Now in its 36th year, the National Trust’s annual list of America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places continues to be a powerful, galvanizing tool for historic preservation, with over 350 sites listed and only a handful lost.
The diversity of sites on this year’s list mirrors the diversity of the American experience and reflects the National Trust’s continued commitment to saving the places that tell the full American story. What’s more, the layered stories behind these places illustrate the complexities and challenges that have always been part of what it means to be American, but that have not always received the attention they deserve.
One significant theme of the 2023 list is how multicultural communities that grew in parallel with a specific place now face cultural erasure—the gradual disappearance of community landmarks that help tell the story of those who’ve called a place home, along with the loss of treasured local businesses, restaurants, customs, and traditions. By rallying around the places that symbolize their history and stories, many neighborhoods and communities are leading the charge to protect what makes them special in the face of overdevelopment, displacement, and gentrification.
Take Chinatowns, for example. Historically, residents and supporters of Chinatowns have fought—and continue to fight—large-scale development projects that demand they and other communities of color accept disproportionate harm in the name of progress for all. This year we highlight two such communities—Seattle Chinatown-International District and Philadelphia Chinatown—where residents, businesses, and other supporters are demanding that decision-makers center their voices, illuminating more equitable paths forward for these irreplaceable neighborhoods.
Similarly, for many of the other listed sites, descendants and activists have stepped up to interpret and protect their ancestors’ legacies, while also combatting erasure and supporting community-centered economic development. What unites these locally led efforts is that they empower communities to use their unique pasts to shape their own futures.
All told, this year’s 11 Most Endangered list spotlights the inextricable connections between people, place, and history. Read more about these significant sites and learn how you can support them.
See the full list at https://savingplaces.org/stories/11-most-endangered-historic-places-2023