It’s that time of year again: The National Trust For Historic Preservation has published is annual list of of the most endangered places in the country. And as always, it’s pretty damn depressing.
The list is a way for the National Trust to call attention to buildings and places that are close to being demolished, paved over, and just generally destroyed for all generations to come. These are issues that are generally pretty local — people in Lancaster generally don’t give a crap about a grand old building in San Francisco — but as the Trust shows, some of these issues are actually relevant on a national scale, as you’ll see.
This year’s winners — er, losers? — are diverse: There’s The Factory, an LA nightclub that first rose to prominence as a center for gay culture as Studio One in the 1970s that’s being threatened by condo developers (condo developers are a recurring theme here). Or A.G. Gaston Motel, in Birmingham Alabama, which served as a meeting place and planning hub for civil rights activists, including Martin Luther King Jr. What about Oak Flat, a National Forest in Arizona that’s now being mined for ore, creating a two-mile-wide crater?
And then there’s the list’s big one: The Grand Canyon, which while it certainly won’t go away, may be changed indelibly.
Picture: Michael Rehfeldt
There’s a huge controversy taking place right now over the Canyon — where two different developers are trying to build sprawling entertainment centres. One includes a hotel and commercial area along with a gondola that would go down to the canyon floor. Oh, and what The Smithsonian calls “an ‘entertainment pavilion’ based on Native American themes.” It would completely change the Grand Canyon — and if you thought it was overwhelmingly crowded now, wait until it’s got its own little mini-Las Vegas.
Here’s the full list of endangered places. Take a look — your city might have one you don’t even know about. Which is the whole point.
- South Street Seaport, New York, NY
- Carrolton Courthouse, New Orleans, La.
- Chautauqua Amphitheater, Chautauqua, NY
- Little Havana, Miami, Florida
- Grand Canyon, Grand Canyon, AZ
- The Factory, West Hollywood, Calif.
- East Point Historic Civic Block East Point, Georgia
- Old US Mint, San Francisco, California
- Oak Flat, Superior, AZ
- A.G. Gaston Motel, Birmingham, Alabama
- Fort Worth Stock Yards, Fort Worth, Texas
Picture: Shawn Clover