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Visiting America’s Most Endangered Places

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Here’s an avant-garde idea for a vacation: travel the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s list of the “11 Most Endangered Historic Places.” According to The New York Times, it takes more than perilous looks to make the list. Instead, “the trust selects what it considers important examples of the nation’s architectural, cultural and natural heritage that are at risk of being destroyed or irreparably damaged,” Robin Pogrebin writes. This year’s list includes a special emphasis on the threat to Modernist buildings. In alphabetical order, this year’s most endangered historic places are:

  • Ames Shovel Shops, Easton, MA
  • Cast-Iron Architecture of Galveston, TX
  • Century Plaza Hotel, Los Angeles, CA
  • Dorchester Academy, Midway, GA
  • Human Services Center, Yankton, SD
  • Lāna‘i City, HI
  • The Manhattan Project’s Enola Gay Hangar, Wendover Airfield, UT
  • Memorial Bridge, Portsmouth, N.H. to Kittery, ME
  • Miami Marine Stadium, Virginia Key, FL
  • Mount Taylor, near Grants, NM
  • Unity Temple, Oak Park, IL

The slim good news for these sites is that since development has slowed, they face less threat of demolition for new construction. And the trust has a good track record of protecting the buildings that it names to the list. In 22 years, only six of the 211 designated sites have been torn down. Still, it’s worth visiting these places today because as the recession deepens, they might not be there tomorrow.

For more about the list, visit the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

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