07/02/2014 08:00 am ET | Updated Jul 02, 2014

The 11 Most Endangered Historic Places In The U.S.

Most of us are aware that animals can be endangered along with our planet's resources, but how often do we think about the buildings and places around us?

Every year, the National Trust for Historic Preservation releases a list of the most endangered historic places in the country. In an effort to raise awareness about the threats these spots face, the list is composed of places with important architectural, cultural or natural significance that are headed toward demolition or suffer from devastating naturally occurring damage.

Since 1988, more than 250 sites have been included on the nonprofit organization's annual lists. Fortunately, dozens of sites have been saved with only a handful lost forever.

Below, this year's 11 most endangered sites, listed alphabetically, and why they're in trouble.

  • 1 Battle Mountain Sanitarium, South Dakota
    National Trust for Historic Preservation
    Located in Hot Springs, South Dakota, Battle Mountain Sanitarium has provided medical care to veterans since 1907. In fact, it was one of the original branches of the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers. The beautiful sandstone buildings -- owned by the Department of Veterans Affairs -- were designated a National Historic Landmark in 2011. Now, the VA is moving ahead with a proposal to shutter the facility, which is the largest employer in Hot Springs (aka Veterans Town).
  • 2 Bay Harbor’s East Island, Florida
    NTFHP/Miami-Dade County Office of Historic Preservation
    One of the largest concentrated collections of mid-century Miami Modern (MiMo) architecture in the U.S., the buildings in Bay Harbor’s East Island in Miami-Dade County, Florida potentially face destruction due to large-scale redevelopment.
  • 3 Chattanooga State Office Building, Tennessee
    National Trust for Historic Preservation
    Constructed in 1950, the Chattanooga State Office Building in Chattanooga, Tennessee, was originally erected to be Interstate Life Insurance company's headquarters, and even featured a penthouse lounge and a basement bowling alley for employees. The downtown landmark, which is now owned by University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (UTC) in the heart of downtown, is threatened with demolition.
  • 4 Frank Lloyd Wright’s Spring House, Florida
    NTFHP/Krystyn Pecora
    Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1954, the Spring House (aka George Lewis House) is the only private residence in the state constructed by the famed architect. There are more than 400 intact Wright houses around the country, however, only a few are left that feature the unusual "hemicycle" structure. The home's design was so significant, it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979, just 25 years after construction. Today, it is in need of major repairs due to weather damage and old age.
  • 5 Historic Wintersburg, California
    NTFHP/Historic Wintersburg
    A site steeped in Japanese-American history, Historic Wintersburg in Huntington Beach, California, now faces the threat of demolition. The pioneer property documents three generations of the Japanese-American experience in the U.S. -- beginning from immigration in the late 19th century to the return from incarceration in internment camps following World War II. Rainbow Environmental Services, a waste transfer company, currently owns the property, which was rezoned to commercial late last year. The structures now face the possibility of demolition by mid 2015 if nothing is done.
  • 6 Mokuaikaua Church, Hawaii
    NTFHP/Steve Conger
    A Hawaii landmark for nearly 200 years, Mokuaikaua Church in Kailua-Kona on the Big Island needs immediate attention if it is to be saved. Damaged by earthquakes and natural wear and tear, the state’s first Christian Church was completed in 1837 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978. Good news: Church leaders announced this week plans for a $3 million fundraising campaign to ensure the building remains a community landmark.
  • 7 Music Hall, Ohio
    National Trust for Historic Preservation
    This National Historic Landmark in Cincinnati, Music Hall is home to the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Cincinnati Pops Orchestra, Cincinnati Opera, Cincinnati Ballet, the May Festival, and has hosted a variety of entertainers including Frank Sinatra, Elton John and Janis Joplin. Built in 1878, the grand, red-brick Gothic building is in need of extensive repairs due to deterioration and water damage.
  • 8 The Palisades, New Jersey
    NTFHP/Burger International Photography
    This gorgeous stretch of wilderness and cliffs in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, along the Hudson River, the Palisades are faced with possible development of a 143-foot office tower. The LG Corporation, which is building new headquarters in Englewood Cliffs, could forever alter the scenic landscape. The Palisades have significant cultural history for Native Americans and even historical women's activism. Some of the country’s earliest conservation and protection efforts were in the Palisades when development was proposed in the late 19th century.
  • 9 Palladium Building, Missouri
    NTFHP/Paul Sableman
    Once home to the legendary Club Plantation in St. Louis, the Palladium Building played an important role in the city's musical history. The deteriorating building lacks any protections from local or national historic designations. Over the years, many well-known national African-American musicians performed inside its walls including Nat King Cole, Ella Fitzgerald and Dizzy Gillespie. Increased awareness about this treasure would help local efforts that are already underway to save the structure. In recent months, the building has suffered even more damage, due to weather.
  • 10 Shockoe Bottom, Virginia
    NTFHP/Ron Cogswell
    Plans for a baseball stadium severely threaten the history of the Shockoe Bottom neighborhood in Richmond, Virginia. The neighborhood was once a hub for the American slave trade -- more than 350,000 slaves were traded there. Shockoe Bottom was also where Goodwin's Jail was located, where Solomon Northup was jailed. Northup's memoir inspired the 2013 film "12 Years A Slave."
  • 11 Union Terminal, Ohio
    National Trust for Historic Preservation
    A stunning example of Art Deco architecture, Union Terminal in Cincinnati, Ohio, is home to three museums, an OMNIMAX theater and Cincinnati History Library and Archives. Built in 1933, this National Historic Landmark is one of the country’s last grand-scale Art Deco railroad terminals. With more than a million visitors a year, the building also represents a significant ecomonic impact on the city and due to deterioration, it is in dire need of repairs.


