• Strong Wind Storm Causes Extensive Damage to Olivewood Cemetery in Houston, Texas

    May 23, 2024

    On May 16, 2024 unusually strong winds devastated Houston and its surrounding areas causing damage to buildings and landscapes across the region.

    Olivewood Cemetery, one of the oldest known platted African American cemeteries in Houston, was one of the places that experienced unexpected damage. The National Trust for Historic Preservation was listed as one of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places in 2022, and received a grant from the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund in 2021

    Documented damage as of May 21, 2024 included uprooted and destroyed trees, debris that includes large branches, and the need to replacement of over fifty feet of iron fencing. The Olivewood team has also identified at least seven burial markers that also suffered damage and will require repair.

    Descendants of Olivewood, Inc is a 501(c) 3 dedicated to the restoration, preservation, and maintenance of Olivewood Cemetery. Learn more about the damage and the ongoing work and support that Olivewood will require to recover.

  • West Berkeley Shellmound to be Transfered to the Sogorea Te’ Land Trust

    March 14, 2024

    On March 12, 2024, the Berkeley City Council unanimously approved an ordinance authorizing the purchase of land containing the West Berkeley Shellmound and Village Site. The City has purchased the property with funds raised by the Sogorea Te’ Land Trust, an Indigenous-led land trust based in Oakland, and will transfer the property to Sogorea Te’ Land Trust. This will make Berkeley, California, among the first cities in the country to return land to Indigenous people.

    This site is one of the most important and earliest known Ohlone settlements on the shores of San Francisco Bay, with a village dating back 5,700 years. It served as a burial and ceremonial ground, as well as a lookout and communications site, with the repository of shells, ritual objects, and artifacts forming a massive mound. When Spanish missions began enslaving Ohlone people, many remaining villagers fled. Shell material was later removed by Gold Rush settlers to fertilize farms and line streets. The site was mapped in 1907, and UC Berkeley archaeologists removed 95 human burials and 3,400 artifacts before the shellmound was leveled in the 1950s.

    A large painted sign in red with a black bird on the pavement with the words "Save the West Berkeley Shellmound." This is surrounded by a group of people who are advocating for the protection of this site.

    photo by: Brooke Anderson

    Photo of a sign from a Rally for West Berkeley Shellmound in 2018.

    Today the Shellmound site is still an active place of Ohlone prayer and ceremony and is considered sacred by the Ohlone people, though it has been covered by a parking lot for decades. The West Berkeley Shellmound and Village Site was included on the National Trust for Historic Preservation's list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places in 2020 after a condo development was proposed in that location by the long-time private owner of the Shellmound site. The City of Berkeley blocked the building permit, but the developers sued the City, and the California courts ruled in favor of the developers, although the National Trust’s Law Department filed amicus briefs in support of the City and the Confederated Villages of Lisjan, a group of seven tribes across the Bay Area. In light of the court decisions, the successful acquisition of the site is an especially important achievement.

    In response to the news, Corinna Gould, Chochenyo Ohlone activist and co-director of Sogorea Te’ Land Trust, told the Berkeleyside: “It’s one of the most culturally significant sites for the Lisjan people and to have it protected forever, I think I’m without words.” Read more about Corinna and the Shellmound site as part of the National Trust’s Where Women Made History campaign.

  • The Century and Consumers Buildings Need You Now!

    September 20, 2023

    Century and Consumers Buildings, Chicago, Illinois. Century and Consumers Buildings, Chicago, Illinois. Two examples of Chicago’s early innovation in skyscraper design are vacant and threatened with demolition: the Consumers Building (left) from 1913 and the neighboring Century Building (right), built in 1915.

    photo by: Landmarks Illinois

    Each year, the list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places shines a light on the threats facing significant sites of American history. It continues to be a powerful, galvanizing tool for historic preservation, with over 350 sites listed and only a handful lost.

    On this year’s list are the Century and Consumers Buildings in Chicago, Illinois. As two iconic early skyscrapers along Chicago’s historic State Street, the Century and Consumers Buildings contribute to the architectural significance of the area known as “the Loop.”

    Yet they have sat vacant since the General Services Administration (GSA) bought them in 2005 and are now being considered for demolition. Advocates are urging reuse options that could meet security needs of the adjacent federal courthouse while avoiding the buildings’ wasteful demolition.

    The General Services Administration (GSA) has prepared a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the buildings, which includes two options: demolition or viable adaptive reuse.

    A public hearing is scheduled for Monday, October 2 from 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM CDT at the Metcalfe Federal Building’s Morrison Conference Center (located at 77 West Jackson Boulevard in Chicago). If you would like to attend the public hearing, please register at the Eventbrite link.

    The open comment period for the Draft EIS runs until Tuesday, October 31. Let your voice be heard; tell the GSA that the adaptive reuse is the best option for these historic skyscrapers.

  • Statement on the Demolition of Deborah Chapel

    August 23, 2023

    The National Trust for Historic Preservation is saddened to learn that the Deborah Chapel in Hartford, Connecticut, is being demolished today. Community members and leaders in Hartford and Connecticut have been working to save the Deborah Chapel for several years. In 2022, the National Trust included this significant place on our annual list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places, and we have continued to advocate on its behalf.

    The Deborah Chapel was not only a rare and early American example of an intact Jewish funerary structure, it also told the story of women’s leadership within 19th century Jewish religious and communal organizations. The loss of this building represents a missed opportunity to honor that history while reactivating the space for a new use.

    The National Trust was proud to work alongside the Friends of Zion Hill Cemetery, the Hartford Preservation Alliance, Preservation Connecticut, Mayor Luke Bronin, Attorney General William Tong, and many others who advocated on behalf of the Deborah Chapel, and we share their sadness at the loss of this important place.

  • Tell the Army Corps of Engineers to Protect the West Bank of St. John the Baptist Parish

    May 10, 2023

    West Bank of St. John the Baptist Parish, Louisiana. A new grain elevator and terminal are proposed for a site near the village of Wallace, Louisiana. The highest point of the terminal complex would be approximately the same height as the Louisiana Superdome.

    photo by: Brian M. Davis/Louisiana Trust for Historic Preservation

    West Bank of St. John the Baptist Parish, Louisiana. A new grain elevator and terminal are proposed for a site near the village of Wallace, Louisiana. The highest point of the terminal complex would be approximately the same height as the Louisiana Superdome. A coalition of local and national advocates, including many descendants of people enslaved in the area, is advocating against construction of the terminal.

    Each year, the list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places shines a light on the threats facing significant sites of American history. It continues to be a powerful, galvanizing tool for historic preservation, with over 350 sites listed and only a handful lost.

    On this year’s list is the West Bank of St. John the Baptist Parish.

    This 11-mile stretch along the Mississippi River in St. John the Baptist Parish includes historic villages, agricultural fields, and two plantations where the lives of enslaved people are studied and interpreted. But now port facility Greenfield Louisiana LLC has applied to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for a permit to build one of the largest grain elevators in the world amid the area’s nationally significant cultural resources. A coalition of local and national advocates, including many descendants of people enslaved in the area, is advocating for the Army Corps to deny the permit or for the developer not to build the terminal.

    Contact the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and ask them to deny the permit for Greenfield Terminal to ensure protection of this nationally significant place.

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Announcing the 2024 list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places.

See the List