America's Most Endangered Places 2003

Updated July 10, 2020 | Infoplease Staff

Eleven historic sites in danger of being lost forever

In a report released in late May 2003, the National Trust for Historic Preservation ( ) listed 11 historic sites across America that are in danger of being lost forever. Whether these sites are single buildings or entire districts, Native American archaeological remains or 20th-century theaters, urban landmarks or rural landscapes, they are all one-of-a-kind treasures that are being threatened, by new construction and urban sprawl or simply by neglect and decay.

Although the listing does not mean that a site will automatically receive protection or funding, it does draw attention to the problem and helps garner support for preservation efforts. After Oklahoma City's Gold Dome Bank appeared on the 2001 list, a new owner acquired the property and plans to rehabilitate it for use as a business and international cultural center.

The National Trust has identified more than 145 endangered historic places since 1988. Here are the sites that were chosen for the 2003 list.

1. Urban Houses of Worship, Nationwide: Changing city populations and real estate booms are contributing to the disappearance of urban churches, synagogues, mosques, and meetinghouses.

2. Ocmulgee Old Fields Traditional Cultural Property, Macon, Ga.: A superhighway is threatening the one-time home of the Muscogee Creek Nation. The site has numerous burial and ceremonial mounds, evidence of 12,000-year-old settlements, and valuable wildlife habitat.

3. Amelia Earhart Memorial Bridge, Atchison, Kans.: This 1938 Missouri River bridge is slated to be demolished and replaced with a new span.

4. East Side and Middle Schools, Decorah, Iowa: The 1986 East Side School and the 1922 Middle School are empty, deteriorating, and facing an uncertain future.

5. Zuni Salt Lake and Sanctuary Zone, Catron and Cibola counties, N. Mex.: Plans to strip-mine coal and build a railroad could destroy burial and cultural sites that are sacred to at least six American Indian tribes.

6. Little Manila, Stockton, Calif.: A strip mall threatens the last three buildings remaining in what was once the largest Filipino settlement outside the Philippines.

7. Minute Man National Historical Park and Environs, Bedford, Concord, Lincoln, and Lexington, Mass.: The heavy air traffic, noise, and anachronistic visual encroachments of a busy airport has put the sites of the first battles in the American Revolution at risk.

8. TWA Terminal at JFK International Airport, New York, N.Y.: The soaring Eero Saarinen building that defines JFK Airport is at risk of being partially demolished and diminished by the construction of a huge building behind it.

9. Bathhouse Row, Hot Springs National Park, Garland County, Ark.: Once the epitome of elegance and style, six out of eight of these early 20th century buildings are deserted and deteriorating.

10. United States Marine Hospital, Louisville, Ky.: The 1851 Greek Revival building was designed by Robert Mills, the architect of the U.S. Capitol. Vacant for almost 30 years, it is structurally sound but crumbling.

11. Michigan Boulevard Garden Apartments, Chicago, Ill.: The 1929 structure was built by philanthropist and Sears president Julius Rosenwald, to house middle-class African Americans. Once home to musician Quincy Jones and boxer Joe Louis, today the building is boarded up and empty.

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