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June 20, 2013 8:08 PM   Subscribe

The National Trust for Historic Preservation's 2013 most endangered historic places.
posted by vrakatar (34 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
Oh please God let "suburban shopping malls" be on the list ... damn.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 8:20 PM on June 20, 2013


Hate to be the guy who does this... but the post needs an "in The United States" stuck on the end.
posted by Jimbob at 8:25 PM on June 20, 2013 [14 favorites]


More on the Gay Head Lighthouse, from the Boston Globe.
posted by alms at 8:29 PM on June 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


There are indangered, historic sites that are 60 YEARS OLD! Can you believe that our ancient ancestors could construct such a building so soon after descending from the trees to walk on two legs.

There are many sites that are well deserving of preservation but please bulldoze the fuck out of that JFK terminal.
posted by munchingzombie at 8:39 PM on June 20, 2013 [2 favorites]


A river?
posted by charlie don't surf at 8:44 PM on June 20, 2013


More on the James River from the Washington Post.
posted by peeedro at 8:47 PM on June 20, 2013


Gay Head, aka as Quinnipah. Damn I loved that place.

Sorry but, I appreciated the post title.
posted by timsteil at 8:52 PM on June 20, 2013


More on the Pan Am Worldport. From the New York Times.
posted by Flashman at 8:54 PM on June 20, 2013


I think that people will soon regret the rush to knock down a lot of the brutalist buildings that you see. Here in Tasmania, there's a rush to protect all things Georgian, sandstone and quaint, but neglect on anything urbanised, industrial or concrete. Like it or not, it's a significant part of our history and urban design.
posted by Tasmanian_Kris at 8:59 PM on June 20, 2013 [6 favorites]


For example, the centrepiece of my hometown (once a huge industrial site that employed most of the town) has been demolished to make way for yet another strip mall.
posted by Tasmanian_Kris at 9:04 PM on June 20, 2013 [2 favorites]


Hate to be the guy who does this... but the post needs an "in The United States" stuck on the end.

You are correct sir. I thought about that a nanosecond before hitting post, then got distracted by bourbon.
posted by vrakatar at 9:24 PM on June 20, 2013 [3 favorites]


More on the James River from the Washington Post.

This isn't really a historic preservation issue, it's an environmentalist issue.
posted by charlie don't surf at 9:29 PM on June 20, 2013


Tasmanian_Kris: "I think that people will soon regret the rush to knock down a lot of the brutalist buildings that you see. Here in Tasmania, there's a rush to protect all things Georgian, sandstone and quaint, but neglect on anything urbanised, industrial or concrete. Like it or not, it's a significant part of our history and urban design."

Having lived in the US and now in Australia, I think Australians have no idea about the sheer number of brutalist buildings that you can find in the US. Basically every university campus in the country has a handful of them, and just about every decent sized town seems to have a number of government buildings in the style. And despite having decades to get used to them, it sure seems like people still find the structures sterile and awful.

Go ahead and rip most of 'em down. There'll always be the Boston City Hall or FBI headquarters if you want to get your fix.
posted by barnacles at 9:36 PM on June 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


The description of Mariemont is missing a little context. Route 50, a major east-west corridor in Cincinnati, runs right through the center of the village. Traffic calming is in place but the road handles far more traffic than it should. Also missing from this blurb is that there's currently a rail line in the right-of-way where the new highway would run.

The planned new highway would capture much of that current traffic and route it south of the village. It is true that the highway would have new impacts, including to wildlife and a waterway, but that impact would be mitigated somewhat by creating a more pedestrian-friendly and bike-friendly neighborhood. I dare say the village may, in fact, be better off for it in some ways.
posted by OHSnap at 9:45 PM on June 20, 2013


I had no idea Gay Head lighthouse was in that immediately perilous a situation. I guess it probably should've been obvious...

Surely they have the riches to fix this given that they're the only place I know of on MV where you have to pay to use the bathroom...?
posted by rollbiz at 9:56 PM on June 20, 2013


Surely they have the riches to fix this

Shine on.
posted by vrakatar at 10:01 PM on June 20, 2013


I was going to make an immature joke about Gay Head, but after reading Alms' link I realise that it would be a shame to lose this boldly flashing erection after its happy record of bringing seamen to Martha's Vineyard.
posted by Joe in Australia at 10:56 PM on June 20, 2013 [7 favorites]


Blair Mountain should be on this list, imo. But the coal company that wants to obliterate it through mountaintop removal mining - and thus obliterate public remembrancec of their and their parent (in the ancestor sense) company's role in violent repression of miners' fights for labor rights - has already spent enough lobbying money to get the former national historic site there de-listed, so perhaps it didn't make this list on a technicality.
posted by eviemath at 2:25 AM on June 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


The Astrodome? If they preserve this, they should preserve the polyester rainbow stripe uniforms of the 70s.
posted by C.A.S. at 3:13 AM on June 21, 2013 [3 favorites]


Go ahead and rip most of 'em down. There'll always be the Boston City Hall or FBI headquarters if you want to get your fix.
posted by barnacles at 12:36 AM on June 21 [1 favorite +] [!]


