Sacred Arizona Site Threatened by Copper Mining Named to National Trust's List of America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places
The National Trust for Historic Preservation has named Oak Flat in Superior, Arizona, to its 2015 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 250 sites have been on the list over its 28-year history, and in that time, only a handful of listed sites have been lost.
Protected in the past by Presidents Eisenhower and Nixon, the Oak Flat contains many cultural resources including archaeological sites, historical sites, and artifacts, as well as many areas eligible for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places. Oak Flat is a sacred site to the San Carlos Apache and several other Native American tribes.
Oak Flat is currently threatened by copper mining. A land exchange included in the National Defense Authorization Act of 2015 would open the site up to mining. The National Trust and partners including the San Carlos Apache encourage members of Congress to reconsider this land exchange as any mining activity at Oak Flat would severely threaten this sacred place.
“We hope this designation increases national awareness of Oak Flat and its profound importance to Native American tribes,” said Stephanie Meeks, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. “The tribes who regard Oak Flat as a sacred place were not adequately consulted before this land exchange took place. Before any potentially harmful mining activity takes place at Oak Flat, we need to make sure the tribes and others who care about this important place have a voice in shaping its future.”
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/places
The 2015 list of America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places (in alphabetical order):
A.G. Gaston Motel - Birmingham, Ala. This motel played host to Martin Luther King Jr. and served as a “war room” for leaders of the Civil Rights Movement. Now vacant and badly deteriorating, it can be restored as part of a new Civil Rights center.
Carrollton Courthouse – New Orleans, La. Built to serve Jefferson Parish before the city of Carrollton was annexed by New Orleans in 1874, this is one of the most significant landmarks outside of the French Quarter. After decades of use as a school building, it is now vacant and for sale with no preservation protections in place.
Chautauqua Amphitheater – Chautauqua, N.Y. A beloved National Historic Landmark that has occupied a special place in American culture for well over 100 years, the “Amp” is threatened by the Chautauqua Institution’s plans to demolish it.
East Point Historic Civic Block– East Point, Ga. East Point City Hall, City Auditorium, City Library and Victory Park form a contiguous block that has been the heart of downtown East Point since the 1930s, but is currently suffering a potential fate of demolition by neglect.
Fort Worth Stockyards – Fort Worth, Texas. This historic district attracts millions of visitors each year to experience Fort Worth’s emergence as a center of the American livestock industry. A large-scale redevelopment project would forever alter the character of the stockyards historic district.
The Grand Canyon – Ariz. A beloved international icon and a sacred place for several Native American tribes, the Grand Canyon is threatened by development proposals ranging from tourist resorts to mining.
Little Havana – Miami, Fla. A symbol of the immigrant experience and the American melting pot, Little Havana’s scale and character is threatened by zoning changes and lack of protection for its many historic buildings.
Oak Flat – Superior, Arizona. A sacred site to the San Carlos Apache and several other Native American tribes, Oak Flat is threatened due to a land exchange provision included in the National Defense Authorization Act of 2015 that would open the site up to mining.
Old U.S. Mint – San Francisco, Calif. A National Historic Landmark built in 1874 and one of the very few downtown buildings to survive the 1906 earthquake and fire, the Old U.S. Mint is increasingly at risk as decades of neglect and inattention take their toll
South Street Seaport – New York, N.Y. The focal point of the early maritime industry in New York, the South Street Seaport today features some of the oldest architecture in the city. A tower and other development proposals threaten to dramatically alter a historic neighborhood that has endured for generations.
The Factory – West Hollywood, Calif. The Factory was built in 1929 to house the Mitchell Camera Corporation. After being adapted to serve many other uses, The Factory re-opened in 1974 as Studio One, an influential disco for gay men that became a hotbed for celebrity performances and AIDS activism. It is currently threatened by a development proposal
Follow us on Twitter at @savingplaces and join the conversation using the hashtag #11Most
America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places has identified more than 250 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.