Dr. Jeffrey Crow, State Historic Preservation Officer, announced Historic Wilmington Foundation's 2010 list of the Lower Cape Fear region's most endangered sites today. The MTHP list is below:
Rosenwald Schools, Pender Co:
Over the last year public awareness of the region’s Rosenwald Schools has grown dramatically because of the hard work of Claudia Stack and other activists. However, these structures, built as forums for African American education at the beginning of the twentieth-century, continue to be threatened by neglect, deterioration, and expanding development. Unless dramatic action is taken, these important reminders of our state’s history of inequitable education will disappear.
Historic Wooden Windows, Lower Cape Fear Region:
A building’s character is often determined by its windows. Frequently, however, historic windows are improperly removed when a structure is repaired or rehabilitated and replaced with inappropriate modern glazing. In most cases, wooden windows can be repaired and upgraded in an environmentally friendly manner while retaining historic integrity.
Historic Working Farms, throughout the Cape Fear Region:
Historically, agriculture has been central to the region’s economy, yet as the population of Southeastern North Carolina swells, the region’s working farms are disappearing. Sprawling commercial and residential developments consume land and undercut agriculture’s viability by increasing land value and, thus, property tax burdens. As farms vanish, the character of the community is altered. The Smart Growth movement advocates protecting agricultural lands by focusing development on existing communities.
Affordable Historic Vernacular Houses, Wilmington, NC:
Modest domestic structures located throughout the city’s neighborhoods, including bungalows, cottages, and shotgun houses, provide quality living spaces for working people while simultaneously serving as the foundation of the community’s historic identity. Increased awareness of these often-overlooked structures may protect them from adverse governmental action and assist in alleviating the region’s crisis in affordable housing.
Wooden Markers, Cemeteries, Brunswick County, NC:
Some of Brunswick County’s cemeteries are graced by rare, wooden grave markers. These extant examples of a regional mourning tradition are threatened by neglect and lack of proper attention.
Rural AME Zion Churches, throughout the Region:
Churches have long formed the heart of the African American community. Yet, many AME Zion churches throughout the region have seen their congregations dwindle due to economic and demographic changes. Structures, like Reaves AME Zion church in Navassa and Moore’s Chapel AME Zion Church off Hwy 133 in Brunswick County, become endangered when they no longer house a vibrant, economically-viable church to maintain them.
Brick and Stone Walls and Granite Curbs, Downtown Wilmington:
Historic brick and stone walls and granite curbs comprise a significant aspect of our fair city’s historic landscape. These masonry features function to define property boundaries, protect privacy, and hold embankments in place, but also contribute to the community’s charm and sense of place. When they are lost to neglect, damage, or new construction, the character of the city is diminished.
Most Threatened Historic Places Watch List:
Lucile Shuffler Building/Sunset Park School, Wilmington:
Located on Carolina Beach Road near Greenfield Lake, the Sunset Park School was constructed in 1920 to serve students from the city’s newest suburban development. Currently owned by New Hanover County, this modest neoclassical structure is threatened by years of deferred maintenance exacerbated by the current fiscal crisis.
Tide Water Power & Light Building, 320 Chestnut Street:
Built for the Tidewater Power & Light Company in the 1950s, this structure is arguably Wilmington’s best example of a modern mid-twentieth century commercial high rise. New Hanover County offices have been housed in the structure, but its continued use has been called into question by water leaks. Because of the community’s lack of appreciation for twentieth-century modern architecture, elected officials have suggested that they might wish to tear down the building rather than reinvesting in the historic infrastructure already owned by the county’s tax payers.
St. Peter and Paul Russian Orthodox Church, St. Helena:
Built to serve a community of Russian Orthodox immigrants in Pender County, this church with its picturesque golden onion dome has long been threatened by a shrinking congregation. Members of the church are concerned about stewarding this community structure into the future.
Former Topsail High School, Rte. 17, Hampstead, NC:
Built in the early decades of the twentieth century, this structure is a reminder of the importance of education to our region. Located in an expanding commercial corridor, this historic building is currently unutilized by Pender County. The increasing value of the land upon which it sits could make this building a likely candidate for demolition.