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National Trust's List of 11 Most Endangered Places focuses on urban preservation

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Civic gems, urban landmarks, and natural wonders under threat across the country

Historic preservation is evolving. As Stephanie Meeks, the president and CEO of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, told Curbed last week, in addition to making sure the important architecture and public spaces that form the backbone of our towns, cities, and neighborhoods, remains intact for future generations, preservationists are also focusing more on protecting our diverse cultural heritage and helping revitalize our cities.

"For nearly 30 years, our list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places has called attention to threatened one-of-a-kind treasures throughout the nation and galvanized local communities to help save them," said Meeks in a statement. "This year’s list elevates important threatened historic places in our nation’s cities at a time when more than 80 percent of Americans live in urban areas."

The 29th annual list highlights locations across the country deemed at risk, both urban and rural, including some covered as part of the organization’s ReUrbanism work, which focuses on adaptive reuse and historical development as a catalyst for city development. Thankfully, inclusion on the list has typically been a huge asset, as only a few of the more than 270 sites listed have been lost.

Austin’s Lions Municipal Golf Course – Austin, Texas. Widely regarded as the first municipal golf course in the South to desegregate, "Muny" is an unheralded civil rights landmark facing development pressure.

Azikiwe-Nkrumah Hall at Lincoln University – Lincoln, Pa. The oldest building on the campus of the first degree-granting institution in the nation for African Americans, this hallowed building currently stands empty and faces an uncertain future.

Bears Ears – Southeastern Utah. The 1.9 million-acre Bears Ears cultural landscape features a world-class collection of archaeological sites, cliff dwellings, petroglyphs, and ancient roads that illuminate 12,000 years of human history yet is now threatened by looting, mismanaged recreational use, and energy development.

Charleston Naval Hospital District – North Charleston, S.C. The historic district played a prominent role during WWII as a primary re-entry point for American servicemen injured in Europe and Africa. Now threatened by a proposed rail line, this important historic resource is at risk of being largely destroyed.

Delta Queen – Houma, La. This steamboat was built in 1926 and today is among the last of her kind. Federal legislation that would enable this prestigious ship to return to overnight passenger cruising remains a key piece to securing the Delta Queen’s sustainability and future.


El Paso’s Chihuahuita and El Segundo Barrio Neighborhoods – El Paso, Texas. These historic neighborhoods form the core of El Paso’s cultural identity, but their homes and small businesses are threatened by demolition.

Historic Downtown Flemington – Flemington, N.J. Historic buildings at the core of the town that hosted the ‘Trial of the Century,’ the Charles Lindbergh baby kidnapping trial, are threatened by a development proposal that would demolish the iconic Union Hotel along with three other adjacent historic buildings.

James River - James City County, Va. Jamestown, America’s first permanent English settlement, was founded along the banks of the James River in 1607. The river and landscape, also named to this list by the Trust in 2013, remain threatened by a proposed transmission line project that would compromise the scenic integrity of this historic area.

Milwaukee’s Mitchell Park Domes - Milwaukee, Wis. A beloved Milwaukee institution for generations, a unique engineering marvel and a highly significant example of midcentury modern architecture, the Milwaukee Domes are facing calls for their demolition.

San Francisco EmbarcaderoSan Francisco, Calif. The City by the Bays’ iconic waterfront is beloved by residents and visitors alike, but needs long-term planning to address the dual natural threats of sea level rise and seismic vulnerability.

Sunshine Mile – Tucson, Ariz. This two-mile corridor on Tucson’s Broadway Boulevard features one of the most significant concentrations of historic mid-century modern architecture in the Southwest. This unique collection of properties face threats from a transportation project that would require demolition.