With new waves of development, other buildings must fall, or so say developers. Preservationists, on the other hand, would like to see the history of a city reflected in its architecture. These conflicting camps are constantly facing off at community board meetings and city halls around the country, so we've rounded up a dozen of America's most heated preservation battles. Some are under threat from development, while others suffer from lack of funding and, in one case, the unavoidable scourge of Mother Nature. From lost causes to reversals of fortune, they're all on the map.Read More
Mapping 12 of the Country's Endangered Historic Buildings
1. David and Gladys Wright House
Phoenix, AZ 85018
Built by legendary architect Frank Lloyd Wright for his son David, this highly personal piece of architectural history may soon be demolished. The development company that had planned to raze the structure has agreed to sell it to a preservation-minded buyer, so long as they pony up at least $2.2M.
2. Shipwright's Cottage
San Francisco, CA 94124
Sometimes, being listed as a city landmark isn't enough to protect a property, as this San Fran cottage demonstrates all too well. Landmarked in 2005 after a developer's donation, the "last Victorian shipworkers cottage in San Francisco" is in a sorry state and has been repeatedly graffitied.
3. Detroit Savings Bank
Detroit, MI 48226
Detroit's historically minded were up in arms earlier this year, when it seemed the McKim, Mead and White-designed Detroit Savings Bank might be destroyed to make way for a parking structure. Then the owner came out and said "our first choice is not to knock it down." Yes, of course, but that doesn't mean its not the second option.
4. Bialystoker Nursing Home
New York, NY 10002
A rare remaining Art Deco mid-rise building in the Big Apple, the Bialystoker Nursing Home closed in 2011 and now the building itself is facing possible demolition. Plans call for it to be replaced by a "luxury apartment complex."
5. Merchant's House
New York, NY 10003
The 180-year-old Merchant's House in NYC's East Village isn't in danger of being demolished to make way for a hotel, but preservationists claim the one being built next door threatens to undermine the historic home's foundation. The lot next door currently houses a shoddy one-story garage, an eyesore almost destined for replacement.
6. Joe Frazier's Gym
Philadelphia, PA 19132
This nondescript building next to the train tracks in North Philly might not look like much, but its the former home of boxer Joe Frazier's gym, where he trained to best Muhammad Ali in the "Fight of the Century." Today, the ground floor is used as a furniture store and the National Trust has listed it as one of its "most endangered historic places."
7. Home for Little Wanderers
Boston, MA 02130
The Boston-based Home for Little Wanderers closed its 98-year-old building and sold it to developers to fund further special education programs. Sounds noble enough, but preservationists are concerned the historic building will be demoed soon to make room for a new structure. Residents, meanwhile, are peeved that the new development won't contain any family-size apartments.
8. Malcolm X House
Roxbury, MA 02119
Civil rights activist Malcolm X spent some of his formative years in this house, in the Roxbury neighborhood of Boston. Currently slipping into disrepair, it has found itself on the National Trust's most endangered list
9. Mansion Turned Billboard
Washington, DC 20001
Preservationists who were hoping that the billboard-encased Second Empire mansion at 1009 11th St NW might someday be restored may not have reason to smile. After a blogger revealed that the property owner was paying regular, rather than heightened punitive, taxes on the property, that owner is planning to tear the place down to reduce his tax burden.
10. Herring Cove Bath Houses
Provincetown, MA 02657
The Herring Cove Bath Houses, a modernist structure that was partially condemned in recent years, will finally see the wrecking ball this month. The culprit is not a greedy developer, but Mother Nature. The sea salt and erosion took their toll on the structure, which will be replaced with a $5.2M building on stilts.
11. Crum & Forster Building
Atlanta, GA 30308
An addition to Georgia Tech's campus is set to radically alter the look of this classic 1926 building. According to current plans, the facade will be preserved, but a 27-story tower will rise from within, something like a Hearst Tower for Atlanta.
12. Capitol Records Tower
Los Angeles, CA 90028
Like the Merchant's House in NYC, there's no current threat that the iconic Capitol Records building will be demolished, but two huge towers are slated to go up on its flanks, putting a dent in the building's street presence. The developers, however, have secured the support of a staff architect at Welton Becket, the building's designer, who "says he always expected Capitol Records to be surrounded by taller structures."
13. Gettysburg Cyclorama
Gettysburg, PA 17325
Designed by the midcentury legend Richard Neutra, the Gettysburg Cyclorama was built in 1962 to house a monumental Paul Philippoteaux painting depticting the Battle of Gettysburg. In 2005, after failing to receive funding to repair the aging structure, the National Park Service moved the painting to a new building, and has plans to demolish the Neutra original.