Announcing America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places for 2015

By Forum Online posted 06-24-2015 00:05

A G Gaston Press Conference | Credit: City of Birmingham

Press conference by leaders of the Civil Rights movement at the A.G. Gatson Motel| Credit: City of Birmingham

Today, the National Trust for Historic Preservation issued our 28th annual list of the America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places.

This year’s list helps underscore the ongoing effort we have at the National Trust to tell the story of our nation in all its richness and complexity. We want to see the history of all Americans honored and remembered, and to see all our families and communities reflected in the telling. As such, many of the sites on the 2015 list, our most diverse ever, focus on important chapters in our history that have sometimes been overlooked.

This year’s threatened places range from the iconic and broadly known -- like the Grand Canyon and New York’s Chautauqua Amphitheater -- to lesser known but no less important places that tell our American story.

We officially unveiled the 2015 list in a video released today:

The A.G. Gatson Motel in Birmingham, Alabama, for example, once played host to Martin Luther King Jr. and served as a “war room” for leaders of the Civil Rights Movement. But today it sits vacant and badly deteriorating, waiting to be restored as part of a new civil rights center.

Or The Factory in West Hollywood, California. It was originally built in 1929 to house the Mitchell Camera Corporation. After being adapted to serve many other uses, The Factory re-opened in 1974 as Studio One, an influential gay disco that became a locus for celebrity performances and a hotbed of early activism against HIV/AIDS. Today, this important part of LGBTQ history is threatened by potential development.

To the San Carlos Apache and other Native American tribes, Oak Flat in Arizona is a sacred place. But it is currently threatened by mining that would forever destroy the tranquility of this spiritual area.

This year’s list includes these and other sites of diverse cultural importance across the country. By shining a spotlight on these places, we hope this year’s list, as it has the past 27 years, inspires people to stand up and speak out for the important sites in their own communities that help define our nation’s past.

Since our 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 260 sites have appeared on the list, and in that time, only a small fraction – roughly 3% -- of sites have been lost.

We encourage you to join us in working to save these important places and many others. Follow the National Trust for Historic Preservation and our 11 Most Endangered sites on Instagram. Each site has been featured in a video, and there will be continued updates on the preservation process on all of our social media channels, including Twitter and Facebook.

All over America, 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 millions of friends, 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.

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