Post offices listed as endangered

June 6, 2012 at 2:25 PM
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WASHINGTON, June 6 (UPI) -- The National Trust for Historic Preservation's annual list of endangered sites ranges from Ellis Island in New York to Terminal Island in Los Angeles.

The list released Tuesday also includes post offices threatened with closure. The trust said developers and community groups that want to preserve the buildings for other uses have been driven away by the U.S. Postal Service's bureaucratic procedure.

"With a more transparent and preservation-friendly process in place, thousands of these historic buildings can be successfully transformed -- giving new life to places that have been community gathering places for generations," said Stephanie Meeks, the trust president.

In Fernandina Beach, Fla., efforts by the town to buy the 1912 post office have been stalled, the group said. In Geneva, N.Y., a development group that wanted to restore the post office gave up after several months.

Another group of buildings on the list are Texas courthouses, many of them still in use.

Ellis Island is a major tourist destination, the group said. But the hospital complex has not been restored and sits open to bad weather.

Terminal Island in Los Angeles was the birthplace of canned tuna and served as a major shipbuilding center in World War II.

Other sites on the list include three important in black history, Joe Frazier's gym in Philadelphia, the birthplace of Malcolm X in Boston and the Sweet Auburn Historic District in Atlanta. Sweet Auburn, an area important in the history of the civil rights movement and the birthplace of Martin Luther King, is on the list for the second time.

Princeton Battlefield State Park in New Jersey, where one of the most important battles of the American Revolution was fought, is threatened by a housing development that would change the character of the area, the group said. Elkhorn Ranch, President Theodore Roosevelt's North Dakota retreat, is also threatened, by a bridge project.

Also on the list are three historic bridges in Yosemite National Park in California, and the village of Zoar, Ohio, founded almost 200 years ago by religious dissidents from Germany.

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