Wheelock Academy Makes List of America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places

Monday, June 26th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Millerton, Oklahoma site on the National Trust for Historic Preservation 2000 List. Photo: Wheelock campus as it appeared in 1908. Courtesy: National Trust for Historic Preservation/Choctaw Nation.

Washington, D.C. (June 26, 2000) - Buildings that housed George Washington and the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War are deteriorating. The summer retreat where Abraham Lincoln drafted the Emancipation Proclamation suffers from the effects of 150 years of heavy use. Historic mining structures in the scenic Colorado Rockies are under assault, as is an Art Deco racetrack in Southern California. These are just four of 11 sites across the country named today by the National Trust for Historic Preservation to its 2000 list of America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places.

The History Channel® will feature the endangered list on Thursday, June 29, 2000, at 10 p.m. EDT/PDT in a one-hour documentary special entitled "America's Most Endangered." The show, hosted by Tony award-winning actor Edward Herrmann, is part of the Save Our History™ campaign, The History Channel's award-winning national initiative dedicated to historic preservation and history education.

"America's irreplaceable heritage is always at risk," said National Trust President Richard Moe. "We must ring the alarm to save these places through awareness, education, funding, and policy changes. Despite numerous successes, we experienced the first loss of a Most Endangered site this year when the City of Reno, Nevada, demolished the landmark Mapes Hotel on Super Bowl Sunday. The destruction of the Mapes demonstrates anew the need for constant vigilance of our threatened historic treasures. We either save them now or we will lose them forever."

The National Trust annually finds 11 different places throughout America to help bring its message home. This year's sites range from the prestigious Valley Forge National Historical Park - birthplace of our nation - where important Revolutionary War buildings are deteriorating and need stabilizing, to a little-known presidential summer retreat where Abraham Lincoln drafted the Emancipation Proclamation. With financial support, this important Washington, D.C. home - the only major Lincoln site in the country yet to be restored - could become a world-class education center on Lincoln and his presidency.

Imperiled sites include such famed places as the Santa Anita Racetrack in southern California, host to 20th-century horse racing legends and 1930s movie stars, where reconstruction is obliterating the historic structure; the lesser-known Okeechobee Battlefield of the Second Seminole War, which is threatened by encroaching development; Wheelock Academy in Millerton, Okla., where Native American school buildings have seriously deteriorated; and a VA medical center in Leavenworth, Kan., that may tear down 39 historic buildings and in the process destroy much of the campus.

Large threatened areas also have been listed, including the Red Mountain Mining District in the Colorado Rockies, where more than 20 historic mining structures suffer from harsh weather, logging operations, and vandalism; Hudson River Valley, N.Y., now imperiled by a tidal wave of industrialization and sprawl; and Nantucket Island, Mass. where a real estate and development boom has caused an onslaught of "gut rehabs" and "teardowns" of historic buildings. A downtown Pittsburgh historic district may be destroyed and more than 120 businesses displaced unless wiser forces prevail. Historic neighborhood schools nationwide, threatened by abandonment and demolition, can be excellent learning facilities in walkable neighborhoods, but funding for modernization and maintenance, along with community support, are critical.

America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places has identified more than 100 threatened one-of-a-kind historic treasures since 1988. While a listing does not ensure the protection of a site or guarantee funding, the designation has been a powerful tool for raising awareness and rallying resources to save threatened sites from every region of the country. Whether these sites are urban districts or rural landscapes, Native American landmarks or 20th-century sports arenas, entire communities or single buildings, the list spotlights historic places across America that are threatened by neglect, insufficient funds, inappropriate development or insensitive public policy.

Success stories: Key recent victories for Most Endangered sites include: 1) an agreement between the San Diego Padres and preservationists to save significant historic resources in the Arts and Warehouse District, San Diego, where a new stadium had been planned; 2) the purchase of a threatened part of the Lewis and Clark campsite called Travelers' Rest by National Trust members Wendy and Ralph Kulberg; and 3) a $5.5 million Congressional appropriation for saving Chancellorsville Battlefield from encroaching development in addition to the protection of 500 surrounding acres of land by preservation groups.

Visit www.nationaltrust.org/11most to find out more about individual sites and what you can do to help or call 1-800-315-NTHP.

Sites on the 2000 list of America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places are:

Abraham Lincoln's Retreat - The Soldiers' Home, Washington, D.C. The summer home where Lincoln drafted the Emancipation Proclamation awaits restoration.

Dwight D. Eisenhower VA Medical Center, Leavenworth, Kans. 39 historic buildings may be torn down.

Historic Neighborhood Schools, Nationwide Abandonment, demolition, and suburban sprawl threaten these community icons.

Hudson River Valley, N.Y. Industrialization and sprawl threaten scenic area rich in historic landmarks .

Fifth and Forbes Historic Retail Area, Pittsburgh, Pa. Scores of historic buildings to be demolished for large-scale shopping and entertainment complex .

Nantucket, Mass. "Teardowns" and "gut rehabs" of buildings imperil historic island character.

Okeechobee Battlefield, Okeechobee, Fla. Development threatens archaeological resources and important Second Seminole War battlefield.

Red Mountain Mining District, Ouray and San Juan Counties, Colo. Sprawl and logging may overwhelm scenic historic mining sites
Santa Anita Racetrack, Arcadia, Calif.

Expansion will ruin historic Art Deco structure
Valley Forge National Historical Park, Valley Forge, Pa. Revolutionary War buildings need immediate stabilization.

Wheelock Academy, Millerton, Okla. Native American school buildings are seriously deteriorating.

For more information on the Wheelock Academy, click the link below.


To go to the National Trust for Historic Preservation's web site, click below.