Preservation Ohio Names 2013 List of Ohio’s Most Endangered Historic Sites
Annual list selected from nominations to raise awareness and save properties with uncertain futures
COLUMBUS, Ohio (May 28, 2013) – Preservation Ohio, Ohio’s oldest statewide non-profit preservation organization, today released the 2013 List of Ohio’s Most Endangered Historic Sites. Nine Ohio properties were included on the twentieth edition of the list, which highlights historically significant Ohio properties that face risky futures due to demolition, disinvestment or indifference.
Preservation Ohio accepts nominations from any citizen. The final list is selected by the organization’s board of trustees. Over the years, the list has proven successful in saving some of Ohio’s architectural, cultural and natural heritage. Recognition of the Westcott House in Springfield, a Frank Lloyd Wright design, led to a multi-million dollar restoration. The Anthony Wayne Hotel in Hamilton and the Masonic Temple in Columbus shares similar stories.
Other structures have not been as fortunate. Three properties included in the 2012 list have been lost: Shawen Acres Cottages in Montgomery County; the Gamble House in Hamilton County and The Rock Bridge in Ontario.
The 2013 List of Ohio’s Most Endangered Historic Sites include:
• Zoar Historic District – Zoar, Tuscarawas County. Few such settlements in the U.S. are as well preserved as Zoar and have such distinctive architecture and historic features. Founded in 1817 by German religious dissenters, the village sits at the base of a levee constructed nearly 75 years ago to hold potential floodwaters. The levee is in need of repair and the village is threatened.
• Original Port Columbus Airport Terminal – Columbus, Franklin County. The terminal served as the first transfer point in the nation’s first transcontinental air flight. Charles Lindbergh and Amelia Earhart were among the pilots who flew in and out of the terminal. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Columbus Regional Airport Authority has not been able to find a use for the property, which has deteriorated over the past few years when unoccupied. This important physical reminder of Columbus’ contribution to early transportation history is threatened with demolition.
• Athens Asylum – Athens, Athens County. The Athens Asylum complex of buildings and grounds is the last of its kind in Ohio. Built between 1868 and 1874, it was designed by the Cleveland architect Levi Tucker Scofield under the Kirkbride plan for humane treatment of the mentally ill. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is of state and national significance not only because of its architectural beauty and contributions to the study of psychiatry, but also because many such sites have been lost over the past 20 years. The site is threatened with demolition.
• Midland City Depot – Midland, Clinton County. Built in the 1880s as both an interlocking tower and passenger/freight depot for the Cincinnati & Marietta railway, later the B & O Railroad, the depot is currently boarded up and faces possible demolition by neglect.
• Unionville Tavern – Madison, Lake County. Established in 1798, the tavern served as a focal point for travelers to the Western Reserve. It remains the oldest tavern in Northeast Ohio and possibly the oldest in the state. In the 1820s the tavern served as a “station” on the Underground Railroad, with ties to Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin. The poor condition of the building, continued deterioration and neglect by the current owner are endangering this landmark.
• Gunning House – Reynoldsburg, Franklin County. An outstanding example of mid-20th century architecture designed by trained apprentices of Frank Lloyd Wright, the Gunning House Is vacant and remains unsold after extensive marketing.
• Memorial Hall – Ironton, Lawrence County. Constructed in 1892 as a memorial to Civil War soldiers by the Grand Army of the Republic, Memorial Hall was abandoned in 1996.
• Warner and Swasey Observatory – East Cleveland, Cuyahoga County. The Warner and Swasey Observatory is a unique building and prime example of early 20th century observatories. It has failed to sell at auction and is in a state of deterioration that may well result in demolition.
• Ohio’s Vacant and Abandoned Structures – throughout Ohio. Every Ohio community is facing the problem of vacant and abandoned buildings – many of them residential properties in historically important neighborhoods. Although not every building can be, or deserves to be, saved demolition decisions are being made without input from the preservation community.
Preservation Ohio will publish the 2013 List of Ohio’s Most Endangered Historic Sites in its newsletter, on the organization’s website at www.preserveohio.org and its social media sites on Facebook and Twitter, among other advocacy actions.
About Preservation Ohio
Preservation Ohio is Ohio’s statewide historic preservation organization, an independent, non-profit organization recognized under Chapter 501(c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Preservation Ohio was established in 1982 to enhance the understanding and appreciation for Ohio’s historic resources and serve as a focal point for Ohio organizations, municipalities, corporations and individuals who care about those resources and are concerned about preservation for future generations. For more information and updates, visit our website at www.preserveohio.com or follow us on Twitter @PreservationOH or like us on Facebook.