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A Noguchi-designed plaza and 10 other historic sites are the most endangered sites in the US in 2024

From the modest Texas home of a famous songwriter to an ethnic enclave in California to a key site in the American Revolution against the British, the National Trust for Historic Preservation has released its annual list of America’s most endangered historic places.

The organization has been publishing the list for almost four decades and reports a high success rate. She says that of the 350 sites she listed, only a handful have been lost.

This year’s locations include neglected Mexia, Texas, home of country songwriter Cindy Walker, who was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1997; Little Tokyo in Los Angeles, which has survived detention camps and urban renewal but is threatened by nearby development; and Minute Man National Historical Park, the Massachusetts site where the 1775 “shot heard round the world” was fired.

Also on the list is the Hudson-Athene Lighthouse, one of only two “middle-of-the-river” lighthouses on the Hudson River, which is threatened by erosion; the New Salem Baptist Church in Tams, West Virginia, a center of community life for black miners from the early 20th century; and the Sitka Tlingit Clan Homes in southeastern Alaska, which organizers say are critical to both the history and future of the Lingít (commonly spelled “Tlingit” in English).

The Japanese American Cultural and Community Center features a plaza and artwork by Isamu Noguchi. Photo courtesy of Mallury Patrick Pollard/JACCC.

One site has a connection between the art world and the art world. Founded in 1884, LA’s Little Tokyo is home to some 400 small businesses, some of which are longstanding establishments. Developments from the nearby Downtown neighborhood are threatening the neighborhood’s character, with a number of popular restaurants and shops already going out of business.

The Japanese American Cultural and Community Center there features an outdoor plaza designed by Japanese American artist and LA native Isamu Noguchi, as well as one of the artist’s stone sculptures. It is, the organization noted, his only publicly accessible work in the city.

Doors and windows of the Legation’s Arab pavilion. Courtesy of Tangier American Legation Institute for Moroccan Studies.

Some notable architecture and decorative arts are also at risk. The Tangier American Legation, in Morocco, was a gift to the United States in 1821 from the Moroccan Sultan Moulay Suliman; it is the first American real estate abroad.

The building was built between 1927 and 31 and combines Moorish and Spanish architectural traditions; The doors and windows of the Arabian Pavilion are an example of stunning craftsmanship. Although overseen by the State Department, it has no dedicated funding and needs $10 million to support structural stabilization and repairs, as well as system upgrades for museum collections.

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