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Mapping the Country's 10 Most Imperiled Historic Buildings

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For the past 27 years, the National Trust for Historic Preservation has published an annual list of the "most endangered" places in the country, an index of historic buildings and developments that, according to the organization's Associate Director of Public Affairs Virgil McDill, "tell the story of our country in all of its diversity." And, certainly, 2014's freshly minted list is proof of that testimony, featuring towns from the Antebellum South, 19th-century residential tracts of Japanese immigrants in Southern California, and a single-family home by the country's most famous architect, Frank Lloyd Wright. (That would be his Spring House, above.)

McGill says, in recent years, midcentury buildings have struggled the most—"they're not old enough"—siting the loss of Chicago's Prentice Women's Hospital and Nevada's Mapes Hotel. That being said, the list has proven to be "one of the most effective advocacy tools;" out of 250 places listed over the years, only 11 have succumbed to the wrecking ball. "It really speaks to the ability of the list to sound the alarm," he says. "There's no bringing them back. Once they're gone they're gone for good." Without further ado, 2014's list:


· Explore America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places [National Trust for Historic Preservation]

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1. Cincinnati Music Hall

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1241 Elm Street
Cincinnati, OH 45202

The High Victorian Gothic beaut that is Cincinnati's Music Hall houses an auditorium, glamorous foyer, offices, rehearsal rooms, dressing rooms and a ballroom—all indicative of the red-brick structure's 1878 construction date. Photo by Max Herman/Shutterstock

2. Frank Lloyd Wright’s Spring House

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Okeeheepkee Road
Tallahassee, FL 32303

Despite being listed on the National Register of Historic Places in the '70s, starchitect Frank Lloyd Wright's 1954 Spring House, a hemicycle single-family home on the fringes of Tallahassee, Fla., has been suffering from neglect. The Spring House Institute is dedicated to restoring the place, but considering the amount of damage caused by water intrusion, hurricanes, woodpeckers, and cypruss-siding-munching bugs, revitalization won't come easy (or cheap). Photo via Preserve Spring House

3. Cincinnati's Union Terminal

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1301 Western Avenue
Cincinnati, OH 45203

Too falling prey to the mighty forces of nature is Cincinnati's historic Union Terminal, regarded by the National Trust for Historic Preservation as "one of the most significant Art Deco structures in the country," and "one of the country's last remaining grand-scale Art Deco railroad terminals." It's marked by it's 106-foot-tall rotunda, decorated in mosaic murals illustrating the history of the city. Photo via Getty Images

4. Palladium Building in St. Louis

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3618 Enright Avenue
St. Louis, MO 63108

Constructed at the infancy of Jazz, St. Louis' Palladium Building was a nightclub that headlined artists like Nat King Cole and Ella Fitzgerald. It's been compared to NYC's Cotton Club, though has been vacant for years. Lately there's been traction to landmark the space, though for now the National Trust for HIstoric Preservation says it's threatened by "insufficient protection." Photo via Save the Palladium Building's Facebook.

5. Mokuaikaua Church

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75-5713 Alii Drive
Kailua-Kona, HI 96740

Hawaii's first Christian church, a stolid stone-hewn ziggurat built in 1837, is on the National Register of Historic Places, though its bones and electrical wiring have been ravaged by earthquakes, termites, and dry-rot. The structure, which, according to the National Trust for Historic Preservation, "needs immediate attention if it is to be saved," is believed to have been built out of stones taken from a nearby Hawaiian temple and slabbed together with mortar made of burned coral. Photo via Wikimedia Commons

6. Chattanooga State Office Building

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McCallie Avenue
Chattanooga, TN

The Art Moderne Chattanooga State Office Building is a ruby granite and limestone megalith constructed in 1950. Despite the fact that it once featured a penthouse lounge, and basement bowling alley, its current owners, the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, have plans to demolish it. Photo via the National Trust of Historic Preservation

7. Historic Wintersburg

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17121 Nichols Lane
Huntington Beach, CA 92647

According to the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Southern California's Historic Wintersburg "captures the daily community life and spiritual institutions of Japanese settlers as they established a new life in America." Established in the late 1800s,the area is currently owned by a "waste transfer company" eager to rezone the residential area into commercial real estate. Photo via the Historic Wintersburg Preservation Task Force's Facebook

8. Bay Harbor’s East Island

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East Bay Harbor Drive
Bay Harbor Islands, FL 33154

Over in Florida, this hotspot of Miami Modern architecture from '50s and '60s is on the precipice of being gutted by large-scale developments. The area boasts buildings by greats like Morris Lapidus, Henry Hohauser, and Charles McKirahan. Photo via Preservation Nation

9. Battle Mountain Sanitarium

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500 North 5th Street
Hot Springs, SD 57747

South Dakota's Battle Mountain Sanitarium, a National Historic Monument, is a medical building commissioned by Abraham Lincoln and used by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Six days ago, however, the department announced it would move the services to a new facility 60 miles away, abandoning, as the National Trust for Historic Preservation writes, "dozens of vacant, historic buildings to an uncertain fate." Photo via the National Trust for Historic Preservation

10. Shockoe Bottom

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Dock Street
Richmond, VA

As a former center for African slave trade, Virginia's Shockoe Bottom's is most notorious for its Goodwin's Jail, where Solomon Northup, the man whose story is told in 12 Years a Slave, was held after being kidnapped. There are talks of replacing the area, which has untold amounts of artifacts below its surface, with a minor league baseball stadium. McDill also notes that this loss would be particularly painful because "that history could just be completely lost." The Trust writes that "Shockoe Bottom should be protected as a site of conscience, a place that offers the public a chance to experience, and learn from, this dark chapter in American history." Photo via Getty Images

