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Preservation Round-Up: 11 Most in the News

Posted on: June 8th, 2012 by David Garber 1 Comment


Each year, the week of the 11 Most Endangered Historic Places announcement is always busy with events, web updates, press calls, and media coverage. And each year we're fortunate to help draw a lot of attention to places that need it.

Our lists of threatened historic places resonate because they cover a wide set of history and place interests, and a diversity of geography, site type, and related people groups. As you can see below, this year's list is no different, so we thought we'd share some of the great pieces that came through the wire over the past couple days.

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.

DC Celebrates 25 Years of the 11 Most List

Posted on: June 7th, 2012 by David Garber


Yesterday evening -- just a few hours after announcing our 2012 list of America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places -- a crowd of about 150 people gathered at the Fathom Gallery on 14th Street, NW (just across from our Restoration Diary project) to celebrate the past 25 years of saving places using our 11 Most list as a platform. It was also the coming out party for our new brand, and a time to hear from people in a variety of fields about the ways they are working to "save places" across DC. There was a hashtag, National Trust swag, music, and refreshments. In short, it was a party for preservation.

Left to right: A guest fills in one of her favorite places in DC; National Trust all-stars Jason and Jessica pose for the cameras; Living Social's Aaron Rinaca chats it up after his talk.

One of the coolest elements of the party was the program. National Trust President Stephanie Meeks spoke briefly about the 11 Most program and premiered our new video that celebrates its last 25 years. Then a lineup of five speakers spoke for only a few minutes each.

There were representatives from Popularise -- the online tool for communities to crowdsource ideas for old buildings, Living Social -- which chooses to locate their offices in older buildings across the world, ARCH Development -- a non-profit using arts and events to draw people into DC's Anacostia neighborhood, Capital Pixel -- a rendering company that uses imagery to inspire restorations of old houses, the Rainbow History Project -- which produces maps and walking tours of historic LGBT sites around the city, PGN Architects -- a firm that is working on a number of adaptive reuse projects, and Dupont Underground -- a team of people collaborating to bring new life to an abandoned streetcar tunnel.

Nikki Peele, the speaker from ARCH Development, communicated the room's common passion well when she noted that "historic places are the bookmarks of our story." Considering the young and diverse audience at the party, it appears the book on preservation in America is still very much being written.

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.


This year marks the 25th anniversary of the National Trust's annual list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places. Since our first list in 1988, we have identified more than 230 threatened one-of-a-kind historic treasures. Whether these sites are urban districts or rural landscapes, Native American landmarks or 20th-century sports arenas, entire communities or single buildings, the list spotlights historic places across America that are threatened by neglect, insufficient funds, inappropriate development, or insensitive public policy.

The unveiling of the list is always a bittersweet moment. A culmination of hundreds of hours of hard work by hundreds of people, the list becomes a rallying cry for supporters of incredibly important -- yet unfortunately threatened -- historic sites nationwide. But the fact that the list even exists means that there's a lot more work still to be done.

Without further ado, here is the 2012 list of America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places:

The National Trust’s 2012 list includes the once-thriving African-American commercial district of Sweet Auburn in Atlanta, Joe Frazier’s Gym in Philadelphia, historic U.S. Post Office buildings across the country, the Village of Zoar in Ohio, the Ellis Island Hospital Complex in New York, and more.

Be sure to check out our official America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places web page for more information on this year's historic places and the threats against them.

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.

Restoration Diary: Joists and Belgian Waffles

Posted on: June 5th, 2012 by David Garber 1 Comment


The big news at Lionel Lofts over the past month -- during which time not a lot of *visual* progress has been made, save for the new foundation wall in the back of the building -- is that the retail space has been leased to "B Too," a new concept from Belgian chef Bart Vandaele, who has built a following at the Capitol Hill neighborhood's popular brunch spot Belga Café.

Even cooler is the news that all of the building's original joists will be reused inside the restaurant. The boards will be taken offsite to be cleaned and treated, but will retain a rustic looks inside the new space.

The Washington Post revealed some exciting details on the restaurant space last month:

The ground floor of the 150-seat restaurant, a former locksmith shop, will feature a waffle bar and breakfast by day and frites served through a window at night. To access the private dining room in the basement of B Too, diners will descend on a glass stairway that will make visible the contents of the wine and beer cellar. Open kitchens will distinguish both floors.

Guess we still have a few Restoration Diary posts to go before this great building adaptation is complete...

More information on this development project can be found on the Lionel Lofts website.

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.


Oklahoma City's Gold Dome Bank is unique. Built in 1958 as a Citizens State Bank, the roof is a geodesic dome made of anodized aluminum panels that gleam in the sunlight. It was the fifth geodesic dome built in the world, and was designed using futurist Buckminster Fuller's patented plans.

An Oklahoma City postcard showing the Citizens State Bank in the 1950s.

In a January 2011 article for Yahoo! Voices, Oklahoma City resident Brandon Bowman wrote: "The dome is constructed of 625 diamond-shaped anodized aluminum panels which were originally a bright gold color, but they have faded over the years to patchy shades of gold and silver. The dome is supported by aluminum struts which have also aged from black to a chalky white color. But despite the effects of weathering, the overall effect is futuristic, unearthly, and immediately attention getting. For those with an active imagination, it looks like a domed metal spacecraft has landed in the middle of Oklahoma City. Which was what the architect and builder intended; a modern and technological marvel of a building, a real "traffic stopper" for it's time."

But when the bank building was listed on our America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places list in 2002, it wasn't for deferred maintenance. The building had been purchased by a new bank that wanted to demolish it and build a new branch on the site -- news that Oklahoma's preservation community wasn't thrilled about. After organizing under the name "Citizens for the Golden Dome," supporters gathered to rally in the streets, lobby the city's Historic Preservation and Landmark Commission to give it landmark status, and even enlisted the Sonic drive-in across the street to put a preservation message on its billboard.

On the inside, the panels still gleam a bright gold.

Fortunately for Oklahoma City, the new owners delayed their plans to demolish the building, giving supporters an opportunity to find a new buyer for the building that was interested in saving it. In 2003, just as time was starting to run out, local optometrist Dr. Irene Lam -- who had been looking for an interesting building to expand her practice in -- stepped up to the plate. Since then, the building has been listed as an Oklahoma Historical Site and placed  on the National Register of Historic Places.

Over the last decade, the Gold Dome has seen tenants come and go. It is now used as an event space, a multi-cultural community center, Dr. Lam's practice, and home to two art galleries. A popular restaurant that had located in a portion of the space, Prohibition Room, recently closed, and some have speculated that the building might work best in its original function: as home to a single tenant. For now, not knowing what it might become down the road, the community is just glad the building is still standing.

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.