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11 preservation success stories

By: Matt Hickman on June 29, 2017, 9:33 a.m.
Antietam National Battlefield Park survived various development-minded plans.

Photo: Jon Bilous/Shutterstock

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Withstood the trials of time

Every year since 1987, the National Trust for Historic Preservation has published a list that serves as a catalyst, a cautious reminder that while historic designation in the United States provides some level of protection to landmarked heritage sites, it doesn't necessarily guarantee perpetual immunity. Even historic places that we might assume to be "safe" can encounter peril — be it decay, demolition, development and a myriad of man-made and natural disasters.

For the 2017 edition of its Most Endangered Historic Places list, the National Trust decided to mix things up. Instead of sounding the alarm for a fresh batch of vulnerable sites, the list takes a misty-eyed trip down memory lane to revisit 11 resounding preservation success stories from the past 30 years. From the San Francisco Bay to the Sea Islands of South Carolina, these are all places — a high school, a battlefield (pictured), a hotel and an archaeological site among them — that have all been saved.

That said, not all of the historic sites to be included on the National Trust's annual list — and there have been many — over the last three decades have survived. Detroit's Tiger Stadium and the old Pan Am terminal at John F. Kennedy International Airport are just two sites that have been listed … and subsequently lost. Most, however, have pulled through, and the National Trust can be thanked for helping to bring widespread attention to their plight. And while it can be disheartening to see a place that's important to you appear on the list, it's actually a good thing as the site can only benefit from this high-profile inclusion.

Without further ado, here are 11 historic places to be classified as endangered by the National Trust over the past 30 years that are still with us today — high-fives all around.