Report: U.S. most endangered historic places

Wed Jun 15, 2011 4:17pm EDT
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BOSTON (Reuters) - America's 11 most endangered historic places range from a serene South Dakota mountain called Bear Butte threatened by wind and oil development to the New York home of acclaimed jazz artist John Coltrane, facing the ravages of age.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation on Wednesday published its 24th annual list in an effort to call attention to the nation's architectural, cultural and natural heritage gems that are threatened by destruction or irreparable damage.

Among them is an innovative former Pillsbury mill built in 1881 in Minnesota that stands vacant and vulnerable to piecemeal development, an outcome some hope to prevent.

Making public a list of endangered places is one way to garner support for their protection, the group said.

"We try to remind people that there are preservation opportunities in every community," organization president Stephanie Meeks told Reuters.

"We hope through this list we help people identify what is important and special about their neighborhood," she said.

Dozens of nominations were whittled down to the final list by a group of preservation experts, Meeks said.

"We're looking for things that have historic or architectural significance where there is an urgent threat and there is an opportunity for a positive outcome," she said.

Also on the 2011 list, Belmead-on-the-James, a landmark of African American heritage in Powhatan County, Virginia that is deteriorating; China Alley in Hanford, California where historic buildings lack any staff to enforce preservation protections; and Fort Gaines, a fortress on Alabama's Dauphin Island, threatened by erosion.   Continued...

<p>Bear Butte, which some Native Americans consider sacred ground, looms behind campers and a bar during the Black Hills Motor Classic motorcycle rally in Sturgis, South Dakota August 6, 2006. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst</p>