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USA’s Most Endangered Historic Places Now Include L.A.’s Little Tokyo and Concord, Mass., Revolutionary Sites

The site of the American Revolution’s “shot heard round the world,” the hometown of author Zora Neale Hurston, a lighthouse in the middle of the Hudson River, a long-standing Japanese American neighborhood, and a church where Black coal miners worshipped are among the USA’s most endangered historic places, according to the National Trust for Historic Preservation

Since 1988, the Washington, D.C.–based nonprofit has released an annual list of noteworthy sites in urgent need of saving due to neglect, deferred maintenance, and threats such as commercial development and natural disasters. 

As NPR points out, the group’s fund- and awareness-raising efforts have helped save dozens of places, including Maryland’s Civil War–era Antietam National Battlefield—”which narrowly missed becoming the site of a shopping mall”—and Little Rock Central High School in Arkansas, where nine Black students upended decades of segregation in 1957. 

In its announcement of 2024’s endangered places, the National Trust expressed a dedication to preserving places that tell the “full American story,” reflecting the range and diversity of the country’s communities and “safeguarding a sense of identity, continuity, and vitality for the future.”

Obviously, travelers stand to gain from saving these sites, which can make for tourism experiences a touch more enriching than, say, another pop-up museum dedicated to providing colorful backdrops for selfies. 

The most famous entry on 2024’s list of America’s Most Endangered Historic Places is probably a cluster of sites in Concord, Massachusetts, and environs.

Minute Man National Historical Park, Henry David Thoreau’s Walden Pond, and other nearby landmarks (the North Bridge, where the “shot heard round the world” was fired at the start of the American Revolution, is pictured above) could face negative impacts from a proposed expansion of the neighboring Hanscom Field airport, according to the National Trust. Increased noise from passing jets as well as more car traffic and pollution are all cited as concerns. 

Similarly, creeping development and gentrification threaten to erode the historic character of Little Tokyo in downtown Los Angeles, the organization warns. Established in 1884 and continuing for more than a century as a thriving Japanese American community, the neighborhood now faces rising rents and large-scale commercial projects that are pushing out many small businesses and residents. 

(Hudson-Athens Lighthouse in New York State | Credit: Elizabeth Caron / Shutterstock)

Among sites endangered by environmental factors is the Hudson-Athens Lighthouse, one of only two remaining lighthouses standing in the middle of the Hudson River in New York State. Erosion has significantly damaged the structure’s underwater wood pilings, putting it at risk of collapse. 

The group’s list also shines a spotlight on several buildings notable for their roles in Black and Indigenous communities. 

New Salem Baptist Church, a onetime house of worship for Black coal miners in West Virginia; Gary, Indiana’s Roosevelt High School, built specifically in response to advocacy by the city’s Black community in 1930 (and where the Jackson 5 later won their first talent show); Eatonville, Florida, part of greater Orlando and the oldest town in the U.S. to have been established (in 1887) entirely by Black citizens; and the Indigenous Sitka Tlingit Clan Houses in southeast Alaska all make the list because they’re threatened by development or need crucial upkeep and repairs before it’s too late. 

To see the full rundown of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places for 2024—and find ways to support their preservation via petitions, donations, and other efforts—go to