The National Trust’s 11 Most Endangered list for 2023 includes Chinatowns, gas stations, and skyscrapers

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The National Trust’s 11 Most Endangered list for 2023 includes Chinatowns, gas stations, and skyscrapers

Philadelphia Chinatown is among the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s annual list of endangered sites. (Terry Robinson/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0)

A set of early skyscrapers left vacant, a Route 66 gas station beloved by the Hualapai Tribe, and two of country’s oldest Chinatowns, are among America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places for 2023.

Entering its 36th year with over 350 sites listed to date and just a select few lost, the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s annual list continues to be a large influence on the preservation of at risk architectural and cultural heritage sites. Each example on the list derives a form of historical importance and in turn cultural, but this year’s selection seems to take on a subtle theme of community.

The most obvious examples are the neighborhoods listed, two Chinatowns: Seattle Chinatown-International District and Philadelphia Chinatown, where generations of immigrants have found sanctuary and familiarity when entering a new country. These towns have faced possible changes in the past and survived, but now face renewed and new threats of gentrification and change.

Another community listed is that of Charleston’s Historic Neighborhoods in South Carolina, a community built on the waterfront through the means of maritime shipping and port operations, and even served as the as the port of the African American–led fleet of fishing boats known as the Charleston Mosquito Fleet from the Civil War up until 1989. The neighborhood is now used as a cruise terminal, but is currently in talks to create a new mixed-use district, earning its place upon this endangered list.

“The 11 Most Endangered list demonstrates the tremendous power of place. Each site offers an opportunity to engage with our shared history where it happened and inspires us to work together to honor each other’s experiences and contributions to our country,” said Chief Preservation Officer Katherine Malone-France in a press release. “These places and their stories might have been lost already if not for the dedication and perseverance of people who continue to stand up for them year after year. We are humbled and honored to join their fight.”

Osterman Gas Station (Kevin Davidson/Hualapai Planning & Economic Development Department)

The communities present in these neighborhoods continue to fight to preserve their homes, or even just the landmarks that make them feel like home. Also present on this year’s list is the Osterman Gas Station in Peach Springs, Arizona. The fuel station along Route 66 was bought by the local Hualapai Tribal community in an attempt to preserve the structure that means so much to their history.

Each site on the list faces its own set of related threats, either from developers, gentrification, climate change, weather conditions, age, or simply neglect, but regardless being placed on this endangered list serves as a means to call attention to these disappearing cultural centers and the value they hold for the nation.

In a press brief Jay Clemens, interim president and CEO of the National Trust, said: “The places on this list come in all forms, from individual residences to entire neighborhoods, and are located across the country from small communities to urban streetcorners and rural landscapes. The diversity of sites on the 2023 list—and the stories behind them—reflect the complexities and challenges that have always been part of what it means to be American but have not always received the attention they deserve. Losing any of them would diminish us all.”

Below is the full list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places for 2023. More information about each site can be found here.

Osterman Gas Station | Peach Springs, Arizona

(Rayc/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 3.0)

Little Santo Domingo | Miami

(Allapattah Collaborative CDC)

Pierce Chapel African Cemetery | Midland, Georgia

(Hamilton Hood Foundation)

Century and Consumers Buildings | Chicago

(Landmarks Illinois)

West Bank of St. John the Baptist Parish | Louisiana

(Brian M Davis)

Holy Aid and Comfort Spiritual Church (aka Perseverance Benevolent and Mutual Aid Society Hall) | New Orleans

(NTHP staff)

L.V. Hull Home and Studio | Kosciusko, Mississippi

(Yaphet Smith)

Henry Ossawa Tanner House | Philadelphia

(Justin Spivey/WJE Associates)

Philadelphia Chinatown | Pennsylvania

(Saiqian Xiao)

Charleston’s Historic Neighborhoods | South Carolina

(Vanessa Kauffmann)

Seattle Chinatown-International District | Washington

(Washington Trust for Historic Preservation)