Celebrating 25 Years of America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places

Posted on: May 7th, 2012 by National Trust for Historic Preservation 29 Comments

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?

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

National Trust for Historic Preservation

National Trust for Historic Preservation

The National Trust for Historic Preservation, a privately funded non-profit organization, works to save America's historic places.

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29 Responses

  1. Sandi Switzer

    May 11, 2012

    Please consider preservation funds to prevent the closure of the Vermont Marble Co. exhibit in Proctor, Vt. It is not only important for the community but also a truly unique reflection of the local, state and national marble history. It impacted generations of people who came to this small marble town from all over the world in search of better lives. It would be an immense loss for everyone if the doors were permanently closed.

  2. Ann Marie Brennan

    May 11, 2012

    PLEASE consider adding the Vermont Marble Museum and Exhibit in Proctor VT to you list for preservation for this year. It would be a HUGE loss to the community, and the Nation for that matter, to have this gem close. To be able to learn how all the monument for our fallen soldiers in Arlington are produced, to being able to learn of the making of the Tomb of the Unknown, and how and where the marble is produced…can’t be learned anywhere else!!

  3. Becky Wagner-Pizza

    May 11, 2012

    Please help with the preservation of the Vermont Marble Museum. Unique historical places such at the Marble Museum–once they and their stories are gone, we, as a country, cannot replace them. We are from PA not VT, but it was such an interesting place to visit.

  4. Ann Merley

    May 11, 2012

    The Vermont Marble Museum and Exhibit is a unique and important part of our heritage and needs to be preserved. The Vermont Marble Company became one of the largest producers of marble in the world and contributed marble to the Washington Monument, United States Supreme Court building, Arlington National Cemetery, and Yale University’s Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library. The museum is a fascinating place to visit for adults and children alike and the museum also draws people to the lovely little town of Proctor.

  5. Maureen Smith

    May 11, 2012

    Please help to save this beautiful piece of Vermont history. So many historic bridges were lost in the flooding. That was nature, this can be controlled.

  6. Marsha Hemm

    May 11, 2012

    We and our supporters would like to have the Vermont Marble Museum included in the selection process for “America’s Most Endangered Historic Places 2012”. After over 25 years of running the Vermont Marble Museum we are forced to close. We need immediate attention to gain support to restructure the museum to keep the collection intact in the original factory in Proctor, Vermont.

    The Vermont Marble Museum has been open since the 1930′s when if was first set up as a sales tool for Vermont Marble Company customers. Located in the original manufacturing plant, our exhibits document the history of what was once the largest marble producer in the world, including early photographs, samples of many products and information about the evolution of the marble industry. Learn about owners, investors, innovators and the hard working people that quarried and moved huge slabs and produced everything from Supreme Court pillars to gravestones.

    It is the center of a town and industry built by ambitious Vermonters and immigrants from around the world.
    Some of the more important artifacts:
    Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Original Blueprint, Documentation, Hall of Presidents, US Supreme Court Mockup, Marble Library, Photo Archive, Mineral Collection, Vermont Geology Specimens, Ledgers and Book Collection.

  7. Deborah VonDette Barrett

    May 11, 2012

    The Vermont Marble Museum in Proctor Vt. is in urgent need of funds to save it from being shuttered this year.

    I have traveled from Massachusetts numerous times to visit this historic site and always come away with a better sense of our past and of an industry that helped build our country. During my last visit there, I spent time in the Hall of Presidents and remember thinking that every school child should have the opportunity to see these exceptional, fine marble carvings of our presidents. You can see a picture of the Hall of Presidents on my blog here:
    http://quincydailyphoto.blogspot.com/search/label/Stone%20Sculpture

    Time is of the essence. Please seriously consider adding this site for a preservation grant; we owe it to future generations to preserve this fascinating nugget of our country’s history.

  8. Debra Dauphinais

    May 12, 2012

    The Vermont Marble Exhibit in Proctor, Vermont is a unique treasure that not only commemorates the marble industry, but is an irreplacable piece of our national identity. The history and heritage of the Marble Exhibit deserve to be preserved for future generations – please include it on the list of Endangered Hisoric Places.

  9. Chris Miele

    May 12, 2012

    The Vermont Marble Museum in Proctor Vermont deserves to be on the list of Endangered Historic Places. It is so inter-twined with the history of the US and the very identity of the state of Vermont that it needs to be preserved for future generations.

