April 20, 2022

Where Are They Now? Updates on 11 Past '11 Most' Sites

Since 1988, the National Trust has used its list of America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places to raise awareness about the threats facing some of the nation's greatest treasures. The list, which has identified more than 300 sites to date, has been so successful in galvanizing preservation efforts that only a handful of sites have been lost.

Occasionally, we like to revisit the list and check in with some of the previously listed sites to share with you how they are doing. Some of these updates include news of significant victories, such as the recent success in protecting Rassawek (2021), to next steps in the preservation process. Below are updates on 11 listed sites.

Pullman Administration Building and Factory Complex, Pullman, Illinois (1999)

Partners in Preservation: Pullman National Monument

photo by: Cynthia Lynn

Pullman National Monument was designated a National Monument in 2015.

Pullman, America’s first planned model industrial town just thirteen miles south of Chicago, tells significant stories related to industrial and labor history, including a connection to the first all African American union in the country—the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters. The Pullman Administration Building was included on the endangered list in 1999 after being nearly destroyed by an arson fire.

After years of dedicated work by local, state, and national advocates, in 2015 the site was designated by President Obama as the Pullman National Monument, and on Labor Day 2021 the newly restored Administration Building was re-opened as the Visitor Center for the National Monument. The ribbon cutting was attended by Gov. J.B. Pritzker, Sen. Dick Durbin, Rep. Robin Kelly, and U.S. Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland.

Abyssinian Meeting House, Portland, Maine (2006, 2013)

Established in 1828, the Abyssinian Meeting House is the third-oldest extant African American meeting house in the country. In the 19th century it served as a vibrant religious and cultural center where members of the congregation helped enslaved people escaping along the Underground Railroad find their way to Canada.

The site was included twice on the 11 Most list, most recently due to a lack of funding to restore and preserve the site. Thanks to generous donations over the years, the committee working to preserve the building was able to complete significant exterior restorations (including windows and doors), but still lacked full funding to complete the work. In March 2022, the Abyssinian Meeting House received $1.7 million in federal funding as part of the omnibus funding package passed by Congress. This incredible funding will allow the committee that has been fighting for 25 years for this site to complete not only the interior preservation work but also install community spaces for learning and programming.

H.H. Richardson Home and Studio, Brookline, Massachusetts (2007)

For decades, preservation organizations, historians, and architects from around the country have been concerned with the fate of unprotected sites connected to the domestic and professional lives of the great 19th century architect H.H. Richardson and famed landscape designers Frederick Law Olmsted and John Charles Olmsted in Brookline, Massachusetts.

In 2007, the National Trust featured the H.H. Richardson Home and Studio on our 11 Most list list due to vacancy and the ongoing threat of demolition. Over the next decade the home languished in disrepair.

In December 2020, the National Trust was notified by local partners of another serious demolition threat. In close collaboration with Historic New England and Preservation Massachusetts, the National Trust publicly supported the Brookline Preservation Commission’s efforts to withhold the demolition permits and implement a delay. This allowed alternatives to be pursued with the property owner to preserve and rehabilitate rather than demolish the site.

Hinchliffe Stadium, Paterson, New Jersey (2010)

Hinchliffe Stadium

photo by: Melissa Murphy

Exterior of Hinchliffe Stadium in Paterson, New Jersey.

Built by the city of Paterson from 1932-33, the 10,000-seat, open air Hinchliffe Stadium was a place with purpose, meant for holding outdoor athletic events, music concerts, and even auto races. It was a place for the people of Paterson to come together and run into friends and reconnect. For Black Americans, the amphitheater-style stadium was home to and embodied the incredible spirit of Negro Leagues baseball. Hall of Famer Larry Doby had his tryout there and went on to become the first Black player to integrate the American League and help lead the Cleveland Indians to a World Series title in 1948.

