Wide open space: that's something North Dakota has a lot of. However, if you’ve ever explored this part of Big Sky Country, you know that the prairie – which seems to stretch and roll endlessly – is often punctuated by simple, yet remarkable church houses.
Built by first-generation settlers from Germany, Poland, Iceland, Russia, and Scandinavia, these structures served as the glue for rural life. By the early 2000s, though, many had seen better days – it was estimated that as many as 400 of the churches were vacant and directly threatened with demolition. Something had to be done.
In 2001, the prairie churches of North Dakota were added to the National Trust's list of America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places. What ensued was a grassroots effort led by Preservation North Dakota that, to this day, works community by community to save these amazing treasures.
The rebirth of these prairie icons is one of hundreds of success stories born out of our annual endangered list. In fact, since its inception in 1988, the list has become one of the most effective tools for saving our country's architectural, cultural, and natural heritage. Of the 234 places that have been listed over the years, only a few have been lost. That's a track record worth celebrating, and this is the year to do it.
2012 marks the 25th anniversary of America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places. As we prepare for this year's announcement (save the date: Wednesday, June 6), we invite you to follow along online as we spotlight a quarter-century of people saving amazing places. Here's where you can find us:
- Pinterest: Each Thursday, we'll create a board dedicated to a former listing that is back from the brink. Follow throughout the day as we curate tons of amazing photography, all snapped by people who are passionate about that place.
- Twitter: Put your preservation knowledge to the test with trivia tweets about former listings. Keep an eye on hashtag #SavingPlaces for all the action.
- Our Blog: Check back here each Tuesday for a special post on an 11 Most success story. We'll offer insight into how former listings were saved, and of course, some really awesome photos.
- Facebook: Who doesn't like to be in the know? On Tuesday, June 5, we'll offer our fans an exclusive sneak peek at a place to be included on this year's endangered list.
Also, be sure to check out our website, which we've updated with one amazing story per year of America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places.
Which of these places inspires you?