The Houston Astrodome -- the world’s first domed indoor, air-conditioned stadium -- was dubbed the “Eighth Wonder of the World” when it opened in 1965, providing crisp air to sports fans in one of the U.S.’ hottest cities. Now, it sits empty and abandoned. The same goes for the UFO-shaped Worldport Terminal at the otherwise bustling JFK Airport in New York. The Jet Age icon once housed Pan Am and later Delta, but now sits idle. The plight of both of these architectural marvels may get more buzz, however, thanks to the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s 26th annual list of America’s 11 Most-Endangered Historic Places.
“From Gay Head Lighthouse on Martha’s Vineyard to Kake Cannery in Alaska, to the beloved one and two-room schoolhouses of Montana, this year’s list reflects the diversity of America, its historic places, and the variety of threats they face,” noted Stephanie Meeks, president of the National Trust.
Inclusion on the annual list helps raise awareness of the myriad issues each site faces, ranging from environmental concerns to neglect or worrisome development plans. Meeks said such attention is often used as a rallying tool. “For more than a quarter of a century, our list of America’s 11 Most-Endangered Historic Places has called attention to threatened one-of-a-kind treasures throughout the nation and has galvanized local preservationists.”
“We hope this year’s list inspires people to speak out for the important places in their own communities that help define our nation’s past and enrich its future,” she added. Sites in peril span from the streets of Old San Juan to the riverway populated by the U.S.’ first European settlers, and from a black officers’ club in Arizona to a residence for Chinese-American laborers in California.
In total, the campaign has highlighted more than 240 threatened historic treasures since the list’s inception in 1988, ranging from single buildings to entire communities. Scroll down for a complete look at the 2013 list, along with the National Trust’s notes on why it chose each location.