These Are the Most Endangered Historic Sites in the U.S.

·4 min read
Photo credit: Jeremy D'Entremont, www.lighthouse.cc - Getty Images
Photo credit: Jeremy D'Entremont, www.lighthouse.cc - Getty Images

America is a young country compared to places like Europe, but there's a whole lot of history to uncover from these lands. The only problem? So much of it remains unknown to the general public—and plenty of it is disappearing at an alarming rate. But all is not lost yet. For the 34th year in a row, the National Trust for Historic Preservation is unveiling its list of the 11 most endangered historic places across the country to help us preserve and remember these lesser known sites. Of the 300 locations that have been highlighted on the annual list, only three percent have actually been lost, says the organization.

“These 11 Most Endangered Historic Places demonstrate that the act of preservation is a powerful form of activism itself that makes a tangible difference in the way we understand ourselves as a nation,” says Katherine Malone-France, the Trust’s chief preservation officer in a statement. “The stories told by each demonstrate that our history is often not simple or easy, but it is always powerful. That is why saving and stewarding these places and their stories is so important. They help us more accurately define who we are as a people, recognize our intricate cultural connections with each other, and inspire us to work together to build a more just and equitable future.”

Among the sites are one of the first hotels for Black Americans, the home of a Black midwife that helped many mothers during the Jim Crow era, and a trading post used by Navajo communities. You can find the complete list of 11 endangered sites below.

The Trujillo Adobe

Location: Riverside, California

The oldest remaining structure in the area was the home of Lorenzo Trujillo, an indigenous Mexican who helped immigrants settle in inland California during the 1700s.

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Georgia B. Williams Nursing Home

Location: Camilla, Georgia

Also known as Miss Bea, the Black midwife Beatrice Borders and her assistants helped deliver more than 6,000 babies to mothers who came from across the rural South during the Jim Crow era at this maternity shelter.

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Selma to Montgomery March Camp Sites

Location: Selma, Alabama

Three Black farms offered up their land to be used as camp sites for the participants of the 1965 march from Selma to Montgomery. Two remain today: the David Hall farm and the Garden farm, both of which are still family-owned.

Pine Grove Elementary School

Location: Cumberland, Virginia

The school was used as a group center in the early and mid 1900s, providing educational services and programs for the Black community and hosting many civil rights meetings.

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The Oljato Trading Post

Location: San Juan County, Utah

Built in 1921, and fully owned by the Oljato-Navajo community, this trading post was a social hub for Navajo communities and helped offer them a place to sell and trade their handicrafts and other products.

Summit Tunnels 6 & 7 and Summit Camp Site

Location: Truckee, California

This site honors the mostly unknown legacy of thousands of Chinese workers who dug tunnels and railroad beds to create the Transcontinental Railroad from 1865 to 1867.

Threatt Filling Station and Family Farm

Location: Luther, Oklahoma

The first known Black-owned gas station operating on Route 66 during the Jim Crow era, the property also served as a refuge for Black families displaced by the Tulsa Race Massacre.

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Morningstar Tabernacle No.88 Order of Moses Cemetery and Hall

Location: Cabin John, Maryland

Portions of this 1885 cemetery were destroyed by the construction of a highway in the 1960s; what remains of this Black settlement's bereavement site is the subject of an ongoing effort to avoid a similar fate.

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Boston Harbor Islands

Location: Boston, Massachusetts

The home of some of the oldest Native American archaeological landscapes in the area is also the site of the Boston Light and Fort Standish.

Sarah E. Ray House

Location: Detroit, Michigan

This is the home of civil rights activist Sarah Elizabeth Ray, who successfully filed a discrimination suit against a steam boat that turned her away on the basis of her race. Her case was later used during the historic Brown v. Board of Education trial to dismantle the theory of "separate but equal."

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The Riverside Hotel

Location: Clarksdale, Mississippi

One of the very few Black-owned hotels and boarding homes in the Mississippi area during the Jim Crow era, it hosted many shows for jazz and blues legends of the time.

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