National Trust for Historic Preservation names 11 places “previously left at the margins” to its annual list of endangered sites and properties

Plea for Help

National Trust for Historic Preservation names 11 places “previously left at the margins” to its annual list of endangered sites and properties

The Hudson-Athens Lighthouse in Athens, New York, is among the 11 places listed on the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s 2024 roster of endangered places in the U.S. and beyond. (MikeDNJ89/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 4.0)

A clan house in Alaska, the residence of a little-known country singer, and a lighthouse on the Hudson River, are among the 11 places spanning the U.S., its territories, and even Morocco that the National Trust for Historic Preservation has named to its annual list of endangered places. This year’s roster of derelict and at-risk houses, properties, and neighborhoods underscore backstories “previously left at the margins,” said Carol Quillen, president and CEO of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

“Seventy-five years ago, widely recognized sites of national history were largely confined to the East Coast and ‘historic preservation’ was synonymous with the great architecture of our Founding Fathers. That foundation is still important, but today there’s more recognition that history ought to help us tell the full American story, including that of groups and places previously left at the margins,” Quillen shared in a statement. “That expanded perspective is reflected throughout this year’s list, particularly in the three sites located outside of the contiguous United States.”

Readers who have been following along will identify repeat themes and narratives in the places named on this year’s list with prior iterations. Last year, Chinatowns in Philadelphia and Seattle were named. Again, sites with histories centering Black individuals and histories related to slavery in the U.S. are centered.

Locations named on the 2024 list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places span the country, from Alaska to the Virgin Islands to the center of the Hudson River. As with any historic property the significance of the architecture is equally as powerful as the historic narratives of these places and their pasts.

See the full list of this year’s named properties below and read more about each one here.

Cindy Walker House, Mexia, Texas

The roof on the former home of country music songwriter Cindy Walker has nearly caved in and plant growth has overtaken much of the building and its surrounding property.

house in Eatonville, Florida
A house in Eatonville, Florida (Ebyabe/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 3.0)

Eatonville, Florida

This small city in Florida made history as “one of the first self-governing all-Black municipalities” in the country.

Estate Whim Museum, Frederiksted, St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands

Former plantation homes and facilities once used for the production of cotton are front and center at this estate-turned-museum in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Intense storms have damaged much of the architectural history so integral to this site and the telling of its histories related to slavery and cotton production.

Hudson-Athens Lighthouse, Athens, New York

It’s tradition for lighthouses to appear on coastlines, however, much less precedented for the beacons for seafarers to be situated in the center of a body of water, like the Hudson-Athens Lighthouse. Erosion poses a significant threat to the future of this New York–based lighthouse, which is in dire need of repairs.

Little Tokyo, Los Angeles

As mentioned, last year’s list of endangered places shed light on Chinatowns and historically ethnic neighborhoods in the U.S. that face a loss of character as city neighborhoods change and see more development. It will take a community effort to save Los Angeles’s Little Tokyo.

walden pond sign
Walden Pond, the famous subject of author Henry David Thoreau, is among a number of sites with literary prominence in Massachusetts. (Erik Granlund/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 4.0)

Minute Man National Historical Park, Walden, and nearby landmarks, Massachusetts

Beyond buildings, this year’s list also names historic landscapes like that of Walden Pond and the larger literary community that once blossomed in this part of rural Massachusetts, when writers such as Louisa May Alcott, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Ralph Waldo Emerson penned seminal works from these forests and homesteads. Proposed expansion here to a local airport poses a threat to the area with deep roots, literally and figuratively.

New Salem Baptist Church, Tams, West Virginia

The National Trust has long-championed the preservation of Black churches and the communities they serve, giving many congregations a much-needed financial lift through its grant program. This year’s list of endangered places includes a church in West Virginia with ties to Black coal miners that requires upkeep and repairs.

theodore roosevelt high school
A list of famous individuals attended Roosevelt High School in Gary, Indiana, a school that now sits vacant. (T. Tolbert/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 3.0)

Roosevelt High School, Gary, Indiana

Another important site for Black Americans named on this year’s list hails from Gary, Indiana: Roosevelt High School. Famously, the brick school was attended by several students who went on to make big names for themselves, among these members of The Jackson 5 and athletes such as NBA player Winston Garland and MLB player Joe Gates. Since 2019 the school has sat vacant and the community is actively looking for a new use.

Sitka Tlingit Clan Houses, Sitka, Alaska

Clan houses and the history related to clans and Indigenous practice and culture are, sadly, among narratives often “left at the margins.” In Alaska, several are still standing, grasping tightly onto a history that is widely unknown and becoming less and less practiced. Restoration of existing clan houses and even the construction of new ones could save these traditions.

The American Legation in Morocco
Tangier American Legation (Abdelbaar Mounadi/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 4.0)

Tangier American Legation, Tangier, Morocco

The only location on this year’s list located outside of the U.S. and its territories is the Tangier American Legation in Morocco. The diplomatic building gifted to the U.S. in 1821 faces a long list of repairs.

Wilderness Battlefield Area, Orange County, Virginia

Another landscape named on the roster is the Wilderness Battlefield Area. It was here, during the Civil War, where General Ulysses S. Grant fought against General Robert E. Lee. The area and the historic sites and landscape it comprises is endangered due to the construction of data centers and suburban neighborhoods.