In 2010 the stadium was listed on the 11 Most list, and the National Trust, along with its partners—the City of Paterson, Paterson Public Schools, Friends of Hinchliffe Stadium, National Park Service and others—advocated and supported protecting Hinchliffe. In 2013 it was designated an National Historic Landmark in 2013, and was included as part of the Paterson Great Falls National Historic Park in 2014, with further momentum when 700 volunteers from HOPE Crew, Youth Corps, and others worked to repaint the stadium’s walls. In 2018 further restoration occurred due to a $300,000 grant from American Express, as part of the Partners in Preservation program.

Today the site is well on its way to its final transformation as a major mixed use development project that includes a museum, restaurant, stadium, and affordable housing led by developer Baye Adolfo-Wilson, a Patterson Native who secured historic tax credits to fund this project (with total development at nearly $100 million) with an expected completion date of late 2022.

El Segundo Barrio, El Paso, Texas (2016)

El Paso’s El Segundo Barrio and Chihuahuita Neighborhoods

photo by: Marc Stone

A mural in El Paso's El Segundo Barrio and Chihuahuita Neighborhood.

El Segundo Barrio, El Paso’s “Second Ward” dating back to the Spanish conquest, embodies the city’s Latinx culture and held a significant place in the Chicano Movement. The neighborhood was included in the 11 Most list in 2016 due to threats of displacement and demolition, and a lack of preservation protections. In November 2021, El Segundo Barrio was officially listed on the National Register of Historic Places as a historic district. This listing is the culmination of hard-won efforts from the El Paso County Historical Commission and local preservationists, adding 686 contributing resources that largely represent the area’s role as a haven for recent immigrants.

This listing will make state and federal historic tax credits available as incentives for owners to rehabilitate eligible historic properties within the district. In 2021 the National Fund for Sacred Places also provided a $250,000 grant to help restore the Sacred Heart Church located in Segundo Barrio. This church has long served as a haven for those in need, including providing food during the Great Depression, leading peacemaking efforts during the 1960s gang conflicts, and helping provide vital community services such as a social service agency and health clinic.

Dr. Susan LaFlesche Picotte Center, Walthill, Nebraska (2018)

In 1889, 24-year-old Susan LaFlesche Picotte graduated as valedictorian of her medical class from the Woman’s Medical College of Pennsylvania, becoming America’s first Native American physician. “Dr. Susan” returned home to the Nebraska Territory to provide medical services to the Omaha Tribe, traveling over 1,350 square miles of open prairie and making house calls to treat over 1,240 patients. Her dream of opening a hospital on the reservation was finally realized in 1913, just a few years before she passed away.

This National Historic Landmark is now in excellent shape thanks to a $650,000 exterior restoration that returned the roof, windows, footings, downspouts and gutters, wood siding, screened porch—and even Picotte’s beloved lilacs—to their original condition. The next goal is to revive the historic hospital as a new community center and wellness clinic for the Omaha Tribe and Walthill residents, directly guided by the Omaha community.

The Center’s youth planning initiative, "Tribal Youth Voices Matter," was one of 80 humanities-based projects selected in March 2022 for the National Trust’s Telling the Full History Preservation Fund. The $50,000 grant will bring together Omaha elders and artists with young people in the Tribe to create an Omaha youth advisory group who will help tell the story of Picotte, and whose needs and opinions will shape the cultural, wellness, and educational youth programs offered at the Center.

Industrial Trust Company “Superman” Building, Providence, Rhode Island (2019)

An aerial view of the Industrial Trust Building and the surrounding buildings.

photo by: Jef Nickerson/Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0

Exterior of the Providence Industrial Trust Building.

The Industrial Trust Building, a 1928 Art Deco skyscraper that is the tallest building in the state of Rhode Island, was placed on the America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places list in 2019. Also known as the Superman Building because of its resemblance to the Daily Planet headquarters in the 1950s TV series, the building has been vacant for nine years after previous tenant Bank of America left in 2013.

On April 12, 2022, state and local leaders along with building owner High Rock Development announced that a deal was in place to convert the building into 285 apartments at a cost of $220 million. Of the apartment buildings, 20% will be affordable housing. The rehabilitated building will also include 8,000 square feet of commercial office space and retail. In addition to financing from High Rock, the project is expected to draw on a variety of local, state, and federal funding sources, including $22 million in federal Historic Tax Credits.

