The National Trust for Historic Preservation recently released its annual list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places. The National Trust’s list is a powerful and galvanizing tool for historic preservation.
The following sites are from the Mid-Atlantic Region:
Henry Ossawa Tanner House, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Constructed in 1871, the rowhouse is located in Philadelphia’s Strawberry Mansion neighborhood and was the home of Henry Ossawa Tanner (1859-1937), an African American painter. The Smithsonian American Art Museum has described him as “the most distinguished African American artist of the 19th century.”
Between 1871 and 1950, this National Historic Landmark was also home to many of Tanner’s influential family members, including his mother Sarah Elizabeth Tanner, who self-emancipated from enslavement as a child, along with her siblings, with the support of the Pennsylvania Abolition Society. Tanner’s father Benjamin Tucker Tanner was minister at Mother Bethel AME and later Bishop in the AME church and editor of the largest Black-owned periodical in the U.S. Tanner’s sister Dr. Halle Tanner Dillon Johnson was the first woman of any race to be a licensed physician in Alabama. Tanner’s niece Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander was the first Black person in the United States to earn a Ph.D. in Economics from an American university and the first National President of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc.
The Friends of the Tanner House, the Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia, the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for the Preservation of Civil Rights Sites, and other community partners will create a long-term stewardship plan that honors the legacy of the Tanner House and reflect the powerful impact of Black heritage.
Philadelphia Chinatown, Pennsylvania
Chinatown in Philadelphia is one of the oldest remaining active Chinatowns in the United States. Established in 1871, Philadelphia Chinatown includes over 40 historic properties and remains a vibrant community of Asian American businesses, community organizations, and residents.
Philadelphia Chinatown has been a sanctuary for working-class Asian immigrants since 1871 and remains a vibrant community of Asian American businesses, organizations, and residents. Over the last half-century, Philadelphia Chinatown has had to defend itself from inequitable land-use planning decisions and large-scale developments have claimed more than a quarter of its land. In 2022, the 76ers basketball team announced plans to build an 18,500-seat arena on the edge of Chinatown. Residents and neighborhood leaders are concerned as they have not been included in the planning process and they fear the arena could jeopardize the future of Chinatown.
The Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation, neighborhood groups, and advocates are organizing against the arena and are striving to prevent the erasure and demise of Philadelphia’s Chinatown.
For more information and a full list of 2023’s 11 most endangered historic places, click here.