Destinations

The Historic American Sites That We Saved and Lost In 2013

@SamShankman

Jan 04, 2014 10:00 am

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Americans received a wake up call to the importance of their parks and monuments in 2013 when a partial government shutdown closed hundreds of sites. But there are smaller institutions and patches of land across the country that fight for their survival on a daily basis.

— Samantha Shankman

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Minneapolis’ Peavey Plaza was built in 1975 and served a critical role in revitalizing downtown Minneapolis. Preservationists succeeded in suing the City Council after they voted to demolish Peavey Plaza, which will now be rehabilitated instead.

Jensen-Byrd is a 104-year-old former warehouse that’s remained empty for a decade after being acquired by Washington State University. The University almost sold the warehouse to a company that planned to tear it down, but preservationists convinced the university to restore the building instead.

Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell approved the Fort Monroe Authority’s master plan to restore and revitalize historic Fort Monroe. Its historic buildings will be used for new projects and protected from vandalism and deterioration.

A federal court ruled in favor of preservation activists when it ruled that a real estate company could not demolish a 1939 addition to the historic Stamford Post Office, which it bought earlier this year.

A federal court ruled that the Bureau of Land Management did not properly protect historic and cultural sites of the Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument. The ruling ensured long-term preservation of the monument.

Terminal Island in Los Angeles was a major shipbuilding center during World War I and World War II. In August, the Los Angeles Board of Harbor Commissioners approved a plan that would preserve the vacate historic buildings on the island.

Wrigley Field still needs some renovations, but the family that bough the ballpark in 2009 is now working with a renowned preservation architect to resort the park’s historic elements throughout any changes.

President Obama designated 5 new National Monuments in March 2013. The sites include the first state national monuments in Delaware and Pennsylvania as well as monuments representing Native American and Latino communities in New Mexico.

The Saenger Theatre in New Orleans first opened in 1927, was converted into a performance space in 1970, and suffered severe water damage during Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The venue re-opened in October after a 8-year restoration funded through a public-private partnership and help from the federal rehabilitation tax credit program.

Stakeholders in Charleston’s cruise industry have wanted to build a new cruise terminal for almost four years. In September, a U.S. Federal Court found that a new terminal did not comply with the National Historic Preservation Act. However, the battle to save Charleston’s waterfront will continue in 2014.


At the end of the year, the National Trust for Historic Preservation compiled a list of what they deemed to be the 10 most exciting historic preservation saves in 2013. The diverse set of sites includes an empty warehouse, historic post office, and the campground of American explorer Meriwether Lewis.

However, the past year wasn’t without some reluctant goodbyes. Delta Air Lines began tearing down the World Port Terminal at JFK Airport to make space for an aircraft parking zone. A court approved the demolition of the first racially integrated library located in Charleston, South Carolina. And preservationists lost a 10-year fight over a historic railroad bridge in Rochester, New York.

A list of preservation wins compiled by the National Trust for Historic Preservation is below and their photos can be seen in the slideshow above.

  1. Peavey Plaza, Minneapolis, Minn.
  2. Jensen-Byrd, Spokane, Washington
  3. Fort Monroe, Hampton, Virginia
  4. Stamford Post Office, Stamford, Connecticut
  5. Montana’s Upper Missouri River Breaks, Central Montana
  6. Terminal Island, Port of Los Angeles
  7. Wrigley Field, Chicago
  8. Five National Monuments designated by President Barack Obama
  9. New Orleans’ Saenger Theatre
  10. Waterfront, Charleston, S.C.

The 10 historic U.S. sites that were lost in 2013:

  1. Prentice Women’s Hospital, Chicago
  2. Cyclorama Center, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
  3. Chinese Hospital, San Francisco
  4. The Pagoda Palace Theater, San Francisco
  5. World Port Terminal at John F. Kennedy International Airport, New York
  6. Univision Building, San Antonio, Texas
  7. St. Nicholas Croatian Catholic Church, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  8. Charleston County Public Library, Charleston, South Carolina
  9. Hojack Swing Bridge, Rochester, New York
  10. Pompey’s Pillar Vandalism and Government Shutdown

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