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1. Cincinnati Music Hall

1241 Elm Street, Cincinnati, OH 45202

The High Victorian Gothic beaut that is Cincinnati's Music Hall houses an auditorium, glamorous foyer, offices, rehearsal rooms, dressing rooms and a ballroom—all indicative of the red-brick structure's 1878 construction date. Photo by Max Herman/Shutterstock

1241 Elm Street
Cincinnati, OH 45202

2. Frank Lloyd Wright’s Spring House

Okeeheepkee Road, Tallahassee, FL 32303

Despite being listed on the National Register of Historic Places in the '70s, starchitect Frank Lloyd Wright's 1954 Spring House, a hemicycle single-family home on the fringes of Tallahassee, Fla., has been suffering from neglect. The Spring House Institute is dedicated to restoring the place, but considering the amount of damage caused by water intrusion, hurricanes, woodpeckers, and cypruss-siding-munching bugs, revitalization won't come easy (or cheap). Photo via Preserve Spring House

Okeeheepkee Road
Tallahassee, FL 32303

3. Cincinnati's Union Terminal

1301 Western Avenue, Cincinnati, OH 45203

Too falling prey to the mighty forces of nature is Cincinnati's historic Union Terminal, regarded by the National Trust for Historic Preservation as "one of the most significant Art Deco structures in the country," and "one of the country's last remaining grand-scale Art Deco railroad terminals." It's marked by it's 106-foot-tall rotunda, decorated in mosaic murals illustrating the history of the city. Photo via Getty Images

1301 Western Avenue
Cincinnati, OH 45203

4. Palladium Building in St. Louis

3618 Enright Avenue, St. Louis, MO 63108

Constructed at the infancy of Jazz, St. Louis' Palladium Building was a nightclub that headlined artists like Nat King Cole and Ella Fitzgerald. It's been compared to NYC's Cotton Club, though has been vacant for years. Lately there's been traction to landmark the space, though for now the National Trust for HIstoric Preservation says it's threatened by "insufficient protection." Photo via Save the Palladium Building's Facebook.

3618 Enright Avenue
St. Louis, MO 63108

5. Mokuaikaua Church

75-5713 Alii Drive, Kailua-Kona, HI 96740

Hawaii's first Christian church, a stolid stone-hewn ziggurat built in 1837, is on the National Register of Historic Places, though its bones and electrical wiring have been ravaged by earthquakes, termites, and dry-rot. The structure, which, according to the National Trust for Historic Preservation, "needs immediate attention if it is to be saved," is believed to have been built out of stones taken from a nearby Hawaiian temple and slabbed together with mortar made of burned coral. Photo via Wikimedia Commons

75-5713 Alii Drive
Kailua-Kona, HI 96740

6. Chattanooga State Office Building

McCallie Avenue, Chattanooga, TN

The Art Moderne Chattanooga State Office Building is a ruby granite and limestone megalith constructed in 1950. Despite the fact that it once featured a penthouse lounge, and basement bowling alley, its current owners, the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, have plans to demolish it. Photo via the National Trust of Historic Preservation

McCallie Avenue
Chattanooga, TN

7. Historic Wintersburg

17121 Nichols Lane, Huntington Beach, CA 92647

According to the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Southern California's Historic Wintersburg "captures the daily community life and spiritual institutions of Japanese settlers as they established a new life in America." Established in the late 1800s,the area is currently owned by a "waste transfer company" eager to rezone the residential area into commercial real estate. Photo via the Historic Wintersburg Preservation Task Force's Facebook

17121 Nichols Lane
Huntington Beach, CA 92647

8. Bay Harbor’s East Island

East Bay Harbor Drive, Bay Harbor Islands, FL 33154

Over in Florida, this hotspot of Miami Modern architecture from '50s and '60s is on the precipice of being gutted by large-scale developments. The area boasts buildings by greats like Morris Lapidus, Henry Hohauser, and Charles McKirahan. Photo via Preservation Nation

East Bay Harbor Drive
Bay Harbor Islands, FL 33154

9. Battle Mountain Sanitarium

500 North 5th Street, Hot Springs, SD 57747

South Dakota's Battle Mountain Sanitarium, a National Historic Monument, is a medical building commissioned by Abraham Lincoln and used by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Six days ago, however, the department announced it would move the services to a new facility 60 miles away, abandoning, as the National Trust for Historic Preservation writes, "dozens of vacant, historic buildings to an uncertain fate." Photo via the National Trust for Historic Preservation

500 North 5th Street
Hot Springs, SD 57747

10. Shockoe Bottom

Dock Street, Richmond, VA

As a former center for African slave trade, Virginia's Shockoe Bottom's is most notorious for its Goodwin's Jail, where Solomon Northup, the man whose story is told in 12 Years a Slave, was held after being kidnapped. There are talks of replacing the area, which has untold amounts of artifacts below its surface, with a minor league baseball stadium. McDill also notes that this loss would be particularly painful because "that history could just be completely lost." The Trust writes that "Shockoe Bottom should be protected as a site of conscience, a place that offers the public a chance to experience, and learn from, this dark chapter in American history." Photo via Getty Images

Dock Street
Richmond, VA