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Yesterday the National Trust for Historic Preservation announced its list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places for the year, an annual call for awareness that it’s rallied for 27 years. While inclusion doesn’t secure any place’s future (see the now-demolished JFK Worldport Terminal and already partly destroyed Houston Astrodome from last year’s list), it does provide a rallying point and draw attention to some issues facing historic preservation.
Stephanie K. Meeks, president of the Trust, explains in a video released this week:
We hope that our listing will help draw attention to them and mobilize communities to help protect them. Over the years over 250 places have been included on the 11 Most Endangered Places list, but in that period of time, only a handful of them have been lost.
Perhaps the most significant issue noted this year isn’t a place at all, but the “Watch Status” on proposed elimination of a federal historic tax credit through congressional tax reform. As the National Trust notes, the credit has “attracted $109 billion to the rehabilitation of nearly 40,000 historic commercial buildings in the U.S., creating 2.4 million jobs and sparking downtown revitalization nationwide.” However, that incentive may disappear, and with it some of the hope for the 11 places on this year’s list.
Among them is Frank Lloyd Wright’s 1954 Spring House in Tallahassee, Florida, one of his rare, late-career, “hemicycle”-shaped buildings, and his only private home in the state. Unfortunately, even architecture by icons like Wright isn’t always an obvious preservation choice — just last year his Park Avenue showroom was suddenly torn down. Constructed with cypress siding and columns, the Spring House looks a bit like a ship but hasn’t been a match for insects, woodpeckers, and storms that have done visible damage. Now, the Spring House Institute is working to buy and restore the structure.
The National Trust is also throwing in its support for the Palisades in New Jersey. The proposal by LG Electronics to construct a building that would slice through the cliff view has already been met with opposition from the National Park Service, Metropolitan Museum of Art (whose Cloisters overlook the terrain), and Larry Rockefeller, grandson of John D. Rockefeller, who protected the land through a donation in the 1930s. Perhaps the additional weight of the National Trust will help bring about a compromise between preservationists and LG, which is promising an economic boost to the area.
Here are more of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places for 2014 as listed by the National Trust for Historic Preservation:
Poussin and the Dance is a valiant attempt to break into Poussin’s staunchly academic oeuvre and provide a relatable point of entry, highlighting the exciting elements of revelry and movement despite impenetrable and unemotional rendering.
Anarchist illustrator N.O. Bonzo produces decentralized media in a highly bureaucratic cultural landscape. Their illustrations, murals, and literature emerge in unexpected places, from the streets of Portland, Oregon, to the far ends of Reddit and Twitter, addressing relations of labor and identity in the workplace and on the streets. Growth and care are central themes…
This exhibition explores how images of the human body were used to provoke profound physical and emotional responses in viewers from the 15th through 18th centuries.
With scavenged materials, Amanda Maciel Antunes constructs a motherland.
Where are the directors taking the stage to acknowledge workers’ demands today?
The collaborative handmade paper- and printmaking center at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts publishes new works by Liz Collins and Sarah McEneaney.
There is a debate whether the memory of Little Syria should be seized upon to tell truthful and positive stories about Arabs in the US, or whether any conflation between its history and contemporary politics is inappropriate.
The profile includes works by Egon Schiele, Amedeo Modigliani, Peter Paul Rubens, and a prehistoric Venus of Willendorf figurine.
These horrifying dolls definitely won’t murder you in your sleep.