  10. Richard Hosking

    May 12, 2012

    The Vermont Marble Museum is endanger of having to close and disperse its vast collection of marble history to the winds. Please preserve this one of a kind museum.

  11. Bonnie S

    May 12, 2012

    The Vermont Marble Museum is such a wonderful treasure for all of New England. It needs to be saved and preserved for its unique contribution to our regional history. It has been lovingly created and maintained.
    Such a loss if it were to die! I do not have Facebook or Twitter accts, but hope my words help here.

  12. Maureen

    May 12, 2012

    When I visited the Vermont Marble Museum, I couldn’t believe that such a beautiful place existed. As I walked through the museum, I was simply taken by the beauty that was showcased and highlighted within its walls. I learned so much about marble and it helped deepen what was previously a superficial appreciation for such a beautiful part of nature. I sincerely hope that you will add the Vermont Marble Museum and Exhibit in Proctor VT to you list for preservation for this year. Losing the museaum would be a tremendous loss not only to us, but to future generations as well… What is humanity without history, without beauty, without a safe place for these things to reside? Please, I implore you…

  13. Mary Jones

    May 12, 2012

    Please HELP Vermonters save The Vermont Marble Museum located in Proctor, Vermont . It is a gem woven into the fabric of Vermont’s marble quarrying industy. The museum is currently being threatened by the high cost of utilities, etc. The museum was opened in the 1930′s when it was first set up as a sales tool for Vermont Marble Company customers . Located in the original manufacturing plant, exhibits include early photographs, samples of many products and information about the the evolution of the marble industry. Visitors learn about the hard working people who quarried and moved huge slabs of marble and produced everything from Supreme Court pillars to gravestones. Please save this wonderful museum.

  14. Judy Willis

    May 12, 2012

    I have the same sentiments as others who have written in to support the preservation of the Vermont Marble Museum. It really is a national treasure. We live on Cape Cod and whenever in the Proctor area stop by the museum for a visit. It is unique, a thing of beauty and educational as well.

  15. Sarah Hall

    May 12, 2012

    May 12, 2012
    The Vermont Marble Museum is such a wonderful treasure for all of New England. It needs to be saved and preserved for its unique contribution to our region, state and town history. It has been lovingly created and maintained.
    Such a loss would change our town and state . I cannot express how much sadness it would be to have it gone in our small town. The many years blood, sweet and tears that the many of our townsman gave to the world needs to be saved and acknowledged for the future generations.

  16. Lydia

    May 12, 2012

    As others have said, The Vermont Marble Company was instrumental in supplying materials and expertise to erect some of the most important monuments in our great nation. Equally important is the stories of the people…the workers….who had an important role in that creation. We can NOT afford to let the next generation wonder how these structures came to be. We need to continue to share the stories of the people who helpeed to make this happen. Our next generation seems to have few places where they can be inspired to be the best that they can be. There are so many layers as to why this place is sooo deserving of being preserved!!! Lydia

  17. Louise

    May 12, 2012

    Please help us preserve our towns history for generations to come. The Vermont Marble Museum has been such an important part of not only our town but for the nation as a whole. Please help us so that furure generations can know and understand our history.

  18. Gail Delaney

    May 12, 2012

    We are Canadian Maritimers, PEI to be exact, and have a great appreciation and love for the New England States. Last fall we toured Vermont and the Vermont Marble Museum was one of our destinations and it was wonderful and such a treasure for the area. So full of history and it just blew us away to find it tucked away in such a beautiful setting. I happen to be a member of the National Trust and so enjoy the magazine, devouring every page. This educational, historic site deserves to be saved and supported by the Trust.

  19. Rosaline Horowitz

    May 12, 2012

    Please support the Vermont Marble Museum. It’s a wonderful New England treasure.

  20. Evelyn Jenney

    May 12, 2012

    Having lived in VT for over 25 years we have been interested in the natural resources available in this beautiful state. The place of marble in our history needs to be preserved. We always take visitors from others states to the museum because it is so unique. I lived in Mt Tabor and the Danby quarry is a wonder.
    Please help us preserve this important part of history.

