Austin’s Lions Municipal Golf Course Named To National Trust’s 2016 List Of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places
***EMBARGOED UNTIL OCTOBER 5 @ 12:01 AM ET***
The National Trust for Historic Preservation has named civil rights landmark Lions Municipal Golf Course—known locally as Muny—in Austin, Texas, to the 2016 list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places. This annual list spotlights important examples of the nation’s architectural, cultural and natural heritage that are at risk of destruction or irreparable damage. More than 270 sites have been on the list over its 29-year history, and in that time, fewer than five percent of listed sites have been lost.
Established in 1924 by members of the Austin Lions Club on land owned by the University of Texas, Muny is Austin’s oldest municipal golf course and often recognized as the first desegregated course in the South. In late 1950, two African-American youths walked onto the course and were allowed to play. Their round marked the quiet desegregation of Muny, which was particularly noteworthy for having occurred without conflict and with minimal public debate. Thereafter the course regularly attracted African-American golfers from the across Texas—as well as public figures like boxing legend Joe Louis, an outspoken advocate for African-American golfers.
Now, despite being added to the National Register of Historic Places this past summer, Muny’s future is uncertain. Muny’s lease, currently held between the City of Austin and the University of Texas, technically expires in May of 2019, but previous public statements point to a possible dissolution of the agreement to make way for potential commercial development on the property. Muny’s future hinges on a longer-term negotiated resolution between the City and the University.
“As the complex struggle for racial justice continues to take center stage across America, places like Austin’s Lions Municipal Golf Course have much to teach us about peaceful efforts towards increased human decency and respect,” said Stephanie Meeks, president and CEO of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. “But Muny cannot continue to highlight an important side of the American story unless we take action to preserve it as a resource for its community.”
Members of the public are invited to learn more about what they can do to support these 11 historic places and hundreds of other endangered sites at www.SavingPlaces.org/11Most
The 2016 list of America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places (in alphabetical order):
- Austin’s Lions Municipal Golf Course – Austin, Texas. Widely regarded as the first municipal golf course in the South to desegregate, “Muny” is an unheralded civil rights landmark facing development pressure.
- Azikiwe-Nkrumah Hall at Lincoln University – Lincoln, Pa. The oldest building on the campus of the first degree-granting institution in the nation for African Americans, this hallowed building currently stands empty and faces an uncertain future.
- Bears Ears – Southeastern Utah. The 1.9 million-acre Bears Ears cultural landscape features a world-class collection of archaeological sites, cliff dwellings, petroglyphs, and ancient roads that illuminate 12,000 years of human history yet is now threatened by looting, mismanaged recreational use, and energy development.
- Charleston Naval Hospital District – North Charleston, S.C. The historic district played a prominent role during WWII as a primary re-entry point for American servicemen injured in Europe and Africa. Now threatened by a proposed rail line, this important historic resource is at risk of being largely destroyed.
- Delta Queen – Houma, La. This steamboat was built in 1926 and today is among the last of her kind. Federal legislation that would enable this prestigious ship to return to overnight passenger cruising remains a key piece to securing the Delta Queen’s sustainability and future.
- El Paso’s Chihuahuita and El Segundo Barrio Neighborhoods – El Paso, Texas. These historic neighborhoods form the core of El Paso’s cultural identity, but their homes and small businesses are threatened by demolition.
- Historic Downtown Flemington – Flemington, N.J. Historic buildings at the core of the town that hosted the ‘Trial of the Century,’ the Charles Lindbergh baby kidnapping trial, are threatened by a development proposal that would demolish the iconic Union Hotel along with three other adjacent historic buildings.
- James River - James City County, Va.Jamestown, America’s first permanent English settlement, was founded along the banks of the James River in 1607. The river and landscape, also named to this list by the Trust in 2013, remain threatened by a proposed transmission line project that would compromise the scenic integrity of this historic area.
- Milwaukee’s Mitchell Park Domes - Milwaukee, Wis. A beloved Milwaukee institution for generations, a unique engineering marvel and a highly significant example of midcentury modern architecture, the Milwaukee Domes are facing calls for their demolition.
- San Francisco Embarcadero – San Francisco, Calif. The City by the Bay's iconic waterfront is beloved by residents and visitors alike, but needs long-term planning to address the dual natural threats of sea level rise and seismic vulnerability.
- Sunshine Mile – Tucson, Ariz. This two-mile corridor on Tucson’s Broadway Boulevard features one of the most significant concentrations of historic mid-century modern architecture in the Southwest. This unique collection of properties face threats from a transportation project that would require demolition.
America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places has identified more than 270 threatened one-of-a-kind historic treasures since 1988. Whether these sites are urban districts or rural landscapes, Native American landmarks or 20th-century sports arenas, entire communities or single buildings, the list spotlights historic places across America that are threatened by neglect, insufficient funds, inappropriate development or insensitive public policy. The designation has been a powerful tool for raising awareness and rallying resources to save endangered sites from every region of the country. At times, that attention has garnered public support to quickly rescue a treasured landmark; while in other instances, it has been the impetus of a long battle to save an important piece of our history.