gov. George W. Bush created a $247-million program to restore 62 of the buildings and assist 21 more.
Theodore Roosevelt’s Elkhorn Ranch
Location: Billings County, N.D.
A proposed road would cut through the middle of this sprawling, rugged land in the North Dakota Badlands. Roosevelt was a champion of conservation and the country’s national parks.
The village of Zoar
Location: Zoar, Ohio
Record floods in 2005 raised concerns about the integrity of a levee in northeast Ohio. Removing the levee is one of several options being considered by the Army Corps of Engineers. Removing the levee would destroy up to 80% of this historic town, founded in 1917 by German separatists seeking religious freedom.
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