  • Saenger Theatre, New Orleans
    Joseph A/NTFHP
    Built in 1927, this movie house was styled to resemble a 15th century Italian courtyard. It was reopened as a performing arts space in 1970 and hosted acts such as David Bowie, Bill Cosby and Johnny Carson. It was badly damaged during Hurricane Katrina, but thanks to massive public and private support, it was reopened in October.
  • Fort Monroe, Hampton, Virginia
    Patrick McKay/NTFHP
    In December, Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell authorized the preservation of the fort to help put historic buildings back to use and save the area from vandalization.
  • Jensen-Byrd, Spokane
    Terry Bain/NTFHP
    The former warehouse has stood abandoned for the past ten years, its fate not sealed. With the help of preservationists, its owner, Washington State University, will now turn the structure into a "gateway" building for the University District.
  • Terminal Island, Port of Los Angeles
    John Williams/NTFHP
    It was listed among the most endangered historic places in 2012, but now the port, which was a major shipbuilding center during both World Wars, seems to have avoided destruction.
  • Wrigley Field, Chicago
    Aaron Stoot/NTFHP
    The historic home of the Cubs will be preserved thanks to work by the Rickets family, among others.
  • Charleston Cruise Ship Terminal
    The cruise industry has a major impact on the historic city. This fall, a federal court ruled that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers failed to comply with the National Historic Preservation Act when it approved the permit for the new cruise terminal.
  • Rio Grande del Norte National Monument, New Mexico
    Adriel Heisey/NTFHP
    President Obama named this area a new national monument earlier in 2013. Among the others: The First State National Monuments in Delaware and Pennsylvania; the San Juan Islands National Monument, Washington; the Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument, Ohio; the monument commemorating Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad in Maryland.;
  • Stamford Post Office, Connecticut
    Evan Kalish/NTFHP
    This past fall, a commercial real estate company purchased the post office with the intention of building a luxury apartment building. After much legal wrangling, a federal court ruled that the Postal Service did not comply with the National Environmental Policy Act. Preservationists are hopeful that more historic post offices will be saved in the future.
  • Peavey Plaza, Minneapolis
    Alexandria Easter/NTFHP
    Completed in 1975, the plaza is one of the few landscape architecture sites listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Thought the City Council of Minneapolis voted to destroy it in 2012, preservationists fought the plan and succeeded. It will now be restored.
  • Upper Missouri River Breaks, Montana
    US Forest Service Northern Region
    A four-year legal battle came to an end in July, maintaining the preservation of the various historic and cultural sites within the area.