Actually, the FBI is desperately trying to move its HQ out of the J. Edgar Hoover Building just as soon as it can find an alternate site. I wouldn't bet on the old JEHB being around too much longer.
posted by McCoy Pauley at 3:58 AM on June 21, 2013


Awwww, this is so cute! <-- irritating Old World person who's never lived in a building built after 1900.
posted by kariebookish at 4:15 AM on June 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


Sounds like the PanAm Worldport should take a tip from LAX Encounter...
(warning, oh my god, embedded music and 90s' web design. my eyes)
posted by Katemonkey at 4:37 AM on June 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


Having lived in the US and now in Australia, I think Australians have no idea about the sheer number of brutalist buildings that you can find in the US. Basically every university campus in the country has a handful of them, and just about every decent sized town seems to have a number of government buildings in the style. And despite having decades to get used to them, it sure seems like people still find the structures sterile and awful.

Go ahead and rip most of 'em down. There'll always be the Boston City Hall or FBI headquarters if you want to get your fix.


Based on that logic, you might as well knock down the entire of America because, hey, Europe.
posted by sodium lights the horizon at 4:39 AM on June 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


Way ahead of you there, that's how most US Urban Planning goes.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 4:40 AM on June 21, 2013


Some are sad, and then there's JFK. Can we just level all of it and start over please?!?
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 4:56 AM on June 21, 2013


There'll always be the Boston City Hall or FBI headquarters if you want to get your fix.

Don't be too sure about that.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 4:58 AM on June 21, 2013


There'll always be the Boston City Hall or FBI headquarters if you want to get your fix.


Oh no, the FBI building's time is coming! Soon its reign of ugly, eye-smacking horror over downtown D.C. will come to an end!

(I don't know why I hate it so much-- at least it's not as stupidly built as the church on 16th-- but I do, sorry Brutalist preservationists)
posted by jetlagaddict at 5:13 AM on June 21, 2013


I find it shocking and sobering how quickly things deteriorate. Today I am planning a photographic field trip to an abandoned air base where at one time hundreds of people lived, worked and played. Soon the remaining structures will be razed to make way for yet another monolithic office park.

Within the base there are streets, complete with gutters, power lines and lighting, that existed prior to certain airport expansions and which are now cut off and overgrown. The feeling of a post-apocalyptic city is intense as everything is covered with vegetation except a roughly six foot strip of bare pavement running down the center of the road. It's eerie and sobering.

The most fascinating relic is, for me, an old SAGE facility. It's a blocky, windowless fortress which just screams out COLD WAR and which is, I've recently learned, exactly 14 months younger than myself.

Nothing is permanent in the face of time and nature. And maybe that's a good thing.
posted by kinnakeet at 6:29 AM on June 21, 2013


If anyone is really worried about the Astrodome, you'll be happy to hear that they announced a few days ago they plan to renovate it in to a convention hall.
posted by DynamiteToast at 6:46 AM on June 21, 2013


Where are the other 2,002 items?
 
posted by Herodios at 7:33 AM on June 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


The James River listing cites inappropriate development at the danger, but it is not the river itself that is endangered, it's the historic sites nearby. In fact, the river is itself a danger to these sites.

The Gay Head Lighthouse should absolutely be allowed to fall into the drink. The message: Nothing built on the seashore (or a sand dune) is permanent. Even if you can afford to live on Martha's Vinyard (or the Outer Banks).

The Astrodome must be preserved: its mighty HVAC system is our only defence against Killer Savage Bees.
 
posted by Herodios at 8:17 AM on June 21, 2013


You need to understand the annual 11 most endangered list within the context of the National Trust for Historic Preservation and its evolution. First off, although it looks like a designation of quality and caliber delivered from on high, the list satisfies numerous criteria that have little to do with the locations themselves. The Trust only chooses places that have a competent organization championing them with the capacity to take advantage of the designation; they don't want failure (e.g., building falls down) because that gets in the way of their perceived strength and the brand value of the list. There's actually an application/verification process.

The Trust is working to stay relevant and so it's changing its mission. The stallwart blue hair donors are dying off--recent fundraising efforts have disappointed-- and there's no longer as much need to chain people to bulldozers to prevent demolition: limited urgency. Worse, lots of people suspect the Trust, e.g., they mistrust the 50- year rule because there's plenty of bad buildings of that vintage, chafe under local historic preservation martinets who want to control paint colors, etc.

Consequently, the Trust has, since losing its federal appropriation, strived to broaden its impact from just special buildings to places, stories, the economy, etc. See: Main Street Program, heritage tourism initiatives, etc. They've also switched their focus from the most special of places, like the 25-30 sites they own and operate, to a much longer list of "treasures" that gets to many localities in an effort to find the next generation of members and supporters and bring them on board. In fairness, the Trust is also trying to be more democratic in their approach, e.g., honoring the history of people other than rich white folks who built (or, usually, paid other anonymous and often brown people to build) gorgeous mansions.

In short, they're moving from wholesale (few, wealthy supporters) to retail (many members who each small fees). Their marketing people have a whole strategy revolving around this switch and it includes steps like honoring mid-century modern achievements through the 11 most endangered list.

Credentials: can't tell you. Note sock.
posted by MySockyWocky at 8:20 AM on June 21, 2013 [3 favorites]


If anyone is really worried about the Astrodome, you'll be happy to hear that they announced a few days ago they plan to renovate it in to a convention hall.

Yeah, but is Astroland coming back? :(
posted by Spatch at 2:05 PM on June 21, 2013


katemonkey, I once had to shoot an interview with David Brin in LA about extraterrestrial life, so of course I shot it in Encounters - LAX.
posted by C.A.S. at 2:32 PM on June 21, 2013


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