Every year, the National Trust for Historic Preservation draws focus to 11 historic places in danger of disappearing in the U.S. This year’s spotlight shines on seven urban buildings worth preserving, from the A.G. Gaston Motel in Birmingham, part of the city’s Civil Rights District, to The Factory in West Hollywood, which was first a camera manufacturing site and later a gay disco that hosted the first big AIDS fundraiser in the 1980s.
According to the National Trust, which relaunched its “This Place Matters” preservation campaign with a catchy social media component this year, the annual list helps to save many sites. In a press release, the organization notes that this year’s survey is the “most diverse list ever.” In an encyclical last week, Pope Francis called on urban planners to think about equitable preservation, and last month, National Trust President Stephanie Meeks told Next City writer Alexis Stephens, “We want to make sure that all Americans are participating in preservation and the stories of all Americans are captured in preservation.”
Carrollton Courthouse in New Orleans (Credit: National Trust for Historic Preservation)
Fort Worth Stockyards in Fort Worth (Photo by John Roberts)
Here’s the full 2015 list, with the city spots first.
- A.G. Gaston Motel, Birmingham
- Carrollton Courthouse, New Orleans
- The Factory, West Hollywood
- Fort Worth Stockyards, Fort Worth
- Little Havana, Miami
- Old U.S. Mint, San Francisco
- South Street Seaport, New York City
- Oak Flat, Superior, Arizona
- The Grand Canyon, Arizona
- Chautauqua Amphitheater, Chautauqua, New York
- East Point Historic Civic Block, East Point, Georgia
Built in 1874, the Old U.S. Mint also appeared on the list in 1994. The nonprofit San Francisco Museum and Historical Society has been leasing (for free) the building from the city and has done some renovations, but that agreement is set to end in August. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, in March, a city rep said the Society’s “‘lack of progress’ in rehabilitating the building ‘has forced us to pursue alternative means,’” and the building “will require as much as $60 million in additional work.”
According to the National Trust, Little Havana’s “scale and character [are] threatened by zoning changes and lack of protection for its many historic buildings.” Earlier this month Florida real estate news site Real Deal reported that a recovering market has developers thinking new condos and high-rises in the Miami neighborhood.
Development projects are in the works for Texas historic district Fort Worth Stockyards, a former livestock market that’s now a tourist draw. The Stockyards is on the National Register of Historic Places, but the Star-Telegram recently reported that there’s some concern over how the site’s heritage will be worked into new plans’ designs.
In New Orleans, the now vacant 160-year-old Carrollton Courthouse is in danger of being auctioned off by the Orleans Parish School Board, which could also have the building demolished during reappraisal.
Marielle Mondon is an editor and freelance journalist in Philadelphia. Her work has appeared in Philadelphia City Paper, Wild Magazine, and PolicyMic. She previously reported on communities in Northern Manhattan while earning an M.S. in journalism from Columbia University.