  21. Laurie Pacecca

    May 12, 2012

    Please help to preserve the Vermont Marble Museum. My son & I stop by there EVERY time we visit Vermont – it is also one of the FIRST places we mention when we know someone is going to Vermont. It would be an incredible loss to have this fascinating place close!

  22. Harry Mosher

    May 12, 2012

    I am a Tour Operator in Columbus, OH and have brought groups, by motorcoach, to Vermont for many years. Our next tour is October 16-21, 2012 and we plan to again give our passengers the experience of touring this beautiful museum. Please help preserve it for future generation to see and learn the history of Vermont marble.

  23. Cathy Donnelly Fatigati

    May 13, 2012

    It is inportant to save the Vermont Marble Company. This is the history of Proctor Vermont. And very dear to families living there. I for one have family who worked for the marble company back in the 1800′s.
    eserved
    Please add Vermont Marble as one of the endangered historic sites. Vermont is full of history and it needs to be preserved for future generations.

  24. Glenn Campbell

    May 13, 2012

    Please add the Vermont Marble Company in Proctor, Vermont to the list of endangered historic sites. Many of the buildings in our nations capital were built from stone quarried and carved in this area by waves of immigrants from Ireland, Italy and Poland. The Vermont Marble buildings breath enormous amounts of history.

  25. Kevin A. Smith, P.E.

    May 13, 2012

    The Vermont Marble Museum is a unique place in and of itself. I have toured it many times for reference to the preservation of a ever diminishing craft, one that has been essential to all that came afterward in Vermont.

    But others can talk more intelligently than I about the value of the facility itself. Suffice it to say I would agree with them.

    I am writing to speak to the museum’s context. It is, I believe, the largest occupant of what is now mostly the derelict manufacturing sheds of the Vermont Marble Company, established by a member of the prominent Proctor family, after whom the Town is named. Long after the industry has diminished, the museum continues to adaptively reuse an existing industrial space that otherwise would have been abandoned and filled it with local treasures and history.

    The site overlooks the gorge of Sutherland Falls on Otter Creek. The Vermont Marble Company did and Central Vermont Public Service does, to this day, use the old penstock and turbines to create renewable energy for our local economy.

    Upstream of the falls is Proctor’s Marble Arch Bridge, a spectacular example of a marble-clad reinforced concrete structure commissioned by the Proctor family in honor of a family member who was State governor. Designed by New York City architect Harry Leslie Walker, it was completed in 1916 and widened in 1936. It was rehabilitated and reopened by the then State governor in 2003.

    Between the museum and the bridge is situated the remnants of Miss Emily Proctor’s house foundations and perimeter retaining walls, local landmarks.

    The museum is an integral part of this local context. By continuing in service, it demonstrates the efficacy of adaptive reuse of older, industrial spaces. The manufacturing buildings are well built and would pose more of a challenge to remove than to reuse.

    The museum has a legacy that is 75 years old. But it still shows the way forward for this entire industrial complex, for adaptive reuse of industrial infrastructure throughout the state and for the local community.

    Please help to preserve the Vermont Marble Museum in Proctor.

  26. Chris

    May 13, 2012

    The Vermont Marble Museum needs to be saved. It is a very important historic site in Vermont and deserves to be appreciated. Please do all that you can in helping to spread the word

  27. Sarah Coulter Danner

    May 13, 2012

    Please consider adding the Vermont marble Museum to your list of Historic Sites.
    I have visited this museum since childhood so for about 64 years.
    It has a special place in Vermont’s history and also our nation’s capitol with all the marble buildings and monuments. thank you for considering this and preserving it.
    Sarah

  28. Esther King

    May 14, 2012

    Please help us here in Proctor, Vermont preserve our unique niche in the history of this town and state that the Vermont Marble Museum displays.

  29. National Trust for Historic Preservation

    May 16, 2012

    We regret to inform you that the deadline for submitting an application for the 2012 list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places® has passed. We appreciate your efforts in bringing the Vermont Marble Museum to our attention and encourage you to apply next year.

    Additionally, there are other options for you to garner attention and support for your endangered historic place. The National Trust Preservation Funds support preservation at the local level by providing seed money for preservation projects. We also recommend that you contact your local preservation organizations to see what types of assistance they can provide. Again, we look forward to receiving an application next year should the museum’s threatened status remain unchanged.

    Thank you for your continued support of preservation and we hope you will follow the announcement on June 6, 2012 of the 2012 list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places.