Monday, December 18, 2017

Post offices, Ellis Island hospital complex join endangered list

WASHINGTON — Hundreds of historic U.S. post offices nationwide face uncertain futures as the U.S. Postal Service downsizes, so preservationists on Wednesday added these American institutions to the list of the country's most endangered historic places.

Post offices will join the list of America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places as a group for the first time. The National Trust for Historic Preservation is citing the bureaucratic process for disposing of thousands of post offices, saying developers and community groups interested in rehabilitating the historic buildings end up walking away when they don't get timely or clear answers from the Postal Service.

The group also said New York's Ellis Island hospital complex is threatened because the facility has been left open to the elements.

Princeton Battlefield in New Jersey also is facing imminent danger from housing development, preservationists said.

This is the 25th anniversary of the listing of endangered places. Over that time 242 historic sites have been added to the listing.

Another large group of sites being added to the endangered list includes the courthouses of Texas.

Other sites are facing even more imminent threats.

President Theodore Roosevelt's Elkhorn Ranch in North Dakota's Badlands is facing development of a road and bridge project that would "mar" the landscape and "stain Roosevelt's legacy of conservation," the group said.

Three sites from black history also are being added to the list: Joe Frazier's gym in Philadelphia where he trained to take on Muhammad Ali, the boyhood home of Malcolm X in Boston and Atlanta's Sweet Auburn Historic District, where Martin Luther King Jr. was born and later preached.

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