This is a major step forward for the Industrial Trust Building, which also spent many years on the Providence Preservation Society’s most endangered list. Once the rehabilitation project is complete, this icon of the Providence skyline will once again contribute to the life of the city’s downtown.

James. R. Thompson Center, Chicago, Illinois (2019)

With a striking atrium and significant public spaces, the James R. Thompson Center in Chicago’s Loop, designed by architect Helmut Jahn, was described by detractors as inefficient, while advocates saw it as a significant postmodern landmark. The site was included on the 11 Most list in 2019 due to threats of sale without preservation protections.

In December 2021, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker announced that the State of Illinois will partner with the Prime Group to preserve the Thompson Center as a mixed-use property with office, retail, and hotel space. The State of Illinois will continue to have a 30 percent ownership in the building. The National Trust, along with Landmarks Illinois, Preservation Chicago, DOCOMOMO Chicago, AIA Chicago, the James R. Thompson Center Historical Society, and many others applauded the decision to save the Thompson Center, and plan on remaining engaged as the reuse proposal takes shape.

Bismarck-Mandan Bridge, Bismarck, North Dakota (2019)

Friends of the Rail Bridge has been consulting with the US Coast Guard (USCG) over the Burlington Northern Santa Fe(BNSF) railway permit application to build a new rail crossing over the Missouri River between Bismarck and Mandan. This new bridge would entail demolition of the 1883 Northern Pacific Rail Bridge, one of the most significant historic properties on the Upper Missouri River. FORB advocates preserving the historic bridge in place, converting it for recreational use.

To date, consultation has been based on the presumption that BNSF owns the bridge. Recent legal research reveals that the State of North Dakota likely holds legal title. In 1864, Congress created the Northern Pacific Railroad, granting it 46,000,000 acres of land, but held in trust the riverbed of navigable rivers, and anything affixed to them. At North Dakota’s statehood in 1889, the U.S. transferred ownership of the riverbed and its affixed structures, and the Bismarck bridge become property of the State under law.

The USCG and the ACHP have agreed to postpone a Record of Decision until the ownership is resolved.

People Saving Places: Preservation Month 2022

This year’s Preservation Month theme of “People Saving Places” is a national high-five to everyone doing the great work of saving places—in ways big and small—and inspiring others to do the same!

Harada House, Riverside, California (2020)

Constructed in the late 1800s, the modest home was the centerpiece of a landmark legal case California v. Harada, which successfully challenged the overtly discriminatory California Alien Land Law that denied Japanese immigrants the right to own property.

Since the 11 Most Endangered designation, the City of Riverside and the Riverside Museum, who own the property, have effectively removed the threats to this nationally significant and incredible fragile historic site. In 2021 they received $7 million in funding from the State of California to stabilize and restore the house, successfully listed the house as a California State Historic Landmark (#1060), and installed a small exhibition in the Riverside County Courthouse about the Haradas' landmark legal case heard in the chambers. The process of selecting a project architect is now underway with the goal of starting the long-awaited stabilization project later this year.

Oljato Trading Post, San Juan County, Utah (2021)

The Oljato Trading Post in Utah.

photo by: Utah SHPO

Exterior of the Oljato Trading Post.

The Oljato Trading Post is a rare example of a once-ubiquitous mainstay in Navajo communities—trading posts that offered a wide assortment of goods, provided Navajo producers a place to sell or trade their products, and acted as community centers and social hubs. In 2021 this 1921 National Register-listed complex was listed due to a lack of funding required to preserve the deteriorated facility.

This year, using partial funding from the National Trust’s Southwest Intervention Fund, the Oljato Chapter of the Navajo Nation is working with the San Juan County Historical Commission and the SHPO to get the building re-roofed and to stabilize some of its most vulnerable components. Despite a major setback caused by an unusually strong wind storm in early April that blew off portions of the nearly completed roof, the team has regrouped and is working to obtain the resources to make the repairs and complete the project this spring/summer.

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While her day job is the associate director of content at the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Priya spends other waking moments musing, writing, and learning about how the public engages and embraces history.

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