FAQs for 2023 America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places

Since 1988, the National Trust for Historic Preservation has published an annual list of America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places to raise awareness about the threats facing some of our nation's greatest treasures. The list, which has identified more than 300 sites to date, has been so successful in galvanizing preservation efforts that less than five percent of these sites have been lost.

Several factors are considered when evaluating a site for potential inclusion on the list, including historic significance, local support for preservation, whether there is a local group engaged in its preservation, the urgency of the threat, and potential solutions to that threat.

This year, the National Trust for Historic Preservation particularly encourages nominations that illuminate the various ways climate change is affecting historic places of all types. This could include sites facing the impacts of a changing climate such as sea level rise, increased flooding and erosion, wildfires, or severe weather events.

As part of the National Trust’s continued commitment to telling the full American story, we also invite nominations that highlight a unique or overlooked aspect of American history and that expand our understanding of our shared national heritage. To that end, we welcome nominations of historic places important to communities who are historically underrepresented within preservation, including, but not limited to, places associated with women, immigrants, Asian Americans, Black Americans, Latinx Americans, Native Americans, Native Hawaiians, Pacific Islanders, and LGBTQIA communities.

Please read the below information or watch this informative video to learn more about the program.

What is the 11 Most Endangered Historic Places in America list?

For more than 30 years, the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places has spotlighted important and threatened historic places across the country. Since its first publication in 1988, the list has helped to save hundreds of places that are intrinsically linked with the American story—places such as Angel Island Immigration Station in San Francisco Bay, Civil Rights landmark Little Rock Central High School in Arkansas, revered Modernist icons like the soaring TWA Terminal at New York’s JFK Airport, Native American cultural landscapes like Bears Ears in Utah, and even President Lincoln’s Cottage in Washington, D.C. While placement on the 11 Most list itself does not provide specific legal protections, we are proud of the fact that fewer than five percent of listed sites have been lost.

Why 11? Why not 10 like other lists?

According to National Trust lore, when the first list was being put together in 1988, the organization had winnowed it down to 11 places and left it to then-president J. Jackson Walter to select the worthiest 10. Walter thought all 11 were important and deserved recognition, so the first year featured 11 sites and it has been the same ever since.

How can inclusion on the 11 Most list help save my endangered site?

Placement on the list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places can be a powerful tool for rallying public support around the country to help save a threatened site. The annual announcement of the list generates coverage in national media outlets such as NPR, The New York Times, and Associated Press, along with regional and local media outlets. The media spotlight can help amplify local advocacy efforts to save historic places, creating pressure for a change of course. Listing can also help attract new stakeholders and supporters to the cause of saving a threatened building. In some instances, inclusion on the 11 Most list brought endangered sites to the attention of potential new owners or bolstered efforts to attract funding from foundations or individual donors. Please note: Inclusion on the 11 Most list does not come with any funding from the National Trust.

What are some examples of sites that have been on the 11 Most list?

In 2017, to mark the 30th anniversary of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places, the National Trust highlighted 11 Most Endangered sites that have been saved and now once again contribute to their communities.

The full list of sites previously included on the 11 Most list is available on this page.

Recently listed sites that have been saved or are making significant progress include:

What is the process for selecting sites for the 11 Most list?

A Letter of Intent (LOI) to nominate a site for America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places can be submitted by any person or organization. A Letter of Intent (LOI) is like a mini-application letting the National Trust know that you would like to nominate your site as one of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places.

The National Trust will review all submitted LOIs and will invite select applicants to submit a full nomination in December 2022. The 2023 list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places will be announced in May.

A team from the National Trust thoroughly reviews all LOIs and nominations. All decisions on the final list of sites are made by senior executive staff of the National Trust.

What criteria guide the selection of sites for the 11 Most list?

When evaluating a potential site for inclusion on the list, we consider a range of factors including significance, local support for preservation, the urgency of the threat, and potential solutions to that threat. Sites do not need to be nationally significant or famous to make the list. We’re looking for places that matter to you and the people in your community.

This year, the National Trust for Historic Preservation particularly encourages nominations that illuminate the various ways climate change is affecting historic places of all types. This could include sites facing the impacts of a changing climate such as sea level rise, increased flooding and erosion, wildfires, or severe weather events.

As part of the National Trust’s continued commitment to telling the full American story, we also invite nominations that highlight a unique or overlooked aspect of American history and that expand our understanding of our shared national heritage. To that end, we welcome nominations of historic places important to communities who are historically underrepresented within preservation, including, but not limited to, places associated with women, immigrants, Asian Americans, Black Americans, Latinx Americans, Native Americans, Native Hawaiians, Pacific Islanders, and LGBTQIA communities.

Does my site need to be landmarked or on a historic register to be considered for 11 Most?

No, sites are not required to be landmarked in any way. We gladly accept nominations for sites that have no historic designation.

What kinds of threats can the 11 Most list help resolve?

Inclusion in the America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places can be very effective at discouraging demolition or inappropriate development, or at helping to resolve short-term neglect. It can help increase pressure on property owners, elected officials, and other decision-makers to support preservation solutions. If the issue is lack of funding, the visibility provided by inclusion on the list can bring new partners to the table and help sites with their fundraising efforts.

Listing does not guarantee financial resources or an immediate save. Preservation is hard work and often takes a long time. 11 Most designation is most effective when it supports a local effort to save a historic place and amplifies locally led advocacy. It is only as helpful as you make it!

