May 2, 2013

Joe Frazier's Gym Now Listed on the National Register

Joe Frazier's Gym in Philadelphia, Pa. Credit: warpafx, flickr

Big news today from one of our National Treasures: Joe Frazier's Gym, a modest space in Philadelphia where Smokin' Joe perfected his punch, has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

This listing marks an important milestone for the preservationists -- including Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Heritage Consulting Group, and Temple University -- who have been working for 18 months to save the gym and breathe new life into this historic site.

Inside this three-story brick building, Joe Frazier -- a gold-medal winner at the 1964 Olympics and later Heavyweight Champion of the World -- trained for his victorious bout against Muhammad Ali. Today, the converted warehouse is home to a discount furniture store and two floors of vacant space.

"The listing of Joe Frazier’s Gym on the National Register of Historic Places is cause for celebration and a fitting tribute to one of our greatest athletes of all time," says Stephanie Meeks, president of the National Trust. "For all who support preserving our country’s heritage and places that reflect both Philadelphia’s and our nation’s diverse history, this is indeed an important victory. With this designation, federal historic tax credits are made available to help secure its future."

The next step: formal historic designation at the local level. [Ed. note: Learn more about the difference between national and local designations in our National Register Guide.]

"Securing local protection for Joe Frazier’s Gym is critical," says Caroline E. Boyce, executive director of the Preservation Alliance. "We have submitted a nomination to the Philadelphia Historical Commission for the gym’s listing on the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places. If approved in June 2013, this local designation will further protect this national treasure from demolition and adverse alteration.”

Each year, America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places sheds light on important examples of our nation’s heritage that are at risk of destruction or irreparable damage.

See the List