America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places | Lifestyle
Washington, DC –The National Trust for Historic Preservation today unveils its much-anticipated annual list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places. The eleven sites on the 2022 list represent a powerful illustration of expansive American history. The wide range of cultures, histories, and geographies highlighted through the 2022 list help illustrate how telling the full story can help each person see themselves reflected in our country’s multi-layered past.
“This year’s list illuminates elemental themes that have framed the story of our nation—the quest for individual freedom, the demand for fairness and equal justice, the insistence to have a voice in society, and the ongoing struggles to make these dreams a reality,” said Paul Edmondson, President of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. “These places give us a better understanding of the complex history of our nation and allow us to explore the ideas that continue to challenge us today. And, with each year’s list, we are making greater strides in our effort to expand the work of preservation to tell the full American story.”
Annually, this list spotlights important examples of our nation’s architectural and cultural heritage that, without applied action and immediate advocacy, will be lost or face irreparable damage. Due to the efforts of the National Trust and the passionate work of our members, donors, concerned citizens, nonprofit and for-profit partners, government agencies, and others, placement on the 11 Most list is often the saving grace for important cultural landmarks. In the 35-year history of the America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places list, less than five percent of the more than 300 places spotlighted have been lost.
“These eleven endangered places are facing critical turning points and if they are lost, we will have lost an important part of our collective story,” said Katherine Malone-France, the National Trust’s Chief Preservation Officer. “By including them on this list, we have an opportunity to recognize their significance and fight to protect them, rather than watching them disappear from our national landscape and fade into memory. Through this year’s list we help broaden American identity through places that tell the stories that are profoundly important, but many of them have been historically overlooked or deliberately obscured. Once remembered and recognized, they enrich and deepen our understanding of ourselves as individuals and as an American people.”
Brown Chapel AME Church, Selma, Alabama
Brown Chapel AME Church played a pivotal role in the Selma to Montgomery marches that helped lead to the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Severe termite damage has forced Brown Chapel to close its doors to its active congregation and visiting public for the foreseeable future. The Historic Brown Chapel AME Church Preservation Society, Incorporated, is seeking partnerships, resources, and support to ensure this sacred site can continue to serve its community and the nation as a beacon of hope for positive change and equality.
Camp Naco, Naco, Arizona
Camp Naco is a touchstone for the history of the Buffalo Soldiers and the proud tradition of Black military regiments after the Civil War. Constructed by the U.S. Army beginning in 1919, these adobe buildings are the only ones remaining from the 35 permanent camps built during that time along the U.S.-Mexico border. After the camp was decommissioned in 1923, the site passed through multiple owners and has suffered from vandalism, exposure, erosion, and fire. The City of Bisbee now owns Camp Naco and is working closely with the Naco Heritage Alliance and other partners to identify critical funding and partnerships to restore the historic camp buildings and revive them for community, tourism, and educational uses.
Chicano/a/x Community Murals of Colorado
The Chicano/a/x community murals located throughout Colorado illuminate the nationwide Chicano/a/x Movement of the 1960s and ‘70s that integrated political activism with cultural education through the arts. Today, the powerful artworks are threatened in a range of ways, including a lack of legal protections, gentrification, and Colorado’s harsh climate. The Chicano/a/x Murals of Colorado Project seeks support for ongoing efforts to survey, designate, protect, and preserve these important cultural treasures.
The Deborah Chapel, Hartford, Connecticut
The Deborah Chapel, a rare and early American example of an intact Jewish funerary structure, represents the strong leadership of women within 19th-century Jewish religious and communal organizations. Congregation Beth Israel has applied for permission to demolish the structure despite its national and state historic designations. Advocates for saving it—including neighborhood residents, Jewish scholars, preservation nonprofits, the Connecticut State Historic Preservation Office, and the City of Hartford—are urging the owner to work with stakeholders to envision a new use or transfer ownership to ensure preservation.
Francisco Q. Sanchez Elementary School, Humåtak, Guam
Built in 1953 and designed by Modernist architect Richard Neutra, Francisco Q. Sanchez Elementary School was the village of Humåtak’s only school until it closed in 2011. Today, the building is vacant, unusable, and deteriorating. Humåtak Mayor Johnny Quinata, the Guam Preservation Trust, and others are advocating for quick distribution of funds from the Government of Guam so that the school can be restored as a centerpiece of the village’s cultural life.
Minidoka National Historic Site, Jerome, Idaho
In 1942, the U.S. government forcibly removed 13,000 Japanese Americans from the Pacific Northwest to what was known as Minidoka War Relocation Camp in rural south-central Idaho. Today, a proposed wind farm next to Minidoka National Historic Site, potentially including construction of turbines within the camp’s historic footprint, threatens to irrevocably change the landscape that still conveys the isolation experienced by Japanese Americans incarcerated there. Friends of Minidoka and its partners are urging the Bureau of Land Management to protect Minidoka National Historic Site as a place for learning and healing.
Picture Cave, Warren County, Missouri
Considered one of the most sacred and important links to the lifeways of Osage ancestors in Missouri, Picture Cave contains hundreds of pictographs dating from the Late Woodland and Mississippian periods of Osage history. Though the Osage Nation attempted to buy the land containing Picture Cave in 2021, the property was sold to an anonymous buyer who has not communicated with the Osage Nation despite attempts at outreach. Tribal leaders hope to encourage the new owner to provide access to the Osage Nation and to protect and respect this sacred place.
Brooks-Park Home and Studios, East Hampton, New York
The Brooks-Park Home and Studios tell a compelling story of Abstract Expressionist artists James Brooks (1906-1992) and Charlotte Park (1918-2010) at a critical juncture in the history of American art. Since the artists’ deaths, vandalism, wildlife, and neglect have impacted the vacant, deteriorating structures. Brooks-Park Arts and Nature Center hopes to partner with the Town of East Hampton to rehabilitate the buildings as a community arts and nature center celebrating both artists’ legacies, but the Town must formally vote to approve preservation, and additional funding and partnerships will be needed.
Palmer Memorial Institute, Sedalia, North Carolina
Founded in 1902 by groundbreaking educator Dr. Charlotte Hawkins Brown, Palmer Memorial Institute transformed the lives of more than 2,000 African American students before it closed in 1971. Today, three of its former dormitories are vacant and no longer safe to enter. The North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, the North Carolina African American Heritage Commission, the Division of State Historic Sites, the Charlotte Hawkins Brown Museum, and the Town of Sedalia hope the dorms can be restored so they can again be a vital part of the community and help tell the full story of student life at Palmer Memorial Institute.
Olivewood Cemetery, Houston, Texas
Incorporated in 1875, Olivewood is one of the oldest-known platted African American cemeteries in Houston, with more than 4,000 burials on its 7.5-acre site. Today, extreme weather events due to climate change are eroding and damaging the cemetery. The nonprofit Descendants of Olivewood, Inc., the cemetery’s legal guardian, has undertaken a comprehensive study to clarify the extent of the threat and identify specific protection and mitigation measures, but advocates need partnerships and funding in order to implement these plans.
The original site of the first permanent English settlement in North America and the first capital of the Virginia colony, Jamestown represents the meshing of cultures in North America, from 12,000 years of indigenous history to the arrival of English settlers and the forced migration of enslaved people from Africa. Archaeological research has uncovered approximately 85 percent of the 17th-century fort, evidence of buildings, and more than 3 million artifacts. But today, sea level rise, storms, and recurrent flooding due to climate change threaten the original site. The Jamestown Rediscovery Foundation needs partners and funding to implement climate change mitigation plans.