Yesterday, the National Trust for Historic Preservation released its list of the eleven most endangered historic places in the country. The Trust chooses places for the list that are at risk of destruction or irreversible damage. The threats the historic sites face range from climate change to neglect and the prospect of being sold for development.
This year the list includes two places in the Mid-Atlantic region. Willert Park Court in Buffalo, New York was the state’s first housing project intended specifically for African Americans. The site is a unique example of early Modernist architecture that includes bas-reliefs depicting everyday life in the community. The Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority plans to demolish Willert Park Court and replace it with new housing.
The second Mid-Atlantic site is one of the most well-known historic places in the country- the National Mall Tidal Basin in Washington D.C. Home to many of the country’s most recognizable monuments and iconic cherry blossom trees, the National Mall is threatened by rising sea levels that make the Tidal Basin unstable, flood surrounding sidewalks, and endanger the roots of the cherry blossoms. The National Trust estimates that $500 million is needed to protect the Mall. Together with the National Park Service and the Trust for the National Mall, the Trust has launched the “Save the Tidal Basin” campaign.
Despite these threats, prospects for these sites look good. The National Trust has been releasing its list of the eleven most endangered places in the country for 32 years. Over this time period, 300 sites have been listed and only five percent of those listed have been lost.