The National Trust for Historic Preservation is the entity in charge of preserving our country’s historically significant places. Their efforts have helped save countless sites from demolition, decay and commercial development. Each year they publish a list of some of the most endangered historic places so that concerned folks can keep tabs on the threats to these sites.
The experience doesn’t have to be a negative one, though. Here’s a list of some of the top historical sites that we’ve managed to keep around over the past 30 years.
Antietam National Battlefield Park
Thanks to the Save Historic Antietam Foundation, this famous Civil War Battlefield has remained free from commercial development and is preserved today as a reminder of one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War. Most conservationists agree that any battlefield where American’s fought and died should be preserved, but Antietam is especially significant as it was the battle that caused President Abraham Lincoln to issue his famous Emancipation Proclamation.
Cathedral of St. Vibiana
This Italian-designed Roman Catholic cathedral is home to the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. In the mid-90s, the Archdiocese wanted to tear down the historic cathedral to build a larger facility. Luckily, preservationists intervened and managed to get the Cathedral of St. Vibiana on the National Trust’s endangered list. In the end, the church received a plot of land to build their larger cathedral and St. Vibiana remained untouched.
Little Rock Central High School
This Arkansas high school was the largest in America when it was built in 1927, but that’s not what makes it such a historical landmark. It was also the site of the 1957 incident where nine black students were denied entry to an all-white school despite the ruling by the Supreme Court directing all schools to desegregate. After years of wear and tear it became a historical landmark in 1982 and received vital funding for restoration.
The Penn Center
This small schoolhouse was the first for freed slaves in America. Classes began in 1862 after Union soldiers left the grounds. The school became a national landmark in 1974, and thanks to its addition to the National Trust’s list of endangered sites in 1990 it received some much-needed funding for restoration.
The Statler Hilton Dallas
This hotel opened in 1956 and was an absolute marvel at the time. Boasting a long list of hotel firsts including elevator music, TVs in each room and a heliport, this soaring hotel remained in business until 2001 when it closed its doors. In need of restoration and asbestos removal, it was likely the hotel would be demolished until, in 2008, it was added to the National Trust’s endangered list. Refurbishment began at the hotel in 2015 and it’s slated to reopen as a state of the art hotel again by 2018.