By Virgil McDill, Associate Director, Public Affairs
Today, the National Trust for Historic Preservation issued our 27th annual list of the 11 Most Endangered Historic Places across the country. As it has been for over a quarter century, this year's list is an alarm bell, calling Americans to realize that some of our most important treasures are in trouble.
National Trust president Stephanie Meeks unveiled this year's list in a video released today:As the video makes clear, the places on our 2014 endangered list represent the great diversity of the American experience, including:
- Shockoe Bottom in Richmond, Virginia, a major 19th-century slave trading center that includes remnants of the jail in which Solomon Northup -- author of "12 Years a Slave" -- was held, is now threatened by a development proposal that includes a minor league baseball stadium;
- The serene vistas of the Palisades in New Jersey is threatened by a proposed office tower;
- Tallahassee's Spring House, the only private home designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in Florida, is badly deteriorating;
- And for the first time ever, the list features two sites in the same city: Union Terminal and Music Hall, two breathtaking architectural icons located in Cincinnati.
By shining a spotlight on these places, we hope this year's list does what it has done so often over the past several years -- inspire people to speak out for the important sites in their own communities that help to define our nation's past.
The good news is that, since the first list was announced in 1988, people across the country have answered the call and taken action on behalf of these places. With this year's 11 additions, over 250 sites have appeared on the list -- and in that time, only a handful of places have been lost.
Which is not to say that threats don't exist, particularly to buildings from the Modern era. In the past year alone we have lost two Midcentury buildings that appeared on past 11 Most lists: Prentice Women's Hospital in Chicago, and the Pan Am Worldport Terminal at New York's JFK Airport. Both of these buildings were Modernist icons, and their loss is a painful reminder of the work still to be done to build awareness -- and appreciation -- of Modern buildings.
To that end, we have added three outstanding Midcentury sites to this year's list: Frank Lloyd Wright's Spring House, Chattanooga's State Office Building, and the collection of Modern buildings on Miami-Dade County's Bay Harbor East Island.
Across the country, places like these and thousands of others continue to face a range of threats, from deterioration to demolition to misguided public policy. As the National Trust and its thousands of allies and supporters work to combat these threats, we want to thank you for all you do on behalf of the historic places that tell America's story.