11 Most Endangered Historic Places
The Village of Zoar
The historic Village of Zoar, home to nearly 200 residents, is protected from flooding by a levee built in the 1930s. Record floods in 2005, however, raised concern about the levee’s integrity. When the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers began a study to assess the levee’s future in 2011, one of many alternatives under consideration was removing the levee entirely, which could require the relocation or demolition of 80% of this remarkable historic village.
In November 2013, the Army Corps announced that they were no longer considering removal of the levee that protects the Village of Zoar. This means that the greatest threat to Zoar—relocation or demolition of the historic community—is off the table. The news reflects the Army Corps’ appreciation of Zoar’s historic and cultural importance, thanks in part to the National Trust’s advocacy and the many Trust members who contacted the Army Corps in support of Zoar.
The Village of Zoar was founded in 1817 by a group of separatists who fled Germany in search of religious freedom. Not only does Zoar help to tell the story of immigration to the United States, it illustrates the history of settlement throughout this region. As part of a multi-year study of alternatives for solving the Zoar levee problem, the Army Corps is following a review process that requires federal agencies to consider the effects of their activities on historic properties. Through the process, the Army Corps should seek alternatives that will protect Zoar.
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