Are there any reasons that I should consider not nominating a site to the 11 Most list?

America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places generates a lot of media visibility for listed sites. If your endangered site is undergoing delicate negotiations or other preservation interventions that could be harmed by media visibility, an 11 Most listing might not be the right tool for you.

Does getting a site on the 11 Most list prevent it from being demolished?

No, listing on America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places does not prevent a site from being demolished. It is a purely honorific title with no legal or regulatory restrictions attached. However, the visibility that comes from listing can help encourage decision-makers to find alternatives to demolition.

If my site is selected for the 11 Most list, will I receive money or assistance from the National Trust?

If your site is selected for America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places, you will receive technical assistance and support from National Trust staff with promoting the media announcement of the designation. This type of assistance from a national organization can help organizations and stewards of historic places learn how to effectively share their story with a broader audience.

By working with National Trust staff, the supporters of many previously listed endangered sites have been able to enhance their capacity to engage with the media, attract new volunteers and supporters, increase their social media profile, and make connections to other potential partners. In some cases, National Trust staff continue to work with listed sites to provide technical assistance and advice after the endangered announcement. Inclusion on 11 Most list does not come with any funding.

What if what my site really needs is funding—are there grants available?

Although inclusion in America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places does not come with any funding attached, the National Trust has separate grant programs that can provide financial assistance for planning, education, and brick-and-mortar projects. 11 Most designation is not required to apply for grants from the National Trust. For more information on the National Trust’s grant programs, please visit our grants page.

If my site is selected for the 11 Most list, how will I work with the National Trust team to bring greater attention to the endangered place?

The National Trust staff, including experts in historic preservation and public relations, work closely with the nominator and local advocates to get the word out about the designation and threats to sites included in America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places. National Trust staff lead outreach to national media outlets, and we work closely with the nominator and local advocates to help us promote the designation in their communities and get out the word about the threat. In short, we can’t do it alone; we work in partnership with the people who know these places the best—you!

Do 11 Most applications need to come from organizations, or can members of the general public apply?

Members of the general public are more than welcome to submit an LOI. Representatives of organizations are also very welcome to nominate a site. For members of the general public, we would encourage you to connect with organizations in your area that are supporting efforts to save your endangered place, or could potentially be supporters. Potential supporters could include local governments, historic preservation commissions, neighborhood development nonprofits, local foundations, block clubs, local or state preservation organizations, social justice organizations, historical societies, social media advocacy groups, and many more.

Think as broadly as possible about who might be able to support your efforts. Whether your site is selected for the 11 Most list or not, rallying support for the threatened place from groups and organizations in your area will bolster your advocacy efforts and help build momentum for a save.

What’s the timeline for the 11 Most selection process? How often can applicants expect to hear from National Trust staff during the process?

The period for LOIs for the 2023 list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places is now closed. Applicants should expect to hear from the National Trust in December regarding the status of their LOI. A select group of sites will be invited to submit a full nomination in December. Nominations will be due in early January 2023.

Once nomination forms are submitted, the National Trust will carefully review each nomination before selecting the final 11 for the list. Nominators may hear from National Trust staff during this period with questions and requests for more information. Nominators will be notified in March or April 2023 if their site was selected. The 2023 list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places will be announced in May.

If my site is in danger of being demolished before the 11 Most list is announced, should I still apply?

Maybe. If there is a possibility that demolition might not take place until after early May, please apply and emphasize the urgency in your LOI. If you have not already done so, we also encourage you to reach out to other local and statewide preservation organizations for immediate support.

Does the owner have to know that I’m submitting an LOI or nomination for the 11 Most list? Is owner support required?

You do not have to inform the owner that you are nominating a site, and the owner does not have to be supportive. However, if your site is selected for America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places, the National Trust will work you to make sure that the owner and other key stakeholders are notified in a strategic way before the public announcement.

Can 11 Most nominators remain anonymous?

We do need nominators to share their contact information with the National Trust so we can work with you to review your submittal. However, nominators may remain anonymous to the public and to the media, if they wish. We do not release the names or organizations of nominators without permission.

Will my 11 Most application be rejected if I don’t have all the requested information?

Please attempt to provide as much information as possible about the site. Some questions in the LOI are required in order to submit the form, so you must put some text into those fields. If you do not submit the form, we won’t be able to see or review any of your information.

If you have questions on submitting a specific site, please email us at 11Most@savingplaces.org.

For technical assistance with the Letter of Intent, please visit https://www.submittable.com/help/submitter. Here are some useful video tutorials and links:

Can I apply for the 11 Most list again if I applied and was not successful last year?

Yes. While re-applying is no guarantee of selection, we’re always happy to review repeat applications. Please be sure to explain what has changed with your site since you last applied.

If my site was previously included on the 11 Most list but is still threatened, or faces a new threat, can I apply again?

Yes. We select a new list of 11 sites every year, but we do sometimes re-list a site that was previously included, although rarely. Potential re-listings will be evaluated using the same criteria as new listings. Make your best case for why the site should be considered for listing again, and please be sure to explain any changes since the first 11 Most designation.

Where can I find help using Submittable?

For help with Submittable, please visit https://www.submittable.com/help/submitter.

Here are some useful video tutorials and links:

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